Ask the Contractor: Window film helps reduce energy loss - and costs
By SANDY GRIFFIS
Originally Published: November 10, 2011 9:44 p.m.
Q: My wife and I are thinking of installing window tinting. Is this something we should do? - Matt, PrescottA: Window film, as it is currently called, can certainly help reduce energy loss, lower cooling costs and help reduce fading of interior furnishings by rejecting up to 99 percent of UV light. Window film can convert inefficient windows into efficient windows. There are films on the market that contain low-e coatings. For example, if you currently have single-pane windows, by installing window film with low-e coating, you will now have the capacity of dual-pane windows. If you now have dual-pane windows, you can triple the low-e by installing window film.Window film blocks the infrared heat from transferring through the window glass. That means that in the summer, heat does not pass through the windows, and in the winter, heat from inside your home does not escape to the outside. Mark Williams, owner of Protint, agreed that applying window film is a relatively inexpensive way to increase energy efficiency, adding that there are many products on the market that can be applied according to the window conditions of a home.Window film is a very cost-effective way of saving energy, and the costs of the product versus your energy savings can be recouped in a relatively short period of time. Window films are easy to care for and clean using products without ammonia and, of course, not using rough scrubbing pads. One product growing in the marketplace is safety and security film. These films can withstand a brick bouncing off the window. It holds the glass in place and acts as a barrier. There are reflective films that prevent the outside world from seeing in to your home, and there are films that have designs on them for sliding glass doors. Window films have improved drastically over the years from the films that always seemed to bubble and peel and crack.At this time, there are still energy credits available for purchases.Q: We are going to paint our bathroom. There is oil-based paint currently on the walls, and we want to use a good quality acrylic latex paint. My husband says we can just paint over the walls. I say we need to do some prep work, but I do not know what exactly. - Madge, Prescott ValleyA: Oil-based paint was at one time the most commonly used paint for bathrooms, but it's hardly used anymore because of the greening of paint products. You must sand the walls first, and they should be primed with a good quality primer.Q: I would like to install cork flooring. What are the pros and cons? - Marilyn, PrescottA: Cork flooring does have similar properties to hardwood flooring and is a good alternative to all of the traditional flooring options. In talking with Carpet One, I learned this interesting fact: Cork for flooring is actually tree bark that is shed naturally approximately every eight to 12 years. Cork flooring is considered to be a "green" product because it is hypoallergenic and is resistant to mold and mildew. Cork flooring is durable, and some cork materials have a paraffin additive that makes the cork more resistant to water spills.You must be cautious when you place furniture of significant weight as cork can become indented. Retailers suggest that you use furniture coasters under heavy pieces. As with hardwood, cork does require some special care for cleaning and mopping - you cannot or should not mop with lots of water. A light wiping will suffice.Q: We are having an allergy problem inside our home. Should we buy an air cleaner? - Ed and Kathy, Prescott ValleyA: Air cleaners, now known as air purifiers, can remove a variety of particles from your home such as odors, tobacco smoke, pollen, dust, some gases and viruses. Indoor air pollution is one of the highest environmental health risks, and indoor air purifiers are just one way of removing indoor air pollution. If you are unable to vent your home due to weather conditions, outside dust or noise issues, then a portable air purifier may be just right.A portable air purifier is not meant to filter the air in an entire home. There are air purification systems and devices that can be attached to your HVAC unit.It is important to change your air filters monthly. The inexpensive air filters are perfectly acceptable. The pleated or extended surface filters, HEPA filters and electrostatic filters are not necessary as long as you change the filters monthly. Air-cleaning devices do remove some airborne allergens, but keep in mind they do not decrease any adverse health issues in sensitive cases. With an HVAC system air-purification device, you need to consider the cost, noise issues, installation requirements, and the abilities to remove air pollutants.