Solar Screens: The Pros vs. The Cons
Austin homeowners are not strangers to sky-high electricity bills and overworked air-conditioners. It’s become a fact of life down here due to the extreme heat in the summer and pretty mild temperatures year-round. As a result, many homeowners are forced to find their own solutions to these problems. Or worse. Do nothing at all and bare the consequences.
A popular solution we’ve seen recently is the installation of solar screens to windows. They help reduce the heat blasted into your home by the blazing Texas sun and supposedly save you tons of money by lowering your home’s energy usage.
As window experts, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to explore this popular option and give you the lowdown. Here is our take on the pros and cons of solar screens.
How Do Solar Screens Work?
Solar screens are composed of dark, tightly-weaved screen mesh that can be installed on the outside of your window, be screwed into the window frame, or be installed on the inside of the window. It is reported that they can block as much as 90% of heat before it transfers into your home through your windows.
Solar Screen: The Pros
There are several advantages to installing solar screens. It reduces your energy usage, its a lot cheaper than window OR air-conditioner replacement, and its a fairly quick, inexpensive solution to your heat problem.
In fact, a study done in 1988 claims you can save anywhere from 10-14% on energy costs annually and even as much as 20-30% during the summer! Wow. That would make a huge difference for homeowners looking to cut costs.
Not to mention Austin Energy offers rebates and low interest loans for customers who are planning to install new solar screens. Benefits all around!
Solar Screen: The Cons
Now for the cons. We’re going to be honest here: solar screens are just flat out ugly. They do nothing for the aesthetic of your home and tend to be a neighborhood eyesore. If you’re okay with that, then the next couple of disadvantages may not seem that bad. If you’re not, solar screens are not the right solution for you.
When it comes to solar screens, you have to remember that correct fit is everything. Even the slightest fit error can cause your screens to blow away during storms. On the flipside, some homeowners opt to screw their screens into place to prevent blow aways. This too is also a problem because once you start altering the window frame, your window warranties become void.
Solar screens are also notorious for how cumbersome they are during winter. Though Texas boasts mild temps year-round, do you really want all heat deflected from your home during our coldest months? Most people don’t and therefore end up putting up and taking down their screens twice a year.
Last but not least, solar screens are very hard to clean and expensive to do so. We usually charge $5 per screen because of the amount of elbow work our crews have to put in to get the dirt out of the tightly-woven mesh.
In conclusion, we feel solar screens are really preferential. Many homeowners love theirs whereas many regret them as soon as they are put up. Our advice is to do your research extensively beforehand and to consult with your contractor before making any decisions. They’ll be able to tell you how solar screens can benefit or disadvantage your specific home and advise you on your next steps.