Don’t Replace Your Old Windows With Low-E Glass (Here’s What You Can Do Instead)

Don’t Replace Your Old Windows With Low-E Glass (Here’s What You Can Do Instead)

Imagine losing $1000 from your income every single year.

For most American households, that’s roughly how much it will cost to heat and cool their home for the year.

That adds up, especially when every dollar counts.

It’s no surprise that people are looking for ways to save on energy costs.

Typically, windows are the worst energy culprits on any given house.

Heat gain and heat loss through windows account for between 25%-30% of a home’s energy use for heating and cooling.

If a window has failing seals, it will perform even worse.

Even the type of the window frame can affect energy performance.

If the window frame is made from a material that is a poor insulator, such as aluminum, it can create what’s known as a thermal bridge and conduct heat from inside the house to outside. 

One inefficient window can lose as much heat as 10 to 20 times what an insulated wall would lose.

Even if your window is new and well sealed, it could still be the cause for a lot of energy use in your home.

Solar energy is still able to pass through glass, so even an insulated window can heat up a room quickly if it gets a lot of sun.

In the dead heat of summer, having even just one window or skylight that gets a lot of sun exposure can mean the AC is running all day just to cool the room off.

So What Can Be Done?

The most common recommendation to make old windows more energy efficient is to replace them entirely with new, low-e windows.

Low-e windows are windows that have been treated with a film that reflects solar heat while still letting natural light pass through.

With less solar heat entering the home, the AC no longer has to work as hard to keep the house cool.

The less energy the AC uses, the more savings there are for the homeowner.

Is replacing old windows with new ones worth the cost?

There will be energy savings from replacing old windows with new, low-e glass windows but it comes with a substantial upfront cost.

The National Association of Realtors estimates the cost of replacing every window in a 2,450 square foot house to be around $19,000.

For a household trying to save money in energy bills, that’s a very large investment with a slow return.

What are some more cost effective alternatives to replacing an old window?

The most important thing to do with old windows is stop any exchange of air between the inside and outside of your house.

For drafty windows, using a product like rope caulk to seal up any holes can make a major improvement.

Plastic film insulation is another popular and effective solution for sealing up older windows.

Both options are inexpensive and simple enough for anyone to apply.

For windows that get a lot of sun exposure, a quick and easy way to make them more energy efficient is to mount exterior shade mesh on them (also called shade screen or solar screen/mesh/fabric).

There are a lot of different kinds of shade mesh available, but they all work by the same principle.

It’s a mesh fabric, and like low-e glass, it works by blocking solar heat and light, while still letting natural light through.

Unlike low-e glass, which is a film that’s been applied to the glass, solar mesh is installed on the exterior of the window.

Applying the shade screen to the outside of a window is key for it’s ability to keep a room cool.

If it’s applied to the inside of a window it will still work but not nearly as well.

If it’s mounted on the inside the screen will still provide shade from the sun, but the energy savings will be significantly less because the heat will be trapped inside the house.

If you are considering shade screens for your home and don’t know which one to choose, the easiest and best option is EZ Snap.

They sell do-it-yourself kits that let you mount and cut your mesh to your window, no matter it’s size or shape.

EZ Snap is also a fraction of the cost of what you would pay to buy and install new windows.

You save on the price of the product, and because you are able to install it yourself, you save on labor as well.

EZ Snap shade screen is also better at blocking solar heat than low-e glass.

The effectiveness of heat blocking applications for windows is measured by the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).

The SHGC is the amount of solar radiation (heat) that transmits through a window.

It’s measured between 0 and 1, and the less solar heat that transmits through a window, the lower a window’s SHGC number is going to be.

There are a lot of low-e glass makes and models, but the range of SHGC for most of them from varies between 0.60 – 0.25. 

Shade mesh from EZ Snap has a SHGC of .18.

Something else to consider is that low-e windows are known to damage turf and siding.

In the right conditions, the solar heat that they reflect can focus into a hot spot creating a magnifying glass effect that melts anything in its path.

The problem is becoming so rampant with the rising popularity of low-e windows that one scientist is calling them, “the next asbestos.”

If you or your neighbor has a low-e window that is damaging property, EZ Snap is also the ideal solution.

Rather than replace the entire window, installing EZ Snap window shade over the problem window provides a fast and effective fix.

The solar heat is reflected off of the mesh before it ever reaches the window, preventing any chance of a hot spot forming.

The result is 100 percent effective and can be installed in as little as an afternoon.

An added benefit to an exterior shade product like EZ Snap is that it’s also removable. So, when the winter months come you can take it off and benefit from the natural heating you get with the sun.

