Gila heat control film will make your windows darker
In a few weeks we will be installing a solar photovoltaic system and we wanted to make sure to get our electric usage as low as possible first so we could install a system that would cover most, or all, of our electrical usage. We installed The Nest earlier in the year and saw some huge savings in our heating (gas) bill and some on our electric as well. I also wanted to try window film.
I purchased Gila Heat Control Residential Film. A fifteen foot roll runs about $33 and the hundred foot roll runs $144. I bought the “light” film because I didn’t want the windows to darken too much. There is a “platinum” film that cuts cooling costs even more, but you would have to accept a darker color on your windows. I purchased it from Amazon, but Home Depot also sells it. There are many types of window films so look for one that actually says Heat Control.
How Heat Control Window Film Works
The film works by reflecting the sun off the window. The inside shows a shaded color and the outside shows a mirrored surface. During the daytime the film will also add some privacy due to the reflection. As you can see from the picture, it does darken the window, but not by a lot. If anything, it casts a bluish tint more than actually darkening it.
The window film reflects 99% of UV. If you are worried about plants, don’t be, I set my starters in front of the slider as usual and saw no difference compared to a non-tinted window.
That said, you definitely notice a difference in the heat between the two! In fact, a thermometer was reading 26 degrees lower in front of the tinted window. I can comfortably sit in the dining chair in the picture now. Before, it was the worst place in the house to be!
The film says it will cut cooling costs up to 30%. I measured our AC usage before the window film was applied and again afterwards (using The Nest since it will tell you exactly how long and when your AC kicks on) and saw that it only cut our costs by about 15%. This amounts to about $65 in savings each year, so it should take us 2 years to break even and we will be saving money after that. There is definitely more value in the fact that the house is also more comfortable, especially in the dining room.
It also says that it will reduce glare (it does) and fading of interior furnishings (which I can’t really measure, but it makes sense because there is less direct sunlight coming through the windows).
Installation of the Gila Heat Control Film
Installation of the heat control film was actually really simple! I installed the first window (the slider) with my husbands help, but I did all the others while he was at work – including the second half of the slider window. I did purchase an install kit and I recommend getting it. The supplies in the kit are pretty simple: squeegee, low lint cloth, cutting tool, and some application solution. You can make the application solution with water and a tsp of baby soap, which is what I did once the first bottle of solution ran out.
- Measure the window and cut the film first.
- Use a lot of the solution when peeling the backing off the window film. The film is not sticky as long as it has the solution on it, but it will stick to itself if you do not use enough solution.
- Place the film on the window then use the squeegee to get all the bubbles out.
- Use the cutting tool (or an exacto knife) to cut it to the size of the window.
- Squeegee any remaining bubbles
The directions say that any remaining small bubbles will disappear in a few days (I didn’t notice any) and the film will become clearer as it dries. I also did not notice a difference in the clarity of the film.
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