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Do curtains save electricity?

Curtains can help reduce heat loss and gain in a home, thus lowering energy costs for heating and cooling. The extent of energy savings depends on curtain type, window type, climate, and home insulation.

Do curtains save electricity?

Key Factors In Curtain Energy Efficiency

Window Type

  • Single pane windows have the highest rates of heat transfer. Insulated windows like double pane glass reduce air leakage.

Curtain Type

  • Thick, layered curtains provide more insulation. Thermal curtains specifically block heat transfer.

Climate and Weather

  • Extreme cold and hot climates see the highest savings from insulated curtains. Areas with long, cold winters benefit most.

Home Insulation

  • Well-insulated homes already reduce heat transfer. Added curtain insulation provides smaller savings.

How Do Curtains Impact Heating and Cooling Costs?

Winter Heat Loss Reduction

  • Windows account for up to 25% heat loss in homes. Covering windows reduces air leaks.
  • Thick curtains add insulating air layer that reduces conductive heat transfer out of the home.
  • On very cold days, insulated curtains can reduce heat loss by 25-50%

Summer Heat Gain Reduction

  • Sunlight streaming in windows heats up homes rapidly and makes A/C work harder.
  • Reflective curtains and blinds can reduce heat gain from sunlight by 33-77% by reflecting light instead of absorbing it.

Best Curtain Types For Energy Savings

Thermal Curtains

  • Made of multilayer fabric with batting or foam between layers
  • Provide highest insulation performance
  • Reduce heat flow by 40-60% compared to no coverings

Blackout Curtains

  • Thick, lined opaque fabrics block sunlight
  • Reduce heat gain and fading but less insulation benefit

Reflective Films

  • Foil or optical coatings reflect solar radiation
  • Must create air gap behind foil to add insulation

Impact Depends On Window Type

Greater savings with single pane windows:

  • Uninsulated so lose more heat
  • Curtains make dramatic difference in conduction losses
  • Can reduce heating bills by 8-25%

Smaller savings with double pane:

  • Two layers of glass with air gap provides insulation
  • Curtains make less difference compared to single pane
  • May save additional 1-10% on heating bills

Climate Differences Change Savings

Cold and Temperate Climates See Benefits in Winter

  • Heating degree days affect potential savings
  • More extreme winters mean curtains reduce bigger portion of heat loss
  • Estimate 2-8% savings on yearly heating costs

Hot Climates See Benefits in Summer

  • Cooling degree days affect potential savings
  • More extreme summers mean curtains prevent more heat gain
  • Can reduce cooling costs by 7-15% per year

Role Of Home Insulation

Well-insulated homes have less dramatic savings from curtains but still see benefits:

  • Better-insulated walls and attics already reduce heat transfer
  • Windows become more prominent source of seasonal heat gain/loss
  • Curtains address this weak point year-round
  • May save around 1-3% on yearly bills in efficient homes

Key Takeaways on Curtain Energy Savings

  • Curtain effectiveness varies based on window, climate, season and insulation
  • Right curtains block heat flow through windows by 25-60%
  • Bigger impact for homes with high heating/cooling needs
  • Savings add up through reduced AC, heating and fan usage
  • Thermal curtains with tight seals block air and conduct heat best
  • Bright, reflective curtains prevent solar heat gain in hot climates
  • Consider curtain upgrades before replacing windows or HVAC systems

Conclusion

Adding quality curtains designed to block heat and cold can significantly reduce energy costs in most homes. Thermal curtains provide the best insulation, though blackout styles also help control solar heat gain. Savings are greatest for homes with high heating and cooling demands due to inefficient windows, inadequate insulation, or extreme outdoor temperatures. Homeowners can make smarter decisions about weatherizing improvements by understanding curtains’ cost effectiveness compared to upgrades like new windows or A/C units. With some window and curtain upgrades, homeowners may be able to downsize heating/cooling equipment for additional savings. Installing appropriate curtains is an easy way to start saving on energy bills while increasing comfort indoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much money could I save per year with thermal curtains?
    Thermal curtains could save the average home $50-250 per year through lower heating and cooling costs. Larger homes and those in extreme climates could save more.