It’s like getting free heat in the winter.

No matter which window option you choose to make your home more energy efficient, it’s important to do your research before making a final decision. 

You want to make sure that you are going to be getting the maximum return for your investment.

Replacing your windows might be worth the cost, or it might make more sense to invest in solutions that are able to make your existing windows more energy efficient.

 

The Perfect Skirting For Airstreams

The Perfect Skirting For Airstreams

One of the Best Airstream Skirting Options

DIY RV Skirting Solutions.

Airstream owners can rejoice because there is finally a skirting solution that makes sense for them.

One of the most appealing things about an Airstream is the sleek, aluminum body. However, a problem that many Airstream owners encounter in cold weather is finding a way to attach RV skirting. The most common method to attach skirting is by drilling snap studs into the panels, and that is usually the last thing an Airstream owner wants to do to their trailer.

The other problem that comes with custom RV skirting is a hefty price tag and a long wait time.

Airstream skirtingSome cheap RV skirting options include plywood, bales of hay, or rigid insulation with duct tape. These methods are not usually practical as they do not allow access to the trailers’ sewage shut-off or storage under the Airstream. These cheap RV skirting options are bulky, not easy to move to your next RV site and, in the case of straw bales, can attract vermin.

And the one thing all these cheap RV skirting ideas have in common is that they all turn an Airstream from sleek to eyesore.

Thankfully, EZ Snap has found a solution that makes sense for Airstream owners. Using our patented 3M Fasteners, our EZ Snap® Studs use a VHB adhesive backing that sticks on to your trailer. No drilling required!

Our fasteners will hold our vinyl RV skirting on your Airstream trailer through sub-zero temperatures, rain, snow and wind. 

We ship our RV skirting kits quickly and because of our “Do It Yourself” system, you can have the custom fit you want without the expensive custom price.

Airstream skirting

EZ Snap® Skirting under the wheel trim.

You can see from the photos how some of our customers have successfully attached our skirting kits to their Airstreams. Because Airstreams have a fairly low ground clearance, our 30 inch kits have the extra height needed to hold down  your skirting using our pipe clamp system.

You can also see from our the photos how attaching the skirting just below the trim around the length of the trailer gives a seamless look.

Looking at our two photos on the left, you can see two different techniques for skirting around the wheel wells. One customer went over the top of their fender flair trim and one went below the fender flare.Both applications work, it all depends what’s right for the customer.

Airstream skirting

EZ Snap® Skirting over wheel the trim.

That’s the beauty of EZ Snap®, it allows you to customize your skirting exactly to your preferences.

Because our proprietary Diamond Weave™ vinyl skirting is a non-fray material, you’re able to cut it to size to fit exactly how you want it to look.

One of the main advantages with using EZ Snap® skirting is not just the low cost, but also the portability. EZ Snap® RV skirting can be easily detached, rolled up,  and stored, if you’re moving from one RV site to another.

So, no more plywood, no more straw bales, and no more holes in your Airstream!

 

 

 

 

How To Keep Your RV Cool This Summer

How To Keep Your RV Cool This Summer

Nothing beats the summer for getting out and enjoying your RV, but keeping your rig cool in the midday heat can be a challenge for even the most experienced traveler.

You might have an AC unit that is too loud, or boondocking, or maybe you don’t have AC at all. Fear not, we’ve compiled the top ten inexpensive ways to keep your RV cool without an air conditioner this summer.

1. Parking is everything

Be sure to park smart this summer. Where you park is the number one way to keep the heat down. Sidling up beside a nice lush tree will help keep one side of your RV cool, plus it’s doesn’t cost a thing.

Be aware of what side your RV is facing as well. The hottest part of the day is typically around 3 pm, so you want to try and keep as few windows exposed as possible to the afternoon sun.

2. Clean and be cool

Having good airflow in your RV is a key part of keeping it cool. Something that gets overlooked a lot is the dust and grime buildup in the areas behind and around your fridge and stove. If the airflow is inefficient then you will have heat flowing back into the RV, making for unhappy campers. Before your set out on your adventure, make sure to give those places a thorough clean.

3. Swap out those bulbs

When you’re trying to keep the temperature down every little thing counts, and this is one that doesn’t take much of an effort to do. If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, know that each one of those works like a tiny heat generator. For the power they consume, around 90% of it is expended as heat.

Switch those old bulbs over to LED light bulbs, they’ll give you the same amount of light but with a fraction of the heat.

