Do It Yourself Cheap Heat Reflecting Curtains


I have a VERY old house. It’s always needing something – nothing lasts forever – and hiring someone to do anything can be a lot more expensive than hiring someone to do the same project on a newer home. Some of it I can see – old houses aren’t plumb – they’ve settled over the years, and who would look forward to crawling under a building that’s been standing there for a hundred years or more? Still, some overpricing because a house is old is ridiculous – say to have a pane of glass in a window replaced – things like that.

Needless to say, I’m always trying to find ways to save a little money when I can. Sure, the house is paid for – and due to it’s age property taxes aren’t near what they would be on a newer home of the same size. On the other hand, not having good insulation and things like that, my electric bills are higher, and something is always breaking or needing repair. The consolation in that is I’ve seen a lot of newer homes that have more issues than my old place does.

My latest experiment/project is to try to save a little on electricity while keeping myself from completely roasting. The local power company is whining for (another) 3% rate increase because the nuclear plant they’ve been building for years is still behind schedule. Gotta love paying for something ahead of time we’ll probably never see any savings from (but you can bet the power company will eventually see a profit in their bottom line.)

I have one room with four windows – two catch all the morning sun, the other two catch all the afternoon sun. Blinds help – but the room still manages to be overwhelmed with blinding sunlight and glare during the daytime and turns into an oven. Awnings aren’t an option.

For awhile now I’ve been considering the window film you place directly on the glass that is supposed to add privacy AND block sunlight. I’ve discovered there are two kinds – the kind for privacy which do little to block heat – which of course is the cheapest option and the kind that gives some privacy AND blocks heat. I need the heat blocking kind. My budget cries at the pain, plus I suspect getting the stuff onto the window panes property isn’t going to be the most enjoyable project I’ve done. I’ve hated the thought of spending the money, suffering through putting it up and then maybe not getting the results I hope for.

SO, this old gal decided to try an experiment. I’d been needing some spring tension curtain rods for projects anyway, so I bought four for $3 each at Dollar General. I then ordered a dozen emergency mylar blankets from Amazon – those ended up being under 75 cents each after shipping. I already had clear duct tape so I have an investment of around $15.

The emergency blankets I bought were the really cheap ones. To me, both sides look identical. I have seen some that have a shiny side and a darker side – seems to me those may work better than what I have but for my experiment the ones I bought should work for now.

Using the clear tape, I made a pocket to slide the rods through. I then put the rods and my new “curtains” against the window. They need to be the first defense against the sunlight. I may be wrong, but I’m not sure they would be as effective behind the blinds. It was immediately obvious that the rooms was a lot darker and the glare that snuck through previously was gone. You can see out of the window fine – but during the day, you cannot see in from the outside.

I’ve had them up now for several days – and there is a nice difference. If you put your hand directly on the window glass it’s hot – put your hand on the blinds BEHIND the mylar panel and it seems to be room temperature.

I will say, from the outside these things are terribly ugly! The fold lines show up and they shine like one of those old aluminum Christmas trees! I can only imagine what anyone driving by must think – although I really don’t
care.I’m trying to save a little money, stay a little cooler and decide if I want to invest in a more permanant solution.

The only downside I can see about a more permanant solution is that during the cold winter months I would welcome the extra heat sunshine provides……. with my current setup – ugly though it is, I can easily take the “curtains” down.

I’ll post an update for everyone after these things have been up for awhile. Yesterday was over 100 degrees, today is supposed to be hotter with few clouds or rain. Thanks for reading and come back to visit soon!

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