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#1
Old 08-19-2009, 11:00 PM
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Do you put foil over windows that get afternoon sun?

I grew up in apartments as a kid, and this was strictly forbidden, ostensibly because it gave the white trash apartments we lived in a white trash look.

I've lived in the same house 13 years and have never put foil on my windows because it's so ingrained in my brain that it is wrong. I suppose there are other ways of blocking the heat that aren't so noticeable...white posterboard or maybe even big white Styrofoam sheets.

We've had some brutal days in Portland this summer, and today I finally reached my limit. I foiled up one of my bedroom windows. It faces west. The house next door is exactly 10 feet away. The window opposite it is my neighbor's kitchen window. She's pretty much blind and wouldn't even notice the foil any way.

Holy cow what a difference. It hit 98 here today, but that room stayed COOL. The room next to it has a west facing window, and it was roasting.

I'd like to figure out something I can do that's easy and not quite as noticeable. Maybe those vinyl pull down shades. I hate the look of them, but during the other 350 days of the year when it's cloudy and cold I could just take it down.
#2
Old 08-19-2009, 11:13 PM
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Does it block the radio waves that the CIA is beaming into your head?

Aluminum foil? In windows?

Honestly never heard of that.
#3
Old 08-19-2009, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Does it block the radio waves that the CIA is beaming into your head?

Aluminum foil? In windows?

Honestly never heard of that.
No, silly, you have to wear the foil on your head!

I'd imagine anything would work...but...it seems like it would have be up against the glass. I.e., black, thick curtains would help, but not as much as something shiny or metallic or white to reflect back the sun. I think what heats up the room, though, is the sun heating up objects in the room. Yeah, I have white curtains, but all they do is diffuse the sun, not block it. Even if I had dark curtains, the air space between the curtains and the glass would heat up and disperse.
#4
Old 08-19-2009, 11:23 PM
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There's nothing else to block the sun with? No curtains? No vertical blinds? No mini=blinds?

I agree that it's kind of a white-trash look but it's your house, and if it helps, why not. Although personally I'd look for something else, maybe even an awning. (I hate awnings; fortunately all my sun-facing windows are shielded by deciduous trees so there's sun coming in only in winter, when it's perfectly welcome.)
#5
Old 08-19-2009, 11:25 PM
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Curtains....lined. Blinds. Shades. All better choices than making the neighbors think you are nutso. I don't think the foil is really reflecting that much heat back...it's the light blockage that is more important. Try brown paper for an experiment.

Last edited by kittenblue; 08-19-2009 at 11:28 PM.
#6
Old 08-19-2009, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
Curtains....lined. Blinds. Shades. All better choices than making the neighbors think you are nutso.
The heat makes me nutso!
#7
Old 08-20-2009, 01:52 AM
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Get some self applicable window tint. I did it. It helped a pretty fair amount, but...I made the mistake of getting some that had metal flakes, or some such nonsense, and while the room is cooler, touching the window is about 30 degrees hotter! Totally weird, but I just don't touch the window.

hh
#8
Old 08-20-2009, 02:14 AM
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I once lived in an apartment with a room that faced the bright afternoon sun, and the room would get broiling hot. So I foiled the window, and it would be at least 10 degrees cooler. Very effective, it made a big improvement. I never thought it looked bad from the outside. Don't worry about how it looks - it's helping you be energy efficient and it WORKS and that is all that matters.
#9
Old 08-20-2009, 03:28 AM
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Ugh, TELL me about it! IT's just been awful in Portland this summer. It's been in the 90's all week and my super awesome air conditioner is a godsend. Myself, I've never foiled windows, although I don't see any reason why not. I probably should, if for no other reason other than I sleep during the day and it would totally block out the light. Plus I live in SE Portland, so I don't care WHO thinks I'm nutso! I know people in Alaska foil their windows during the summer so they can actually get some sleep. My upstairs really REALLY needs more insulation in it if I'm going to be up there at all during the summer and winter months.

Last edited by EvilTOJ; 08-20-2009 at 03:29 AM. Reason: added teh crazy
#10
Old 08-20-2009, 09:16 AM
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I never foiled, but I had some quarter inch craft foam in white, I cut it to fit between the mullions [the vertical and horizontal separators between panes of glass in windows, may also be false mullions and just laid over the whole sheet of glass] and used double sided scotch tape to hold to the windows. From the outside [3d floor apartment] it just looked like i had some sort of white liner to my drapes and kept the place nicely dark [worked night shift and was essentially a vampire] and at least 20 degrees cooler than before. Between that and the cheap window air conditioner that mostly worked [picked it up out of the garbage the fall before and fixed it up] it created my own cool dark womb for sleeping through the hot summer days in Virginia Beach.
#11
Old 08-20-2009, 11:34 AM
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Never heard of foil, but I'm sure it works well. I just pull the blinds down, my windows have nice thick wood ones.
#12
Old 08-20-2009, 12:07 PM
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Our HOA specifies NO FOIL ON WINDOWS. We have two windows that are west facing and the heat build up is brutal. We bought solar blocking window shades but that was eight or nine years ago and they have lost most of their effectivity. The room I'm in now has fairly dark green drapes; the room next door has white drapes. The difference in temperature is immediately noticeable. The darker drapes do help.
#13
Old 08-20-2009, 12:46 PM
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Besides the trashy look, they can be distracting and blinding to other people when they reflect the light back out. I wouldn't want to have the neighbor's windows blinding me every time I looked in that direction. I've been in that situation where for two hours a day the house on a hill reflected intense sunlight from every window and you couldn't look in that direction. Awnings outside or insulated window coverings are much better. Working shutters are nice looking and good heat blockers.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 08-20-2009 at 12:47 PM.
#14
Old 08-20-2009, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Besides the trashy look, they can be distracting and blinding to other people when they reflect the light back out.
I didn't see if your house is close to a road or not, but having something super-shiny glaring straight into a passing motorist's eye strikes me as a bad side effect too.

