With summer descending on most of us, in the most fiercest way, most of us are thinking about our favorite outdoor activities, spending time at the beach, and longer days in the sun. However, at the end of the day, there’s the unfortunate reality of the summer months: scorching temps!!

While air conditioners and fans certainly help to cool down your home, there’s a way to keep your space cool without the dreaded spike in your energy bill: insulating shades. The correct shades will work to block the sun’s rays from entering your home, keeping your space naturally cool. 

So, how can you maximize your shades in summer heat? Let’s dive in.  

Understanding heat gain

When you sit near a fireplace, take a warm shower, or drink a hot cup of tea, you get warm. These are all examples of conductive heat, or, the way heat transfers from one material to the next. The same is true when sunlight enters through your windows– heat is transferred from its source (the sun) to whatever the sun’s rays happen to hit.

To prevent the sun’s rays from heating up your home requires insulation. No, not the pink marshmallowy insulation that sits between your wall and the outside of your home, but insulated shades. 

These shades are built with honeycomb-like cells that absorb the sun’s rays before they’re able to heat up your home.  

The R-Rating system 

Everything has a scale, and heat resistance is no different. The R-Value Rating System measures how well a material reduces energy (heat) gain or loss. Basically, the higher the R-value, the more energy is being saved. 

When shopping for insulating shades with EcoSmart Shades, look out for each style’s R-value. The chart below shows you what to look for while shopping:

maximizing your shades in summer heat

Utilizing shades to keep your home cool 

how to maximize your shades in summer heat

While shades are an excellent way to keep your home cool during the summer months, not all shades are created equal when it comes to their insulating properties. Our team recommends the following shades to help you beat the heat.

Cellular Shades

Known for their insulating properties, cellular shades are built with a honeycomb structure that traps air in each of its cells, insulating your home from the outside. These shades are available as single or double cell shades, which means that the shade either has one layer of cells or two. While double cell shades have a higher R-value, many gravitate towards single cell shades for its cleaner look.

Cellular Shades are available in a variety of styles, from blackout and light-filtering to motorized– and beyond. 

Solar Shades

Another great option to help you beat the heat, Solar Shades (also called “Solar Screens) are built with fabric that blocks light. Unlike Cellular Shades, which insulate your home against the sun’s rays, Solar Shades reflect light. The shades are also known to block harmful UV rays from entering your home, offering protection to both humans and light-sensitive furniture. 

Solar shades are available in the roller style of shade, simply meaning that they roll up and down with the pull of a cord. 

Maximizing your shades in summer heat

maximizing your shades in summer heat

So, you’ve purchased and installed shades that help protect your home from the sun. What now? 

Pay attention to the sun’s rays 

Well, you’re on the right track. To make sure your shades are as effective as possible, pay attention to when the sun hits certain parts of your home throughout the day. Some styles of shades, such as Top-down/Bottom-up shades, are positioned to block out the sun’s rays in the morning, but aren’t as effective in the afternoon. If this is the case for you, be sure to rotate the positioning of your shades as the sun moves throughout the day. This will make sure that they’re used as effectively as possible! 

Invest in Side Tracks 

Just like a winter jacket that’s not zipped up, certain types of shades without side tracks can only be so effective. If you’re looking to invest in shades that insulate your home as best as they possibly can, it might be worth considering side tracks. 

Consider the infrared images below: 

maximizing your shades in summer heat

Still have questions? Connect with one of our shade gurus for answers, product recommendations, and more.