4. Your biggest fan(s)

There are two ways to use your fans to cool down for those hot days and nights. During the day get those fans pointed right at you. Air that is moving feels cooler than air that is still, so you will at least get some relief with some fans blowing at you.

In the evening, when the air is cooler outside of your RV than inside, point your fans facing out the windows. This way you will be blowing the hot air out and at the same time drawing the cool air in. The more windows you can have open for an effective cross-breeze, the better.

5. Cook out

Try to cook the majority of your meals outside of your RV. Any time you fire up your oven you are generating a lot of heat that is hard to dissipate. Plus, who wants to cook in a sweltering hot room? Cook your meals outside, either over the fire or on a camp stove.

It may take a bit more work to haul your ingredients and cookware in and out of your RV, so try and make enough so you have leftovers and don’t have to cook every single meal.

6. Shade Screens are a dream

Usually the main heat culprit in your RV is your biggest window or windows. The sun’s rays come in through the glass and heat up the interior of your RV. Then, because the heat has nowhere to go, it just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

The key is to stop the sun from even getting through the glass, and EZ Snap Shade Screens are by far the easiest and best option for attaching shade to your RV. The best part is that they block the 90% of the heat but you can still see out of them, so you get to keep your view.

EZ Snap Exterior Blinds for RV Coach

RV with EZ Snap Shades

7. Tarp time

They may not be pretty but tarps are the Swiss Army Knife of any good RV’r. They’re inexpensive, they don’t take up a lot of space and they have a variety of uses. If there are any trees nearby you can try and attach your tarp across them to make some extra shade and cut down on the sun exposure to your RV.

8. Get on Google

Depending on the nature of your trip you may be planning your stops well in advance. Use Google Earth to scout your prospective stops to try and cherry pick the sites that will have the most shade. You will be glad you spent the extra time planning when the midday sun is out and you are relaxing in the shade from a nearby tree.

9. Night time is the right time (to cool down)

If your RV is like an oven during the day, the evening is the time to cool down not just yourselves, but your over-hot RV as well. Open up all those windows and turn those fans on.

Don’t forget to open your cupboards and storage bays, as those are places where heat can build up over the course of the day and can keep your RV uncomfortably hot if not aired out.

10. Skylight too bright

Your large windows may take all of the blame for the heat, but don’t forget about your skylight. They are notorious heat generators, and they can be a big reason why your RV is unbearable hot. Covering up your skylight is one of the best ways your can bring down the temperature in your RV this summer. Here’s a list of the top four ways to cover a hot skylight for under $100.

How To Block Skylight Heat – Top Four Fixes For Under $100

How To Block Skylight Heat – Top Four Fixes For Under $100

Need To Cover Your Hot Skylight?

Here’s How To Beat The Heat On A Budget

While they are known for keeping things bright, skylights also have a dark side.

With all the light they let it in skylights can heat up a room to the point where it becomes an abandoned part of your home.

The cause for your hot house is called the greenhouse effect: light comes in, heats up your room and then has nowhere else to go. Which would be fine if you were growing tomatoes in your living room, but chances are you’re not.

Even with the AC on max some rooms just can’t be cooled, and the sun’s rays can also cause your furniture and floors to fade.

We’ve compiled a list of the top four DIY ways to cool your skylight and get your house back.

 

1. Paint over your skylight

This one is as simple as it sounds. The key to cooling a hot skylight is to stop the sun before it gets through the glass.

If you can block the light, you can block the heat. Painting over your skylight will stop light from getting through and will keep for your house much cooler for just the cost of a can of paint.

The main drawback with painting your skylight is that it is a fairly permanent fix. Scraping paint off is time consuming and you will undoubtedly be left with more than a few scratches on your glass.

Depending on how hot your room is getting though, this may be a sacrifice you are willing to make.

 

2. Tarp it up

A quick and easy fix that is by far the cheapest of all your options. Simply buy a blue tarp that is several feet longer than your skylight. Lay it over top of the skylight so that it is completely covered and pin down the excess fabric using bricks. It’s a fast, cheap and easy skylight cover.

You’ll still get some ambient light coming through and most of the heat will be stopped, but expect your room to have a blue tinge.

Depending on how visible your skylight is from the street, you may also have the neighborhood eyesore on your roof all season. Once summer’s over, it’s only a matter of picking up the bricks and rolling up your tarp and you get your skylight back without a whole lot of trouble.

 

3. Board it up

This method requires the most amount of skill, but it’s the only one that doesn’t involve a trip to the roof. You will need to buy and cut a piece of foam insulation board that will fit snugly into your skylight shaft opening.

Then, along the outside of the insulation board attach weather stripping. This will ensure a tight fit that you can push in or take out depending on the weather.

