Like Sean, I, too have a hell of a time keeping the house cool during the summer. And like him, the bedroom is the real point of contention: To get my bedroom down to a reasonable 80 degrees on a hot 100+ degree day (like we’re having this week), I have to bring the rest of the house down to 75. It’s expensive, and it’s an issue. But unlike Sean, my bedroom windows are large and don’t lend themselves well to window units.
But maybe that’s not the end of the road for me. I suspect it’s those big windows that cause the problem in the first place. A few quick spot checks show that when the middle of the room is 80 degrees, the areas over by the window are as high as 90.
The obvious choice seems to be installing some kind of sun shade on the window. I’ve already ruled out tinting because a) it seems to me that if the tint absorbs the heat, it’ll still radiate into the house and b) I talked with a window installer a while back (after a hail storm) and he mentioned that about 70% of his replacements are due to long-term damage caused by the additional heat stresses of tinting. But what about external sun shades like the ones pictured above?
Some quick Googling leaves me with the same kind of feeling I get from blinds: You can buy DIY kits at the big box, but you really need “custom” made frames (i.e. frames cut to size and covered with good quality stuff). From what I can tell, I have a couple of options:
1. Pay an installer.
Just like with blinds, I can just pay a guy to come out, measure, order “custom” shades from wherever these guys order their goods, and install them. This is by far the easiest route, but it’s also the most expensive — a big problem for me. I’m not doing this because I have extra money to burn, but rather to curb my $700+ electric bills in the summertime. I need a low-buck (but not hokey) solution.
2. Buy the big-box stuff and DIY.
This seems to be a pretty low-buck route, but it’s hard to tell how the material at the big box compares to the stuff the “pros” use. I’m not concerned about their “special skills” as I feel comfortable cutting metal and assembling things, but I do want to use high quality material as poor function would derail my project. Is there any real difference in the materials? This leads me to option 3…
3. I could order custom stuff from wherever the installers order it.
Might I be able to track down a source like the ones the “installers” in the area use? Seeing that I’m not afraid to assemble and install these myself, this might be the best option.
From what I can tell, these should run $40-$50/window (varying based on size) plus shipping, unless I can find somewhere local that makes them. Some of my windows have arches, so I’d need to figure that out as well, though I could just start with the rectangular ones — like the ones in the bedroom.
Do any of you have experience with these shades? I’d love to hear about it before I spend some cash on it. I’ll be watching comments — and will probably give some of these a try this summer.