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windows, father, daughterJohn Giustina, Getty Images

One week into summer -- are you feeling it yet? Last week we kicked off our Energy Savings series by showing you how to conserve power while using kitchen appliances. Now we're tackling the potential energy-zappers in every room in the house: windows.

As much as 20 percent of summer heat enters your home as sunlight through windows. Check out these clever tips on how to save a bundle and keep your home more energy-friendly.

seal window, caulkingGetty Images

Tip #1: Upgrade the Sealing Around Your Windows
With new windows, there's often a gap between the jamb and framing where air sneaks in. A blower door (a powerful type of fan) and infared camera can help identify exactly where the leak is and you can then caulk the area near the casing, stool and apron. No luck with that? Remove the casing and use spray foam around the window jamb.

Tip #2: Check That Your Windows Are Low-E

Thinking about window film as a way to buff up your windows' efficiency? If your windows are already Low emissivity (low-e), then don't waste your time, window film won't make much of a difference. Not sure if you've got low-e windows in the first place? Place a white sheet of paper outside and look at its reflection in the window. Seeing a white reflection? Not low-e. But if it's showing up yellow or pink than it's probably low-e. And remember this: films are hard to remove, and because they can heat up the glass they may damage your dual-pane windows.

Tip #3: Install Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows

In the market for new windows? Your best bet are Energy Star-rated windows. Make sure they're properly installed (shoddy work can be a major source of energy loss) and double-glazed. Yes, they're affordable, and they'll end up saving you money on cooling and heating by helping to keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.

window, shadeTwilight Field Journal

Tip #4: Invest in a Black-Out Shade
While window films can fall short, the best external energy saver for your windows is a simple blackout roller shade. Make sure it's PVC-free fabric, so it's safe for kids' rooms. Other options to try: Solar screens, roman shades or solar blinds (though it's tricky to find these without PVC).

This information is courtesy of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more tips on saving energy and greening your home, visit USGBC's Green Home Guide.

  • Kevin Koval

    The statement "window film won't make much of a difference" is simply not correct. Even if you have low-E windows, they most likely are not stopping much of the summer heat from entering your home. If you want to see film in action, call up a local professional and have a sample put up on a window in your home. Stand next to it and feel the difference. There are many thousands of happy customers across the world who are saving money, enjoying the comfort and clear view of window film. Blackout shades work great when they are closed, just a bit tough to see through.

    If you don't care for the view or natural light, your best bet is to remove the window, brick and insulate the open space for maximum efficiency. Not something I would recommend but I've seen it done.

    Good films will be rated by the NFRC, the same group that provides new window ratings. Professionals can be found at

    Kevin Koval -

  • Harry Duncan

    The window films work great in our experience. We have western facing windows, so we suffered from glare and heat during the summer. We found that installing window tint on these windows helped with both problems. Take a look at SnapTint window tint kits, we found their pricing affordable and quick to install.

  • SSF

    "As much as 20 percent of summer heat enters your home as sunlight through windows."

    That really depends on climate. In the Phoenix area it's actually 48%, and obviously the same can't be said for Minneapolis.

  • 3 Comments / 1 Pages

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