by Texas Homesteader
* contains affiliate links
Living in the hot/humid environment of Northeast Texas, we built our home with passive solar design in mind. The steps we made during construction have made a pretty drastic impact on our typical energy usage. But not everyone is in the construction phase of their home.
No worries, there are easy and inexpensive ways to keep the heat of summer outside where it belongs. And doing so will let you cash in on lower utility bills.
One such way is with solar screens. These screens are made of a special material that shades your windows from almost all of the sun’s heat yet still allows you to see outside.
(now here’s the part you’re really gonna love)
We made solar screens ourselves in an afternoon and saved a ton!
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
Solar screens really do make a drastic difference in the heat coming through your windows. RancherMan & I were very pleasantly surprised.
And by having solar screens on our windows, we reduced sun-fade on interior fabrics. Solar screens also offer a higher level of privacy than standard screens. Plus I love the way they look on our home.
But even with all these benefits, having these specialty screens installed can sometimes be kinda pricey. And ‘kinda pricey’ always has us looking for options.
We found how simple it was to obtain the materials needed and also how super simple it was to make those screens ourselves. RancherMan & I made them on the garage floor with very little time expended.
Simple Supplies Needed
Here’s how you can make your own solar screens too: First carefully measure the windows that you want to make screens for.
There’s a short list of supplies you’ll need to make your solar screens. You’ll need the metal hardware to make the screen’s frame, some frame corners to connect the pieces into your window-sized rectangular frame, and spline to hold the screen to the frame.
Depending on the size of the screen you might want cross braces as well to hold everything rigid. That’s helpful for larger screens.
You’ll also need the actual solar screen material, and it comes in several different colors.
I searched and found different widths and colors of * solar screen at Amazon. So even if you don’t have a big-box home improvement store handy you can have solar screening shipped directly to your home!
We only needed three simple hand tools to assemble our screens. A hacksaw to cut the metal frame to size, a spline tool to roll the spline onto the frame to hold the screen in place, and a razor blade to carefully trim the excess screen material after it was attached.
Bada-boom, bada-bing – SCREENS!
Solar Screen Not Needed On All Windows
We were able to save even more money by determining which windows actually needed a specialty screen. There was no need to outfit the whole house with specialty screens since not all windows had problems with the sun’s intensity.
So instead of making solar screens for every window on our home, we decided to make them just the problem ones that face the east. Our south-facing windows aren’t a problem in the summer months, our northern windows are protected by a covered porch and we (by design) have no western-facing windows.
Screen Installation Timing
Each year at the first hint of Texas summer heat, we bring the solar screens from the attic where they’ve been stored. It takes only minutes to slide the screens onto those few eastern-facing windows.
There they work hard all summer long cutting down on the intense summertime heat that would typically pour through the glass of those windows!
Then in the fall when the daily temperatures start to fall we remove the screens and place them back up in the attic. We do that for two reasons.
First we want to get that lower-level winter sunshine through those windows to help give the house a little solar warmth in the wintertime. And secondly since the sun sinks lower in the winter months this offers a little more light in the more bleak winter months.
Building, installing and removing these solar screens for storage has all been super easy and served us well for years. And they’ve offered many benefits as well – reducing heat transfer in the summer, reducing interior fabric fade and adding a nice look to our home.
Our current solar screens have been in use for nearly 10 years and they have several more years life left in them.
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