By Doug Richards
It’s been said that the more you can shade the glass before the sun hits it, the less amount of heat that seeps into the house. Trees are the operative word here of which there are none. In Florida’s all but treeless subdivisions, shade is hard to come by and even when you do stick a tree in the ground—um-hm—your grandchildren are enjoying them before the benefits tie into home maintenance.
Learning from the neighbor
Just grateful for our double-paned windows, until a friend told me about solar screens. He said the roofing contractor had recommended them before he started renovating. The house would need to be opened up to let most of the dust escape.
“Yeah, my grey hair turned three shades lighter when I heard that,” he said. “I didn’t believe him.”
He went ahead and bought the screens, alright. Said they were worth every penny.
Now I’m contemplating adding some windows on the south side of the house—exactly what I shouldn’t be doing, but they’ll open up the view of the golf course. Can’t blame a guy who needs to be studying the drive techniques of everyone going off the 16th tee, right?
Good neighbors respect each other’s judgment
Numerous solar screens, for sale on the web, calls for a little homework. So what’s to learn? I discovered that an insect screen will provide about a 25 percent shading factor. However, the solar screen is more effective with its blocking factor ranging from 60 to 100 percent.
100 percent sounds a little extreme—possibly trapping all that dust he was talking about. Okay, the mesh material is fiberglass or polyester and coated with polyvinyl chloride in several thicknesses to increase the overall density. Protects the “yarn” and permits a color application. Sounds like they’re washable as well — the old wire screens didn’t take to water all that well.
A little math lesson learned
If the solar screen mesh density takes care of 186 of 235 BTUs (British Thermal Units), the double-paned glass now only has to block the remaining 14 to leave 35 reaching the inside of the window—thus lightening the air-conditioning load by about 85 percent. Impressive!
Good to know
Surfing several sites revealed that these simple devises do quite a bit of work. Aside from limiting dust from the interior of the house during a renovation, fresh air fiends can feel fine about opening the windows. The density of the mesh also prevents the neighbors from seeing the shocking goings-on inside the house.
West-facing windows can be opened as well minus the light and heat of the setting sun, because the solar screens reduce the glare from outside in — now there’s a blessing.
Our concrete yard is a killer. Really, there are quite a few crushed rock-beds out there—helps cut down on the mowing… Last, but certainly not least, for herself, less sun means less damage from UV rays to the carpet, drapes and new sofa-that-cost-a-fortune and still have a nice view.
Happy owners—happy house
Shopping for them was easy. I decided to try to match the tan, beige, camel or whatever color on the walls. There they were, waiting for us; it was that easy.
“They sure look good—especially the way they match the wall. You’d hardly notice them—excellent.”
I had to agree and, since I’m the one who pays the bills, I’m looking forward to watching the power bill plummet. Well, maybe not plummet, but floating at a lower altitude would be good. Oh yes, and we’re a little “greener” now.
Doug Richards is a lifetime contractor in Florida currently operating Tampa and Ft. Pierce roofing office. Doug recommends Sun Block Screens of Florida, Inc. for your solar screen needs.