Choosing between solar screens and window film can be confusing. Solar screens and window film both filter light and heat to save money on high summertime electricity bills, provide daytime privacy and filter out harmful UV rays. Both products are recommended by the City of Austin for single paned windows. The main differences are double paned windows and film reflectivity.
Double paned window, solar screens versus window films
- Solar screens are recommended for double pane windows while window films can cause double pane windows to break or void the manufacturer's warranty.
From the Florida Solar Energy Center: "...many double pane window manufacturers void their warranties if the homeowner puts a window film on their product. One reason for this is that when the film gets hot, it makes the pane it is affixed to get hot as well. The glass expands, and expands more than the outer glass without the film. This difference in expansion can create stresses in the window which in worst cases can cause the window to break, through no fault of the window."
Window film reflectivity
- Solar screens diffuse reflected light while highly reflective or metallic window films can act as a mirror and 'beam' damaging heat rays outward. To combat the double pane window breakage, new solar window films are on the market that reflect rather than absorb solar heat. Unfortunately, we still see many manufacturers voiding their warranties. Furthermore, the new reflective films have caused a host of other issues such as reflected heat beamed onto a neighbors home or car causing damages. Finally, overly shiny and odd colorations of windows are frowned upon by most neighborhood associations.
Currently we're sticking with solar screens for the local Austin area. Once the double pane window manufacturers stop voiding their warranties and the issues with reflectivity and/or odd colorations are sorted out we will analyze the solar film market and consider offering it in addition to solar screens. In the meantime, enjoy savings for now with 30% off our custom solar screens and for years to come.