Use Window Coverings To Help Insulate Your Home's Single-Pane Windows

Single-pane windows offer little insulation against the cold during winter. Homes that have single-pane windows, USwitch says, can lose up to 20 percent of their heat through their windows. In contrast, double- and triple-pane windows provide better insulation, but they cost much more than single-pane windows. If your house has single-pane windows, and you don't have the money needed to install multi-pane windows, window coverings can be used to create a comparable insulating effect.

Mimicking Double-Pane Windows with Indoor Shutters

Installing indoor shutters on single-pane windows will create a double-pane window–like effect. Double-pane windows are better insulators than single-pane ones, because double-pane windows trap air between the two layers of glass. This trapped air acts as an insulator, as do the two layers of glass.

Indoor shutters are different and more functional than decorative outdoor shutters that you see on some homes. Indoor shutters are installed on the inside of the window frame, so they're easy to open and close. When closed, indoor shutters will also trap a layer of air. They'll mimic one of the layers of glass, while the single-pane window will act as the other pane. The air between them will provide additional insulation against both cold and heat.

While you could do this with almost any window treatment, indoor shutters are one of the best ones to use. They sit flush with a window frame when closed, so little air escapes from between the window and shutters. Blinds, shades and drapes would all let more air escape than shutters do when they're closed.

Of course, shutters don't let light in when they're closed. During winter, just closing them at night -- when temperatures are at their coldest -- can help you reduce your heating costs significantly. During summer, only closing the shades for a few hours in the afternoon -- when the sun is at its brightest -- will help prevent your house from becoming too hot during the middle of the day.

Using Insulating Shutters for Added Insulation

If you're installing indoor shutters primarily for their insulating benefits, you may want to look at insulating shutters. These shutters provide even more insulation by trapping air within them. There are many decorative and attractive options that have insulating materials built into them.

Mimicking Triple-Pane Windows with Drapes

Drapes, as mentioned, aren't as effective at trapping air against windows as shutters are. Drapes are loose and flowy, so air trapped between a window and drape can escape. Drapes do provide some insulation, though. When used in conjunction with indoor shutters, drapes create a second air pocket and mimic triple-pane windows. If they're paired with insulating shutters, the amount of protection against heat and cold is even greater.

To maximize their effectiveness, you should use drapes that will limit the airflow around them by looking for ones that

  • don't leave a gap between the drapes when closed
  • slightly graze the window sill or rest on the floor (depending on their length and style)
  • are wide enough to overlap the window frames in your home

Additionally, heavier drapes will provide better insulation than lighter ones. Heavier drapes also cost more than lighter ones, though. You'll have to weigh the trade-off and decide what weight of drapes fits within your budget.

Prepare your home against both the cold of winter and heat of summer by installing indoor shutters and drapes on its windows. If your house only has single-pane windows, these are affordable ways to improve your home's insulation without installing higher-quality, expensive windows. You can install both indoor shutters and drapes yourself, and they can be had for very little. The money you invest in them will provide you with energy savings all year long.

For more information, contact a local window treatment supplier. For example, Drapes done by Mayfair Drapery & Rug Co.

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