Windows and doors play an important role in our homes, providing us with light, ventilation, and a view of the world outside. But what if we could enhance these features and also reduce our energy bills? Enter solar screens, an innovative solution designed to shield your home from the sun’s glare and heat. But the real question is, are solar screens worth the investment?
Understanding Solar Screens: Are They A Great Investment or Not?
Solar screens are essentially specialized window screens crafted to provide superior sun protection. They are flexible, dark mesh panels designed to fit over window and door frames, functioning not only as a barrier against insects but also as a shield deflecting sunlight.
These screens are typically installed on the outside of your windows, although they can also be fitted on the inside if required.
To fully appreciate the value proposition of solar screens, let’s dive into their advantages and disadvantages.
The Efficacy of Solar Screens: Do They Really Work?
Solar screens, also known as sun screens, are quite effective. Depending on the mesh’s quality, these screens can block between 65-95% of harmful UV rays and heat from the sun. But their benefits extend beyond merely blocking sunlight.
1. Energy Efficiency: Potential Savings of Up to 33% on Energy Bills
For residents of hot areas like Texas, Florida, Nevada, or Arizona, solar screens can significantly reduce energy bills by blocking sun rays and minimizing the need for air conditioning. However, their utility isn’t limited to hot climates. Thanks to their insulating properties, solar screens can enhance energy efficiency all year round, even in colder regions.
2. Protection for Interior Furnishings
Solar screens can protect your interior furnishings, fixtures, and flooring from UV-induced damage and discoloration. By blocking between 65-90% of sun rays, they help prolong the lifespan of your home’s interior elements.
3. Control Over Glare
Solar screens, by blocking direct sunlight, help control the glare on shiny and glossy surfaces in your home.
4. Enhanced Daytime Privacy
Solar screens allow light and air to pass through while obstructing visibility from the outside during the day, thereby enhancing privacy.
Potential Downsides of Solar Screens
Solar screens, like any other product, come with their share of drawbacks that need to be considered:
1. Maintenance Challenges
Solar screens can make window cleaning a more challenging task, as the mesh requires regular cleaning and is often difficult to remove for window maintenance.
2. Aesthetic Considerations
Solar screens can significantly alter your home’s appearance by darkening your windows, which may not appeal to all homeowners.
3. Reduced Ventilation
Due to their thick mesh, solar screens can potentially block some airflow when windows are open for ventilation.
4. Weather-Related Damage
As solar screens are additional fixtures to your windows, they can be damaged in severe weather conditions.
Cost Factor: Are Solar Screens Expensive?
Compared to the cost of replacing an entire window with a low-e, double-paned window, solar screens are an economical alternative. The cost could be less than $50 per average-sized window if you opt for a DIY installation, while professional installation may cost around $7.50 per square foot.
Longevity of Solar Screens
Typically, solar screens can last between 10 to 15 years if installed properly and maintained well. However, darker solar screens may begin to fade after three years.
DIY Solar Screens: A Feasible Option?
Creating your own solar screen is a viable option for the DIY enthusiast. You can find all the necessary materials, including the screen mesh, at local home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes. However, making DIY screens for an entire house might be a daunting task, especially if you’re juggling it with other weekend projects.
Choosing the Right Solar Screen
Solar screens come in various colors, and your choice isn’t merely about aesthetics. Lighter colored screens are typically thicker, offering better privacy but reduced visibility from the inside. On the other hand, darker colors like black or brown offer better transparency.
Exploring Alternatives to Solar Screens
While solar screens are an excellent solution for managing sunlight and heat, they’re not the only option. Here are a few alternatives:
1. Solar Blinds
Solar blinds function similarly to regular blinds but also block the sun. While they are more expensive than traditional blinds, their cost is comparable to solar screens, and they’re relatively easier to install.
2. Solar Shades
Solar shades, like solar screens, prevent the sun from entering your home. However, they can be rolled open or closed to control sunlight, offering more flexibility.
3. Solar Window Tint Film
If you’re looking for a less permanent solution, solar window tint film can be an excellent choice. It is less expensive and easier to install than solar screens, although it may not be as effective.
Window awnings can significantly reduce solar heat gain in summer, but they are semi-permanent fixtures and can substantially alter the appearance of your home.
Are Solar Screens A Worthwhile Investment?
Whether solar screens are a worthwhile investment is a subjective decision based on your specific needs and circumstances.
If you’re seeking to reduce energy costs, protect your home’s interior from sun damage, control glare, and enhance daytime privacy, solar screens can offer an affordable solution, particularly if you’re comfortable with DIY installations.
However, consider the potential drawbacks such as maintenance challenges, potential aesthetic changes, reduced ventilation, and possible weather-related damage. If these factors are a concern, consider exploring the alternatives mentioned above.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in solar screens should be based on a careful evaluation of your needs, budget, and personal preferences.
If you are not sure about DIY and are looking for a professional to help, Arrowhead Solar Screen installation is here to help. Give us a call: and get a free quote today.