Blackout Curtains

Stay Warm This Winter With Shades and Curtains

It’s official, summer is over. Please don’t direct your anger towards us. We hate winter as much as the next person. And with summer leaving, the cold has already arrived. The mornings are chilly and the nights are frigid. Snuggling up on the couch and watching TV in the evenings, now consists of covering up with a throw blanket to keep warm. But sometimes, the throw blanket isn’t enough. If your TV viewing setup is in the proximity of a window, a rather large window in my case, then you’re well aware that windows seep in the cold. Now you’re more focused on trying to stay warm than what’s on the tube. Instead of dialing up the heat to high to the content of the power company, a set of quality shades and curtains can help mitigate the cold air.

During the day, your windows let in more radiant energy than gets out; sunlight can enter through the glass, but the window is opaque to the infrared radiation trying to escape. At night, however, windows can get quite cold. Even double-glazed windows aren’t great insulators and can fall to low-teens against a heater set to the mid-twenties. The best way to prevent this heat loss is to close your curtains and lower your blinds immediately after dusk. They provide an extra barrier to radiant heat loss, add insulation and reduce draughts. For example, a combination of  blinds raise the internal surface temperature to mid-teens and a set of thick curtains raise it virtually to room temperature, minimising heat loss and making the room feel a great deal more comfortable.

Simply put, in the winter, shades reduce radiant heat loss. Just how well they’ll help depends on the material, size and thickness. And most importantly, you have to operate the shades to get their best performance. Leave them down or closed on a day that turns sunny, and you have a net loss of energy. Open or up at night—oops.

Interior shades can make rooms more comfortable. They have been shown to boost thermal comfort (raise the mean radiant temperature) by as much as 15°C. But just as with overall energy efficiency, improvements in thermal comfort with interior shades depend on how well the windows work to begin with. Improvements are highest and most noticeable with older, poorly performing windows, but that’s not to say that you won’t notice temperature improvement on newer windows as well.

Stop by one of C&M’s 3 locations and talk to the experts about what window shading solution works best for you, and stay warm this winter.