Has the summer turned your perfectly ordinary sitting room into a sauna? The fan will make little difference when the houses are built to keep the house warm and have a tendency to retain heat. Air conditioners will work, but just thinking about the energy bill will give you a headache. Why not let the windows do some work?
The past few years have seen a significant rise in summer temperatures. As the mercury sets new records, people all over the world are looking for new ways to get some relief from the summer heat. The rising temperatures have also fuelled the rising concern around global warming and the role energy-consumption has to play in it. So, keeping in mind the consumer’s preference for reducing their carbon footprint, the focus has shifted to non-energy consuming solutions or practical intervention that would save energy. Window treatment solutions are one of them.
We might not realize it, but the windows work very hard in keeping our interiors comfortable. In summer, windows let in plenty of light and air into the room, making it feel fresh and cool. In the winter, the windows keep out the elements and traps in the warmth. When equipped with the correct thermal blinds, curtains, or shutters, windows can significantly reduce your energy costs by keeping the sun out and preventing heat gain.
Do Blinds Work?
Blinds are more effective in keeping the heat out than trapping it in. Unlike shades and drapes, which covers the whole window when closed, blinds offer more flexibility. The blind slats can be adjusted to allow just the right amount of light and air. You can also position the slats to reduce the glare of the sun, while the room remains well ventilated and awash with natural light. When closed, the blind can reflect back most of the light rays that fall on them, reducing heat-gain to a large extent.
Any blind that is made out of heavy material, can be used as a heat-reflective blind, but the effectiveness will vary. The durability of the blind, in the face of constant exposure to the sun, will also vary depending on the material. In this article, we will discuss the merit of using aluminum blinds in comparison with vinyl blinds.
If you are looking to keep the budget under tight reins, go for aluminum blinds. Aluminum blinds are cost-effective and are very useful in keeping the heat out. The heavy metallic built and texture of aluminum blinds reflect back most of the rays that fall on them. This reduces heat gain from the sun.
When closed, the thick material of aluminum also provides a formidable insulation layer, so that your air conditioner has to work much less than usual. Similarly, in the winter, your aluminum blinds will keep the heat in, putting less pressure on your heating system. The results will be visible on your next energy bill.
In terms of keeping the room cold, vinyl blinds are not a great choice. They tend to absorb sun rays and make the room hot. A great choice for freezing conditions, vinyl blinds are not the best when your room gets plenty of sun and heat. Vinyl blinds are also made from a softer material than aluminum blinds. For this reason, they are less energy-efficient when compared to aluminum blinds.
Aluminum Vs Vinyl Blinds
However, heat gain or insulation is not the only factor that will determine your choice. There are some other factors you need to consider before making up your mind.
Aluminum is a natural material and is more resistant to natural elements than vinyl. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will have little effect on aluminum. Vinyl, however, is synthetic, making it more vulnerable to the sun. If it gets a lot of sun, the plastic in vinyl will weaken, damaging the blind. Also, vinyl blinds made outside the USA may contain lead, which can pose a serious health hazard. You should select blinds that are made in the USA for lead-free material.
Cost concerns may tilt the balance in the favour of vinyl. Vinyl blinds are significantly cheaper than aluminium blinds, especially when the windows are big. If you are planning to dress up all the windows in the house, the cost difference will certainly make you think.
While taking into account the cost factors, do keep in mind the durability aspect. If the blind lasts longer, the initial expense might just payout. As aluminum blinds are stronger than vinyl, they don’t break so easily. But they are susceptible to dents and creases. On the other hand, vinyl blinds are more flexible, so are less likely to dent or crease. For this reason, vinyl blinds last longer looking as good as new. Vinyl is also easy to clean, as the slippery surface holds less dust.
However, when they do break, aluminum blinds are easier to fix. In case of vinyl blinds, people prefer to throw the whole lot out and replace them, which can override the initial savings.
In terms of looks, both the materials come in a wide range of colors and designs. Vinyl probably sports more options in term of textures. But aluminum is available in hundreds of different shades. In respect of colors, vinyl usually comes in white and alabaster. That kind of restricts your choice.
Window operation also plays an important role in keeping the heat out. Keep the window slat positioned to get the sun rays to fall on the ceiling. This will create a diffused glow inside the room, reducing heat and glare from the sun. As the sun rises up high in the sky, it might be a good idea to keep the blinds closed to reflect back most of the heat. Open them again after the sun sets and the weather cools down a bit.
Let your requirements govern your choice. But if you are thinking of surviving the summer heat, aluminium is certainly a better choice.