Window films cut costs, are easy to install
Q: My house has older, but good, single-pane windows and the sun is baking us through them. Will installing do-it-yourself window film block the intense heat and glare?
A: Generally, installing double- or triple-pane, low-emissivity replacement windows is the best option. In your case where your windows are in good shape, applying permanent film is a much lower cost option.
The new year-round, energy-control window films are not difficult to install and they do work. These films have a microscopically thin, low-emissivity layer of metal to block heat gain during summer and heat loss during winter. They are not darkly tinted or extremely reflective like the mirrored office building windows. Most people will not even notice the film on the glass.
The color and amount of tint of the film also impacts how much heat and glare come through the window glass. For hot climates, a darkly tinted film with a low-emissivity coating blocks the most heat and glare. It also blocks heat during winter, so it is not the best for solar heating.
For most other climates, a lightly tinted, low-emissivity film provides the most year-round energy savings. When looking out from indoors, the tint is barely noticeable. It blocks the intense heat from the sun during summer, yet allows some solar heat in during winter. It also reduces a chilly sensation when sitting near windows at night.
Other benefits of this window film are it blocks nearly all the sun's UV (ultraviolet) fading rays to protect furniture and carpets. Totally clear film with no tint also reduces fading and minimizes the chance of the glass shattering when broken. Extra-thick safety films are also available.
Dark window films block much of the sun's heat by absorbing it instead of reflecting it. This can be a problem on double-pane glass because it gets hot, possibly causing the seals to leak. Nearly clear films do not cause as much heat buildup, but still check your window warranty before applying film.
These year-round, energy savings films are available in large rolls or small do-it-yourself kits at most home centers. The kits include the film, a squeegee and application tools. If you are doing most the windows in your house, it is much less expensive to buy a large roll and tools separately.
It is simple to install the film yourself. First make sure the glass is extremely clean. Thoroughly wet the cleaned glass and the water-activated adhesive on the film. Place the film against the wet glass. Run the squeegee over the film from the center to the edges to force out air bubbles and cut the excess off at the edges.
The following companies offer energy-saving window films: 3M, www.3m.com, (888) 364-3577; Gila Films, (800) 528-4481, www.gilafilms.com; Madico, (888) 887-2022, www.madico.com; and Solar Gard, (866) 572-1922, www.solargard.com.
Q: It seems I always have to put new washers in my faucets to stop leaks. With all the leaks I've have, it is pushing up my water bills. How can I fix them permanently?
A: Leaks can increase your water bills. Check with some neighbors to see if they are having similar problems. If they are, you probably have unusually high water pressure in your area that exacerbates tiny leaks.
If you have high water pressure, have a pressure-reducing valve installed. Sometimes, you will also have to install a small expansion tank if you notice vibrations when you open a faucet.
• Contact James Dulley at 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.