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Enhancing Your Windows

It's easy to forget the simple ways that we can save energy. One of them concerns our energy just 'flying out the window'.

Not only do drapes or blinds conserve our energy, but they also enhance the salability of your home. According to a recent report, prospective home buyers like quality window coverings in a home.

It seems a simple thing to be able to save energy - just close the blinds or curtains! If you live in an area where you need constant air conditioning, then closing the blinds can keep your home's coolness on the side of the blinds that you want it.

The window will no doubt heat up in the sun, but the majority of the heat will stay between the window pane and the blinds. Exactly the same conditions, but in reverse, apply to when you are heating a home. The warm air is held in the room by the blinds, but the cold temperatures radiating through the panes of glass will be buffered when they reach the blinds.

If you live in a cold area, you have an extra option that means you can still keep your view to the outside. There are several products on the market that look like a type of cling film that you attach to your window frames.

Most of them work by providing a small space between the glass and the transparent film. This then acts as a buffer for the cold air coming in as it gives a small gap between the cold pane of glass and the cling film that is on the warm side of the glass.

If you live in an apartment that is 1,000 square feet and you apply this film, you could decrease your electricity bill by as much as 3%. It may not sound like much, but it is definitely a way of saving energy costs.

Drapes however, can be even more effective. The "Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy' web site of the US Department of Energy reports on recent research into this idea. It was found that drapes can save as much as 10% of energy costs due to heat loss. However, it was found that with increased effort, heat loss may be reduced by up to 25%. Here is a summary of the energy department's recommendations:

Allow drapes to fall right to the floor or rest on the window sill. Hang them from a valance or cornice and position them as close to the window pane as possible. Overlap the drapes in the center (you will need overlapping rails for this). Use Velcro or magnetic tape to keep the curtains attached to the wall at each of the far sides.

If you are trying to keep heat out, then the US Department of Energy recommends that you use medium or light colored drapes with light colored plastic backing. Pale colors reflect the sun's rays, and if this method is implemented then the cost of your energy bill will be reduced by up to 33%.

In the hot Mediterranean, most homes do not use air conditioning. Instead, drapes and/or shutters are used against the sun. Shutters are very effective in both the hot and the cold weather.

According to recent research (by a window covering company, mind), homes sell better when quality window coverings are installed, and the house price also stays higher.

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