Last edited by Mr Buttons; 08-20-2009 at 12:51 PM.
#15
Old 08-20-2009, 01:02 PM
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Get yourself some colored foil, make some nice abstract patterns with them, with the regular foil as a backdrop. Goodbye white trash, hello artiste.
#16
Old 08-20-2009, 01:39 PM
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In the high deserts of Central Nevada we use window protection from the sun in a variety of forms. A good one is a quilted insulated foil used to wrap old air conditioning ducts. Not to shiny because of the quilting look. Insulated, so provides more protection. Cut to window size and is easy to put up and down.

Last edited by janeslogin; 08-20-2009 at 01:39 PM.
#17
Old 08-20-2009, 02:15 PM
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light colored (to the outside) curtains or blinds will work well. insulated curtains help keep the heat in during the winter and out in summer.
#18
Old 08-20-2009, 02:33 PM
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We had a heat wave this summer which was making our baby miserable, and I ended up receiving a text from my wife at work, informing me that she had bought an air conditioner and that I would install it when I got home.

Unfortunately, we live in an apartment and she picked up a sash window unit which could not be used without violating our rental agreement. She was lucky to find anything, and I doubt that there were any portable units available, anyway.

My redneck solution was to pick up a big old roll of thermal reflect foil and some duct tape. I stuck that bad boy at the bottom of the patio door and cut and duct-taped foil into the rest of the opening. Then I covered up the nursery window (at the other end of the apartment, where the a/c did not penetrate) with the same stuff.

Ugly as sin, but it got us through the "living on Venus" period without going insane. I'll figure something less redneck out in time for next summer.
#19
Old 08-25-2009, 03:56 AM
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I use an old dark blue bedsheet folded over to fit the window frame, and nailed to the edges of the window, and have regular curtains over that. From the inside you can't even tell (other than the fact that it is always pitch black in my bedroom) and outside it just looks like I have really dark curtains. I've done foil before, but it was a pain to deal with when I wanted to get some sunlight in there for my plants.
#20
Old 08-25-2009, 05:25 AM
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Never heard of the practice, but I'm from Spain, where any house that hasn't been built from flattened cans has "persianas," built-in roll-down blinds; finding out that other countries don't use them was a big cultural shock for me (alternatively, my American coworkers had a big cultural shock seeing those in Mediterranean countries). All we need to do is roll them down. It also has the advantage of being something you can control as minutely as you want to: you can leave them up (with the curtains drawn if you have furniture that will be damaged by direct sunlight) in the winter, down in summer, down but with slits if you want a bit of light to come through... and you can roll and unroll them as many times as needed, it's a lot more controllable than any sort of films.

Last edited by Nava; 08-25-2009 at 05:25 AM.
#21
Old 08-25-2009, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Never heard of the practice, but I'm from Spain, where any house that hasn't been built from flattened cans has "persianas," built-in roll-down blinds; finding out that other countries don't use them was a big cultural shock for me (alternatively, my American coworkers had a big cultural shock seeing those in Mediterranean countries). All we need to do is roll them down. It also has the advantage of being something you can control as minutely as you want to: you can leave them up (with the curtains drawn if you have furniture that will be damaged by direct sunlight) in the winter, down in summer, down but with slits if you want a bit of light to come through... and you can roll and unroll them as many times as needed, it's a lot more controllable than any sort of films.
? I went and googled persianas, and got a page that when translated makes them the equivalent of our american venetian blind ... almost every property i have rented and at least 30$ of the people I know use venetian blinds, though ours tend to be internal vice external and made of plastic or wood ...persianas
#22
Old 08-25-2009, 10:10 AM
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Hell no.

These are the ones I was talking about, in aluminum or wood. In that same company's webpage you can find venetian blinds (which in Spain are used only by hotels from foreign chains) and the old-fashioned ones that were used before people figured out how to build them into the house (these folks call them "alicantinas," I'm used to "enrollables").

Venetian blinds are a lot less efficient, both for light and insulation. Wood persianas are best for insulation, but aluminum ones are lighter (so better for children and old folk).

Last edited by Nava; 08-25-2009 at 10:13 AM.
#23
Old 08-25-2009, 12:39 PM
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Nava they would be mini blinds in the USA and are widely used. At least if the page you posted shows the correct pictures. Every single window in our house has aluminum ones. No shadows at night showing the neighbors what your up to and they are better for sun blocking.
#24
Old 08-25-2009, 01:19 PM
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Actually, what Nava is referring to is something quite different from a mini blind.

I've mostly seen them in Southern European countries like Spain and Portugal, and occasionally here in Canada in homes built by families who moved here from those regions. They're quite common over in Southern Europe, though, as they do a great job of blocking the blinding mid-day sun (particularly handy for siesta time) and help keep older homes cooler in the absence of central air.

Imagine the bastard child of a garage door and a mini-blind, and that might give you an idea of what she's describing. I believe in North America they'd be called a roll shutter or something similar?

Last edited by Mahna Mahna; 08-25-2009 at 01:20 PM.
#25
Old 08-25-2009, 01:48 PM
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Ok think on a larger scale. Gotcha.
#26
Old 08-25-2009, 01:55 PM
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Thank you, Mahna Mahna
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