  2. Should curtains touch the floor for maximum efficiency?
    For the best insulation, curtains can touch the floor to seal the window. Leave curtains 1-2 inches above or below to allow airflow and prevent mold.

  3. Which rooms benefit the most from insulated curtains?
    Living rooms, bedrooms and other frequently used rooms benefit the most. You’ll increase comfort and savings using curtains on large or multiple windows that impact indoor temperatures.

  4. Is there a tax credit or rebate for installing energy efficient curtains?
    Yes, many utility companies and states offer rebates or tax incentives for thermal curtains as part of energy efficiency upgrades. These can cover 25-100% of material and installation costs.

  5. Should I use blackout curtains in summer or lighter sheer ones?
    Lighter sheer curtains may be preferable in summer to still allow light in while reflecting solar radiation. Opaque blackout curtains block more light but can trap heat without airflow.

  6. Do I need a professional to install thermal energy curtains?
    Not necessarily. Thermal curtains can be installed just like normal drapes on most standard curtain rods and windows using included hardware.

  7. How often should I replace thermal curtains to maintain efficiency?
    Replace thermal curtains every 4-8 years. Check for visible wear, damage or gaps that allow air leaks sooner. Improper functioning impacts efficiency over time.

  8. Can curtains really reduce A/C costs and improve comfort?
    Yes. Blackout and thermal curtains preventing heat gain through windows can reduce A/C usage quite a bit. This lowers electricity usage while keeping your home cooler.

  9. Should I close curtains at night for better insulation?
    Yes, drawing thermal curtains completely closed at night provides the highest level of heat retention during colder months. Fully closing blackout curtains can also aid summer cooling.

  10. Do curtain energy savings justify replacing existing blinds or shades?
    It can, especially with older, simple window coverings on inefficient windows. Calculate projected savings based on window area, existing covers and costs to determine payback time when upgrading.

  11. How do curtain energy savings compare to replacing windows?
    Upgrading single pane windows saves more overall. But good curtains are 5-10 times less expensive with faster payback. Start with curtains then consider window replacement later if needed.

  12. Will curtain insulation help reduce noise coming through windows?
    Yes. Curtains add mass and buffers that absorb and dampen sound vibrations. Thermal curtains with inner foam perform even better to noticeably reduce outside noise.

  13. Should I keep curtains closed during the day for best efficiency?
    No. Allow sunlight in for natural light and warmth during the day. Close lined thermal curtains at night in cold months for maximum insulation and cost savings.

  14. Do black curtains warm a room as well as lighter colors?
    Darker colors absorb a small amount of additional heat from sunlight. But fabric color has little effect on thermal performance and insulation capacity.

  15. Can curtains really impact my home’s carbon footprint?
    Yes. By lowering home energy use, efficient curtains reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions from electricity or heating fuel.

  16. What curtain length provides the best insulation?
    For optimum efficiency, thermal curtains should extend from slightly above the top of the window frame to slightly below the bottom sill when closed.

  17. How tight should curtain seals be against windows? Does it matter?
    Creating a tight seal where curtains meet walls and window frames ensures minimal air flow for maximum insulation capacity.

  18. Which rooms will not benefit much from thermal curtains?
    Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms that don’t require extensive heating or cooling see less impact from curtains.

  19. Can moisture get trapped if thermal curtains seal too tightly?
    It’s possible. Allow complete curtain drying and room ventilation between fully sealed periods. Watch for condensation and mold.

  20. Do curtains with blackout linings also provide thermal insulation?
    Some do. Blackout-lined curtains are opaque but not necessarily thick. Add batting for better heat retention. Thermal curtains can include blackout features.

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