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"Reuse removable window film/shades each summer to block heat"

Click here to see a descriptive illustration of several types of window film and shades.

Dear Jim: I don't want to install permanent tinted window film, but I need to block the sun's heat, glare and carpet fading. I still want a good view outdoors. What simple-to-install, low-cost options do I have? - Meg F.

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A: Although installing permanent insulating window film is most effective, it sounds like you might prefer using reusable removable sun-control window film. You unroll the film and install it against the glass during the summer and remove, reroll and store it away during the winter.

Most reusable window films are made of a material similar to removable film labels on new television screens or microwave doors. They cling to the smooth glass surface by a natural static charge in the material. They hold tight, but can be peeled off in seconds to store away each winter. To install it, wet the window, roll on the film and squeegee out any bubbles.

The films are available in several levels of tint. Once the entire window is covered with a lightly tinted static-cling film, it really is not noticeable even though it blocks much of the glare and fading of carpets and furniture. The packaging will indicate the specifications for reduction of heat, glare, fading, etc. Definitely compare their specifications.

If you have a decorative flare, choose a stiffer static-cling window film that has a colorful stained glass pattern printed on it. It actually resembles real stained glass. You can still remove it each winter, but many people prefer to leave it up year-round because it is so attractive.

Another excellent summer heat reduction option is sun-control window screening. You can install it in your existing screen frames. These screens have a dense weave and are often made of fiberglass or polyester. The screens look very dense on the roll, but you can easily see through them.

Don't forget to install the screening in your storm doors too, especially if you have pets. Special sun-control "pet-resistant" screening is available for windows and doors. This allows you to leave the primary door open to get natural ventilation without worrying your pet may tear through screens.

Still another option is pull-down shades made of standard window film or the sun-control screening. Many of the kits are designed to fit the window opening precisely for an attractive appearance. Shades that use clear or tinted film with a simulated stained glass pattern are also available.

If your house has a basement or sunken first floor with some window wells below grade, they can be ugly and allow the sun's glare to reflect off the shiny metal well. Printed flexible window well liners can be installed inside the well. They offer attractive sky, water and landscape scenes.

Instant Download Update Bulletin No. 970 - buyer's guide of 12 static-cling window film, sun-control shades/screens, and window well liner manufacturers listing sizes, visible light light transmitted, total UV rejection, shading coefficient, colors available, descriptions, installation instructions for static cling vinyl window film, illustrations and descriptions of several products.

Dear Jim: I have thought about installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in our utility room. Is it really necessary to use one during the summer when our gas furnace is not being used? - Karen L.

A: It is true there are far fewer carbon monoxide-related health issues during the summer, but you should still use one year-round. When air-conditioning, the house is as airtight as during the winter.

If you have a gas furnace, you probably also have a gas water heater which is used year-round and actually more often during the summer. The only cost to operate a CO detector is a battery, so to be safe, keep it operational year-round.

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