This one make take some trial and error as you will need to cut the foam board to just the right size so it is just big enough to squeeze into the opening and effectively pinning itself in place.

The biggest drawback with this method is that you are now trapping all the heat between the skylight and the insulation. This heat can build up to the point that your seals could fail or your glass could crack, so proceed with caution.

 

4. EZ Snap Skylight Shades

EZ Snap Raised Skylight Exterior Blinds

EZ Snap is a solar mesh that attaches to the outside of your skylight that is proven to block up to 90 percent of the sun’s heat. It still lets in lots of natural light, plus it’s affordable and a breeze to install. 

First, measure the size of your skylight and then order the appropriate kit from https://ezsnapdirect.com/products/skylight-shades/.

Once the kit comes, no special tools are needed to install. Simply attach your mounting studs to the frame and then attach the mesh to the studs using the pins and caps included in the kit. Once it’s on it can be left on all year round.

If you want some direct sun in those cooler months you can also easily unsnap the mesh and store it away until next year.

Whichever method you choose to combat your sizzling skylight, know that the US Department of Energy concluded that exterior blinds and shades are up to seven times more effective at stopping heat from entering the home than interior blinds or window tinting.

 

 

Energy-Saving Hacks for Your Home

Energy-Saving Hacks for Your Home

These days, the number of energy-efficient products on the market is pretty impressive. But if your strategy for lowering your utility bills and going greener starts with buying sparkly new appliances, you’re neglecting several inexpensive, basic updates that make those fun new purchases perform even better. Home Improvement Leads offers a few straightforward solutions for homeowners who want to increase energy efficiency but don’t want to break the bank or undertake a major project.

Insulate and Seal

The number one bit of advice is far from glamorous but very effective: insulate. Nearly 50 percent of your heating can escape if your home is not properly insulated. You can keep turning up the thermostat in the winter or turning it down in the summer, but unless you block that heat transfer, your HVAC system will under perform.

Thankfully, this is totally appropriate for a DIY project. Add insulation in the attic and seal up holes in the heating ducts. Doors and windows are also huge culprits, so make sure you weatherstrip and fill up any cracks with sealant. Check along the floorboards and the space around fixtures for other gaps that need to be filled.

EZSnap Exterior Shades on Arched Window
Install Exterior Window Shades

Now that you have the basics out of the way, you can focus on more sophisticated approaches. Window coverings and shields can do a lot to keep the radiant heat out of your home while still providing ample daylight. EZ Snap Shading Mesh blocks up to 90 percent of the sun’s heat and UV rays that could cause your furnishings to fade. It also reduces the sun’s glare so that you can still get beautiful views of the outdoors—and as a bonus, the shades are easy to install!

Get a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

Adjusting your thermostat to only heat and cool your home when needed is an art. Some have mastered it, while others let opportunities to save energy slip by. It’s understandable—it’s inconvenient to come home to a house that’s too hot or cold. But instead of putting the burden on yourself and your family to save energy every day by adjusting the thermostat, install a programmable one. You can program it to switch to a more energy-saving temperature while you’re away, and to get comfortable again half an hour before you come home. Or go one step further and install a smart thermostat that will learn your routine, keep tabs on your energy use, and make your home more comfortable by precisely meeting your heating and cooling needs.

LED Light Bulbs Save Energy
Use LEDs Wherever They Make Sense

Traditional incandescent lights are pretty inefficient, but thankfully, recent technologies have provided us with better options like LEDs and CFLs. LEDs are the most expensive, but they also last the longest and use the least amount of energy. Because they last so long, it’s not a bad idea to replace some hard-to-reach light fixtures with LEDs so you’re changing inconveniently-located bulbs only once every few years. If you’re worried about the bright light of LEDs, rest assured that they’re now available in warmer colors comparable to traditional incandescents.

Adjust Your Habits

One of the best changes you can make doesn’t involve tools or a trip to the home improvement store. You can save energy just by reevaluating your everyday practices and setting new guidelines for your family’s energy use. Consider taking these measures to conserve:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Dry your clothes in the sun instead of in the dryer
  • Wash all of your clothes on cold—just make sure to get cold-water laundry detergent
  • Warm your home (responsibly) with a fire in the winter
  • Close the curtains when you leave on a hot day
  • Use ceiling fans instead of centralized cooling whenever possible
  • Eat more raw foods and use the oven less
  • Unplug (rather than just turn off) any unused appliances or electronics

If you like green—both on the earth and in your pocket—these simple changes will be perfect for your home and lifestyle.