Did you know that your window treatments can save you money in the winter? It's true. In Salford, England, researchers have a house rigged with monitors and enclosed in a sealed hangar, allowing them to create any weather condition they want and test and measure energy efficiency inside of the house. Among other discoveries, they found that drawing the blinds at dusk reduces heat loss by 13 to 14 percent, and using curtains instead of blinds reduces heat loss by 15 to 17 percent. Presumably, heavy drapes can prevent even more heat loss in the winter. Take a look at some steps that you can take to make your drapes as energy efficient as possible and save yourself some money on your energy bills this winter.
Create a Seal
The less your drapes move, the more effective they'll be at keeping the heat in and the cold air out. The best thing that you can do is create a seal that keeps the drapes in place when they're closed. Start by choosing curtains that are at least a few inches wider than the window, to ensure that your window has coverage at all times. Next, attach adhesive Velcro the walls and sew Velcro strips on to the sides of the curtains that will be facing the windows. This will ensure that your curtains won't move when you have them drawn.
Finally, choose drapes that reach all the way to the floor, and sew small lead weights into the hem. This helps create a seal between the drapes and the floor, so that heat won't be able to escape by flowing underneath the drapes. If you have shorter curtains, you can create a similar effect by making sure that the curtains reach the windowsill and sewing weights into the bottom hem, making a seal between the curtain and the sill.
Turn your drapes into thermal drapes by adding an insulated lining to the back of them. Curtain insulation usually consists of four parts. There is a layer of high density foam, a vapor barrier to prevent the foam from absorbing moisture, a reflective film layer that deflects heat back into the room, and a layer of decorative material to cover the other layers.
You can make the insulated linings yourself with materials that are available at most fabric or craft shops, but if you're not interested in a new sewing project, you can just as easily buy drapes that come with insulation, or just buy the insulated linings. If you choose to buy a set of insulated drapes, make sure the insulated linings are detachable so that you can remove them in the summer or whenever you want to clean the drapes. Not only will the insulated linings prevent heat loss, they'll also provide a mild soundproofing effect, so you won't have to hear as much of the outside noise.
Close The Drapes
Knowing when to close the drapes can also help you maintain the most heat inside of your house. You'll want to have the drapes open during the warmest part of the day so that your home can absorb the heat from the sun. To prevent heat loss, you should close them before the sun goes down – by dusk or even a little bit before.
If you aren't going to be using a particular room at all during the day, keep the curtains drawn all day long. This will ensure that you won't forget to go back in and close them at night, allowing the room to become cold. However, in rooms that are rarely used, you will need to go in and occasionally open them to prevent a buildup of moisture that could get past the vapor barrier and cause mildew to grow. This is especially important if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain in the winter time.
Energy efficient drapery is a great way to insulate your home with a fairly minimal up-front cost. With these tips, your house will stay warmer and you'll gain a noticeable reduction in your energy bills.