The last time you stayed in a hotel, you may have noticed the windows didn’t seem as drafty as they might be at home. This is because of the curtains - what might look like generic, utilitarian draperies are actually sophisticated energy-efficiency devices that can help you save money on monthly utility bills while improving the comfort and beauty of rooms in which they are installed. Here’s some useful information about insulated curtains and how they work.
What are Insulated Curtains?
Insulated curtains are energy efficiency systems that help prevent heat transfer, block light and dampen noise. They’re made up of four layers:
- A core layer of high-density foam that insulates your windows from heat and sound exchanges
- A vapor barrier to keeps the foam from absorbing moisture
- A layer of reflective film that reflects heat back into the room
- An outer layer of decorative fabric
There are all kinds of insulated curtains, including Roman shades, hobbled shades, side-draw shades and classic curtains. They can be integrated into draperies, valances, shutters and other systems. Since the outermost layer of decorative fabric can be of any style and type, you can customize the look and feel of insulated curtains for any room in your house.
How Do Insulated Curtains Help Save Energy?
Your home’s windows, in a way, are like membranes. They let sunlight inside and keep odors outside, which is good. But they also let heated and cooled air outside and allow heat gain and heat loss to affect air temperatures inside, which is almost always bad. Without a barrier, you’re likely losing up to 25 percent of your heated or cooled air, which forces your furnace or air conditioning unit to continue pumping when it really shouldn’t have to.
Insulated curtains help protect your home from the four major types of heat loss (conduction, infiltration, convection and radiation) that occur through and around your windows. In other words, insulated curtains help prevent heat from entering or leaving your home.
In the winter, this means insulated curtains will help heated inside air from being cooled or escaping outside. When summer comes, just the opposite happens: cooled inside air will gain some protection against being heated or escaping outside. Additionally, insulated curtains also help dampen outside noise and can be made to almost completely prevent light from entering your room, which can increase your comfort, especially while sleeping at night.
Installing insulated curtains will allow you to set your furnace back during cold winter months and set your air conditioner back during warm summer months. As an extra benefit during the winter, you can leave your insulated curtains open during the day so that sunlight warms your room and then close your curtains when the sun goes down to keep the warm air inside. When summer comes around, you can reverse the process to keep cool air inside.
Why Should I Choose Insulated Curtains Instead of Energy-Efficient Windows?
Energy-efficient windows can do a very good job of preventing heat transfer and saving energy. However, while energy-efficient windows can be costly, insulated curtains are relatively inexpensive, which makes them ideal for those on a budget. They’re also practical and stylish and can make a room in your home more efficient while adding to its beauty.
Perhaps most importantly, insulated curtains of sufficient quality can produce an R-rating that is similar to or better than energy-efficient dual-pane windows, even when hung over single-pane, aluminum frame windows. R-ratings are used by the federal government to indicate energy efficiency.
What Do I Have to Do to Maintain and Clean Insulated Curtains?
Insulated curtains require a little more effort to maintain and clean than regular curtains:
- To maintain insulated curtains — Occasionally open them to prevent moisture that gets past the vapor barrier from building up and allowing mildew to grow, an especially important task for those living in humid climates or climates that get heavy winter precipitation.
- To clean insulated curtains — While hanging, spray the curtains with a spray-on upholstery cleaner and then vacuum.
- Insulated curtains can be dry cleaned if necessary. Just make sure the dry cleaning process is non-immersive.
After you’ve installed your insulated curtains, you can save even more on your energy bill by switching to Spark. Learn more about how we’ve been pleasing customers since 1999 by clicking here.