You wake up, roll out of bed, head to the kitchen, and pour your first cup of coffee. Morning light is streaming through the windows, warming your tile floors. Or is it?
The direction your home faces determines how much light comes through your windows, and all the coffee in the world can’t change that! South-facing homes get sunlight for most of the day, and are usually brighter and warmer, while north-facing homes get most of their sun at the back of the house, resulting in a darker and cooler interior.
In the Wilmington area, where the summer months are brutal and the A/C bill is high, a cool, dark home can be a blessing – until the colder months arrive. While winters in coastal North Carolina tend to be fairly mild, we do get the occasional ice storm (or two), and nights can be downright frigid. Suddenly, those lovely north-facing windows seem less like a blessing, and more like a chilly curse. Luckily there are treatments for north-facing windows that will keep you warm and toasty this winter:
1. Thermal Blinds and Shades
These handy blinds and shades are backed with insulating foam, making them resistant to the cold air that seeps in through north-facing windows. They come in all styles and colors, including everything from Roman shades to bamboo blinds, so it’s easy to find a set that suits your décor. In some cases, you can even add thermal lining to existing shades, which can be a cost-effective solution for drafty homes.
2. Energy-Efficient Shutters
Plantation shutters and others made from synthetic materials are a great choice for northern windows. They are up to three times more effective than their wooden counterparts at keeping cold out and heat in, and they’re more resistant to warping, fading, and cracking. While “synthetic” might sound unnatural, there are plenty of “green” options made from recyclable materials for the eco-conscious.
3. Cellular Shades
The U.S. Department of Energy considers window shades the most efficient way to lower heating and cooling costs in a home, which is great news for north-facing windows. To get the most out of your shades, have them installed by an expert http://stricklandswindowcoverings.com/services/window-measuring-and-installation/ who can mount them close to the glass, creating a tight seal that will minimize heat loss. Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, add even more insulation thanks to their quilt-like construction.
4. Heavy Drapes
Save your light and airy curtains for your south-facing windows, and use heavier drapes where they’re most needed. North-facing windows are the perfect place to hang fabrics like jacquard or cotton duck featuring quilted backings and tight weaves. Bedrooms and living rooms, where comfort is essential, can also benefit from thicker fabrics such as velvet, which will put a stop to drafty windows.
5. Add Layers
Sometimes the answer to north-facing windows is flexibility. This can easily be achieved by adding a layer to your windows in the colder months. When winter weather arrives, add a set of drapes to windows already fitted with blinds or shades. Much like wrapping a scarf around your neck or throwing a cardigan over your shoulders, this extra layer will add warmth to cold rooms. Best of all, they’re a cinch to remove when warmer temperatures return.
When shopping for winter scarves and sweaters, remember that it’s also time to dress your north-facing windows. Visit the Strickland’s showroom for great ideas on how to keep the cold where it belongs – outside!
Fred Kumpel is the owner of Strickland’s Window Coverings and Carolina Closet Company. Fred has over 30 years of experience in the industry. Strickland’s Window Coverings is a window treatment design center specializing in custom blinds, shades, shutters and fabric treatments for over 70 years. Carolina Closet Company provides professionally designed and custom built organization solutions. Its complete line of home organization solutions includes unique solutions to organize closets, pantries, garages, basements, laundry rooms as well as Murphy Beds. To learn more about our company, visit www.stricklandswindowcoverings.com and www.closetsbythesea.com. Fred can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910.762.0944.