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Old 06-02-2019, 09:59am   #1
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Default Let's Talk about Solar Screens!

Well, my next door neighbor cut down three trees that gave my house AND my ac units a lot of shade. The house is noticeably warmer now in the afternoon without that shade, and after my a/c scare, I want to do something to mitigate this.

Who has solar screens, and how effective are they? What happens in the Winter? Does my heater have to work harder since I'm not getting the radiant heat through the windows anymore?

I've got a guy coming tomorrow to give a quote, who assures me the solar screen will act as sort of a radiant barrier in the Winter and help keep the heat in the house. That seems a little optimistic.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:24am   #2
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My neighbor has them and swears by them. I’d have them if my wife didn’t declare that they’re “ugly”. My house faces due west at the end of a street so I get a lot of hot afternoon sun.

Do you have electric heat or something? My gas heaters barely run to keep the house warm in the winter, plus the electric bills in the winter are a third of what they are in the summer. If you can make significant gains in the summer anything lost in the winter should be negligible.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:35am   #3
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My neighbor has them and swears by them. I’d have them if my wife didn’t declare that they’re “ugly”. My house faces due west at the end of a street so I get a lot of hot afternoon sun.

Do you have electric heat or something? My gas heaters barely run to keep the house warm in the winter, plus the electric bills in the winter are a third of what they are in the summer. If you can make significant gains in the summer anything lost in the winter should be negligible.
I have gas heat, and my gas bill in the coldest winter is maybe $ 80-100 or so, maybe a little higher if we have an Arctic blast. Having moderately higher heating bills in the Winter isn't a deal breaker, I just wanted some independent opinions. The guy coming out tomorrow swears his bills in the Summer AND Winter went down after putting on the screens. Seems optimistic.

I've always thought they were kinda ugly, too, but I see lots of people in my neighborhood have them.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:59am   #4
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I have solar screens.
I have several double/side-by-side windows.
As the guy was installing then, I could easily feel the heat difference between windows with new screens and windows without.
Installed in the late 90's.

On the south, east, and west side of my house gets blistering south Louisiana sun.
I've re-used the frames he made, and installed new material and rubber screen splines.
20 or so years sun bleached them.

If you are a DIY guy, all the supplies to make the screens yourself are on Amazon...that includes frame making material.


It isn't rocket science.
Your a/c and electric bill will notice the difference.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:46pm   #5
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You guys have winter?
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:13pm   #6
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Also look into the 3m window tint/impact covering. It helps with both the sun and make your glass more impact resistant.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:13pm   #7
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You guys have winter?


One time it dropped into the low 30's, stocked up on bread and milk.
I'm a survivor.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:21pm   #8
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One time it dropped into the low 30's, stocked up on bread and milk.
I'm a survivor.
The ice days off from work are incredible down here....so many frozen overpasses and too many overconfident undertrained drivers in large 2wd trucks...makes for really entertaining tv.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:17pm   #9
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Also look into the 3m window tint/impact covering. It helps with both the sun and make your glass more impact resistant.
I thought about window tint first, but it's going to be very labor intensive, since my windows are all multi panes in a grid frame, meaning I'd have to cut out a bunch of small rectangle pieces and put them on one at a time just to shade one window.

3M tint in particular doesn't seem to be sold over the counter anyway, you'd have to find a commercial installer to put it up. I'm guessing that's going to be a lot more than I want to spend. I just want to do something to make up for the loss of the shade trees.

It's funny, the neighbor who cut the trees down has already had one of his units fail, needing a new fan, and I had a capacitor fail, all within a week of the trees being removed. I'm convinced that shading the units from the direct sun is the best way to keep them from dying.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:22pm   #10
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I thought about window tint first, but it's going to be very labor intensive, since my windows are all multi panes in a grid frame, meaning I'd have to cut out a bunch of small rectangle pieces and put them on one at a time just to shade one window.

3M tint in particular doesn't seem to be sold over the counter anyway, you'd have to find a commercial installer to put it up. I'm guessing that's going to be a lot more than I want to spend. I just want to do something to make up for the loss of the shade trees.

It's funny, the neighbor who cut the trees down has already had one of his units fail, needing a new fan, and I had a capacitor fail, all within a week of the trees being removed. I'm convinced that shading the units from the direct sun is the best way to keep them from dying.
I asked that question to one of my golf buddies who sells the stuff. The product shrink wraps over most of the separate dividers.

I plan on having him come over for a quote next week.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:34pm   #11
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I asked that question to one of my golf buddies who sells the stuff. The product shrink wraps over most of the separate dividers.

I plan on having him come over for a quote next week.
I'm curious what that will cost, on a per window basis. You can post up some numbers here, or PM me if you want.

Thanks!

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Old 06-02-2019, 06:34pm   #12
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I'm convinced that shading the units from the direct sun is the best way to keep them from dying.

It helps in our areas (Gulf region).
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:36pm   #13
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It helps in our areas (Gulf region).
I'm thinking about planting a fast growing shrub to try and at least give some afternoon shade for my units.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:46pm   #14
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We do "black out" shades here at our house. That really makes a difference in keeping things a LOT cooler.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:47pm   #15
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The ice days off from work are incredible down here....so many frozen overpasses and too many overconfident undertrained drivers in large 2wd trucks...makes for really entertaining tv.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:04pm   #16
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I'm thinking about planting a fast growing shrub to try and at least give some afternoon shade for my units.

I had my units put on the north side for all day shade, and kept the evap coils out of the attic.

We built some similar to this for my dads units, his neighbor did the same but made them shaped like wishing wells (internet photo):
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:45pm   #17
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I just put my A/C unit on the north side of the house. And use shades on the south side. That's pretty much my entire strat.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:56am   #18
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Very good friend of mine owns a company that makes them. He's making some for my house, so I'll let you know
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:11am   #19
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Very good friend of mine owns a company that makes them. He's making some for my house, so I'll let you know
Sigh. That info would have been more useful BEFORE I put a deposit early this morning on screens for the back and side of the house that face the afternoon Sun.

16 screens (two separate screens for the window with an arch at the top) for $ 840
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:08pm   #20
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Update:

Solar screens installed on back and one side of the house, and what a difference. The heat is virtually gone, and the blazing afternoon sun isn't blinding anymore. With the blinds shut, there's virtually no glare on the TV, either. We'll see what effect it has on the electric bill, but it's got to help just a little bit.
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