Best Home Windows Tint
Like tinted car windows, thermal films on home windows block ultraviolet rays and repel heat.
Many homeowners and renters can benefit from lower heating and cooling bills by installing solar window film. It blocks ultraviolet rays, and helps regulate heat loss and gain year-round. Unlike older, mirrored window film, new choices range from nearly invisible to colorful. It isn't the best choice for everyone. Consider your climate, neighborhood and the type of windows you have before investing in solar film for your home.
Simple Installation and Removal
Solar window film is lightweight. The type that is marketed to homeowners is usually nonadhesive vinyl. The only tools you need are a measuring tape, a straight edge or yardstick, a washable marker, a sharp utility knife, a wet sponge and a plastic card like an old credit card. Measure the window pane across and down, transfer those measurements to the film and cut it. Wet the glass with the sponge, apply the film, slide it around until it's in place and smooth out the bubbles with the plastic card. If you decide to change the look one day, just peel the film off the window.
Comparatively Low Investment
Solar window film is sold in home improvement stores and online, and it comes in small rolls that can cover one or two windows. The cost, as of 2011, begins at approximately $20 per roll, which is relatively low when you consider the cost of other window treatments that block ultraviolet rays. Solar window blinds or shades can cost up to $100 per window. Ultraviolet light-blocking drapes are even more expensive, costing $100 or more per window, even if you make them yourself. Some solar film requires professional installation. It can cost $3 or more per square foot to install, but it could be worth it if you can't do it yourself (see References 2, p. 86). Professionally installed window film is adhesive, so it is difficult to remove if you change your mind.
If you install solar window film on double-pane windows, you could void your warranty. Some types of film absorb all of the sun's rays instead of reflecting it away. This causes the film to get hot, and transfer heat to the window glass. When the glass heats up, it expands, which can break the factory seal or break the glass (see References 1). Once a factory seal is broken, the window is no longer energy-efficient and may need replacing.
Choosing the Wrong Film
Newer, shiny window film appears almost invisible from the inside. It reflects ultraviolet light away from the window while letting visible light through. This type of film brightens the room - reducing the need for indoor lighting - while keeping out the passive solar heat gains that raise the temperature. Although this type of film is desirable in hot climates, passive solar heat gain is beneficial in cold climates. Dark window film, however, blocks ultraviolet light by absorbing the entire spectrum. It blocks a great deal of natural light, making the room darker and increasing the need for indoor lighting. It also absorbs heat and transfers it into the room. (See References 1)