Window Energy Saving Ideas Q&A

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Dear NH,

I have a west facing sliding door that needs to have a radiant barrier in it to cut down the tremendous heat build-up by the direct afternoon sun. I've been told two ways to do it. One is to replace the whole door and frame assembly that contains a low E glass or just to cover the glass with a radiant barrier film. I'd prefer the less expensive method but only if it will work. What do you think?



"Reflective films"… glass coatings that prevent certain types of light from passing through… are the way to go if you want to lower the amount of heat gain in your home through glass windows or doors AND allow bright visible light through. Based on my research, you can reduce the amount of infrared light entering your home by up to 80% using a reflective film. Since the reflective properties have to do with the material and not the color, an untinted film will give about the same result as a tinted one... except that a tinted film will lower visible light along with ultraviolet light.

Some folks install drapes or blinds to address this problem, but they are only a partial solution. Though they may decrease the amount of fading of carpets and furniture, the heat will still build up between the drape and the window. A reflective film actually keeps the rays from entering so it will do as good or better job than drapes in keeping the heat out!

I would suggest searching your local home stores to see if they carry a do-it-yourself reflective film. I talked to the people at Home Depot and, while they didn't carry it, they suggested trying an auto supply store or even a large department store such as Wal-Mart.