Keeping the Heat Out

Well, it was a sizzling 31 Celsius outside yesterday but our house stayed at a comfortable 23 degrees all day without the help of an air conditioner thanks to an evening spent summer-proofing our house. Our summer-proofing routine involves putting up a Coolaroo shade sail over our South-facing patio doors and putting heat control film on all our South, West and East facing windows.

A Coolaroo shade sail is a low-cost, off the rack, UV-blocking awning from Australia. We bought ours three years ago and had to have it mailed to friends in the U.S. who then redirected it to us because no one in Canada sold them and we couldn’t even find anyone selling them in the U.S. who shipped to Canada. Hopefully that’s changed because the triangular shade-sail has served us well and shows no signs of sun damage. Installing the hardware took a little bit of time the first year but now it takes a maximum of 10 minutes to put it up each spring.

We bought the window tinting film from Lee Valley Tools, right here in Ottawa five years ago. Unfortunately Lee Valley no longer carries it. I’m still looking for a Canadian source because we have a couple more windows that need covering. The film is available on-line from Gaiam in the U.S., who will ship to Canada, but clearing customs always takes time.

To install the film you simply cut out the shape of your window pane and then using window cleaner you stick it to the glass with a squeegee. When fall arrives you simply peel it off the window and wrap it up for the winter. Like I said we’ve been using and re-using our pieces of film for 5 years and they show no signs of giving out anytime soon.

The film blocks out 60% of the heat from the sun, which translates into a cooler house for us. If you have an air conditioner it will translate into energy and dollar savings. The larger rolls retail for about $70 Cdn and will do several windows.

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