18 answers

Solar Screens - Worth It? Just Plain Ugly?

we're pretty new to Texas and have yet to spend a summer here, but are getting the feeling its hot & sunny for many months. A window guy was suggesting solar screens to us to help keep the house cool and save on AC bills.

I haven't seen too many houses with them so I'm wondering -- are they worth it? If they are, how come more people don't have them? Are they just considered too ugly or what?

Anyone have experiences/wisdom to share?

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We've gotten them on two different houses...but only on the west-facing windows. And, they REALLY helped keep the heat down in those rooms. Luckily for us, the west-facing windows were are on the side of the house, so we didn't really have to worry about the appearance. But, we wouldn't put them on the entire house because they don't look very good.

We used Lone Star Solar Screens on both houses...they had good prices and service. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a native Texan...I never had them on my home growing up but now that I live in a larger home.... they make a WORLD of difference!!! I HIGHLY recommend them... I have them as do tons of neighbors in my neighborhood.

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Actually, I see them all over the place. I had them on my previous house and I am in the process of building a new house and will get them again. They are worth it. Some of the colors are ugly, but not all of them. Just don't get an ugly color. We are also about to have them installed at our office. I can refer you to the guy that does ours. He is very nice and honest. His prices are also very reasonable. The company is Solor Tex and the number is ###-###-####.

1 mom found this helpful

We've gotten them on two different houses...but only on the west-facing windows. And, they REALLY helped keep the heat down in those rooms. Luckily for us, the west-facing windows were are on the side of the house, so we didn't really have to worry about the appearance. But, we wouldn't put them on the entire house because they don't look very good.

We used Lone Star Solar Screens on both houses...they had good prices and service. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe it's just where you live that people don't have them. I see a lot of them around my neighborhood. We have them on the back of our house because we get the sun in the evenings and our house would get so hot you couldn't stand to be in it. The solar screens made a tremendous difference in the house. I would totally suggest getting them.

We kinda had the same thoughts - that they just looked funny. We have a 2-year-old house and we just didn't think they would look right. Anyway, we found these http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=2432275 and they've been great. No one can even tell I have them. We just put them up behind our other curtains - you can attach them or just put them up on their own rod. They block out a lot of the light, and heat, but without making it pitch black. Just a suggestion - plus, they are cheaper :)

Tim's window tinting, www.hometint.com, is used throughout our neighborhood. I've only heard good things about the products from my neighbors.

Hi P.,

We have very high ceilings and direct sunlight into our living room which makes for a hot summer. When I was pregnant, I insisted that we cool the house by installing solar screens. They made the house much darker and really didn't seem to help with the efficiency or the high electricity bill. We removed them and never put back on. I would not recommend them.

Yes, Texas summers are hot and miserable for a few months. Sometimes it even extends into the fall. We have wood plantation shutters which I keep closed when the sun is blaring in during the afternoon. This helps a lot and the plantation shutters are so pretty and ad value to your home. I think the solar screens are pretty ugly so I never researched to see if they work. But my shutters work great!!

I'm a native Texan...I never had them on my home growing up but now that I live in a larger home.... they make a WORLD of difference!!! I HIGHLY recommend them... I have them as do tons of neighbors in my neighborhood.

first, welcome to texas! yes, it gets hot here. as for the solar screens, they do work, my parents have them on some windows that get direct afternoon sun. I don't find them that attractive, and they block a little too much light for me and make the rooms too dark. it's really all personal preference.

you could spend a summer here before deciding. I can't imagine they'd save you that much money on your cooling bill in comparison to how much they cost. I had a window at our old house that got the direct afternoon sun. I would just close the blinds on that window at about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. if you have trees, they help immensely.

again, welcome!

They are pouplar and work, but only marginaly. You won't see a drastic change in your energy bill. If you do not have a lot to spend go ahead and get them. They are one of the most affordable options (depending upon how many windows you want to cover). There are colors and styles that do not look unsightly. So that is probably why you have not "seen" very many. They also work well in conjunction with window awnings. The window awnings shade the windows a little and soften the appearance of the screens.
If you are willing to spend more money than you will get better energy savings by updating your AC system and re-insulating your attic. Also replacing windows with better ones will help.

Lots of people in our neighborhood have them but my husband and I weren't crazy about the way they look. We decided to go with tint which is not as noticeable and actually more effective. Hope this helps.

We used to live in Houston, and our house didn't have solar screens. When we moved to Dallas, our house had them, and I can tell a big difference. They really help.

We have them and definitely notice a difference! We also have the double paned insulated windows on the windows without the screens. Screens can be a lower cost option over new windows. The screens are not the most attractive, but you can find a color option that blends with your house. My neighborhood actually has many homes with screens. Check with your homeowners association first though. They may have guidelines to follow on adding these.
C.

Hi P.,
I know this was posted a few months ago, but I am new to hear and being a native Texan and living here all my life I thought I would put in my two cents. I think it depends on a couple factors that you need to consider. One being the type of home you have and two which direction the main windows in your house face. I live in a house that is 100 years old and although it was updated with central heating and air, it does not have the added insulation as newer homes, plus the four main windows get direct sunlight making it very warm. They installed solar panels on and we saved a fortune. We don't have really high ceilings or anything so it made such a difference in cooling the house. Other people are right about the style, look into the options that would fit your house best. The do it yourself ones are the ones I found/seen are not as attractive. It does make the room darker, (thus the point to block the suns heat/light) but I also found that when I put one on my screen door, that I can open the front door and have privacy of people not being able to look straight threw during the say. Same thing with the windows, the benefit of it being darker is that since the threads are weaved very close together it prevents people from looking in and seeing everything in your home. I have a 3 year old that is just now understanding the concept of not dressing in front of a window.
Hope this helps you!

I would love it if you would share some of the responses you receive on this....I am curious too. Quite a few in our neighborhood have them. Thanks a bunch! N.

I've seen them on houses and agree that they are ugly. I don't know why people put them in the front of their house. I don't think they're a problem in the back, but still, there must be another way...

If you want to minimize heat from your windows, first look at the ones where you get the afternoon sun. That's where you'll be getting heat. Put a ceiling fan in those rooms! Also, you may be able to solve the problem with some type of insulating window treatments. I've seen blinds that look kind of like a honeycomb that are supposed to insulate. The nice thing is that you can pull them up and out of sight when you need to.
If you can't find an attractive solution, at least look for a removeable one! That way your windows aren't an eyesore when you enteratin guests, etc.

Hey, there! Where are you from? Yes, it is HOT, HOT, HOT in Texas...and it seems like it never ends! We relocated from N. California and still aren't used to so many months of humidity and heat! Solar screens can be great! Our neighbors have them, and I don't think they are offensive. And, they really have saved them money on electric bills! One thing to be careful of...some homeowner's associations don't allow them. Ours didn't, but our neighbors fought it and now they are allowed. Some solar screens I have seen are nto so pretty, but others just look like extended screens. You will have to look around and find a place that has quality screens that will install them properly. Good luck!!

Hi, We built our current home 4 years ago. This is the second home we built. The first one was when we didn't know anything. We installed solar screens the first summer we lived here. I was standing in the living room as the man put the screens on the windows and I could definately feel the air temp drop as he covered the windows. I would recommend getting them. At the moment I don't have details on the company or how much it costs, but if you are interested in more info, send me an email. ____@____.com

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