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Thermal curtains

Post in 'The Green Room' started by USMC80, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry if this is in wrong section

    Anyone use these in their homes? Notice any difference in retaining heat? I have two bay windows I was thinking of using these on. Any recommended brands?

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  2. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Use a heavy curtain that we pull across our 6ft patio door, works well. You can feel the difference.
  3. lml999

    lml999 Member

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    I installed Ecosmart cellular shades and their side rails on a picture window and two side windows. These are older windows with storms installed. The shades make a big difference.

    Ecosmart is based in Vermont.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Studies have shown it is critical to create an stagnant air cavity, i.e. closed at top bottom and sides. Other wise the space between the curtain and glass acts like a chimney (in reverse) and can actually increase airflow over the glass and 'loss'. So, cellular shades, esp with side rails are great. Traditional vertical curtains open at the top and bottom not so much. If you get thermal curtains look for details at the top and bottom that block airflow.

    Since they may block radiative losses, curtains will make 'comfort' better to someone near them even if they don't save energy overall.
    Joful and semipro like this.
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    There have been some extensive discussions on window treatments including curtains either in this or the DIY forum at Hearth. I'd encourage you to search those out.
  6. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Nice timing on this thread. I'm looking into the side track blinds to accompany thermal curtains (as well as a solar room and skylights). Just started the search for brands. Would be happy to hear what others have done. So far I've pseudo looked into Symphony, EcoSmart, and ComforTrack.
  7. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We have some of the Comfortex Symphony shades and they work well. My only complaint is that the weatherstripping installed along the bottom of the shades to seal against the window stool comes off after time. http://tinyurl.com/pgxzmpa
    As far as I can tell all the brands/models mentioned here come from one manufacturer via different vendors.
  8. lml999

    lml999 Member

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    By the way, some of the insulated shades qualify for a federal tax deduction credit.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  9. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    We have used shades from this outfit: http://symphonyshades.com/comfortracks.html
    on most of our windows. We use the version with the side track, which does seem to be effective.
    They are holding up well so far.
    They have been good to deal with over a couple orders -- they do run 20% off sales now and again.

    If I take two side by side windows and raise the shade on one and lower it on the other, then take IR temperature reading on the inside of the shade vs on the inside of the glass, reading on the shade is much closer to room temperature -- so, it is definitely doing some good.
    I've felt around the bottom and side edges with my hand and do not detect any flow of air.

    On the last ones we ordered, we got the "bottom up - top down" variety. This allows you to basically open the shade part way from either the bottom or the top. So, if you want a bit of view out the top part of the window, you can open it in the top-down mode, and see out the top part of the window while still having some insulation on the bottom part of the window. We find that we use this feature a lot.

    Gary
  10. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    Yes on cell shades (no tracks in our situation) and yes on thermal curtain panels, and yes, both help maintain the HVAC conditioned air in both summer and winter.

    Right off hand I can tell you that Lowes, Walmart and Target sell thermal curtain panels at decent prices. Home Depot may have them as well, but I haven't looked for them at Home Depot.

    We actively use both the cell shades and the thermal curtain panels daily, depending on the time of day, the amount of daylight, and in temperature extremes on either end of the spectrum. IMHO, they work for us.
  11. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Tax credit. Even better
  12. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the review. This is the company I've been leaning towards. Do you use any of the motorized ones? Don't see much point for windows, but probably need it for skylights. Pretty steep jump in price.
  13. lml999

    lml999 Member

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    You are correct. I misstated it. :)

    ...and have made the edit.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  14. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    We have one motorized one on a window that is in a position that would be hard to get to with the manual cords.
    The motorized one was actually put in by a local blind company, and it was kind of pricey. The motor is a Somfy and it has worked well, but I think that if you used it every day the battery life would not be very good.
    I've thought about adding a little PV panel in the corner of the window and switching to rechargeable batteries that could be charged by the PV panel.

    There are some outfits on ebay that sell import versions of the shade motors at lower prices.

    I did do website page on the bottom-up -- top-down shades that we added a couple winters ago:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/TopDownShades/TopDonwShades.htm
    Its also got some closeup pictures of the side tracks.

    Gary
  15. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks again. I've seen solar powered shades with relatively similar price points, but they only seem to be triggers to close blinds rather than charge batteries. My house is set up such that during the day I get heat gain during winter from sunlight so I'd want the shades open. I've got an odd shaped window with a triangular peak, but the wife doesn't want that one obscured, so I'll just leave it be. By the way...I like how you put that fake mountain print on the otherside of the window....the back lighting almost makes me think it was real :). Nice views man. Very nice.
  16. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Yeah Gary, where can I get a copy of that print?? ;lol;lol
  17. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    we had a short run with Sail Shade of Westport, Mass. interesting product, fabric covered pillow, with like white light block facing outside. these were filled with 1/2" aluminized bubble wrap. then sewn into a roman shade style. quite effective, but originator was just a little odd and tough deal with. can't say if the are still being made or not. we may have made the curtains in this pic, made bunch in that fabric at any rate.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  18. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    I made working Roman shades and working balloon shades for all of the windows in our first house. (Sewed on lots and lots and LOTS of little plastic rings...)

    It's not that difficult to make Roman shades.

    Reflectix is an aluminum-clad (both sides) bubble wrap that can be purchased in various pre-cut, pre-packaged lengths off the shelf at Lowes. We've used Reflectix for a couple of projects, notably making window inserts for our pop up campers (thus converting most of the canvas into a faux "hard sided camper" but leaving enough bare canvas for the tenting to breathe.)

    The aluminum foil skin on Reflectix is a bit easy to tear; we had to be careful with it. I don't know how easy it would or wouldn't be to work with that product in the middle of two layers of fabric with a typical residential sewing machine. I also don't know how easily retail available Reflectix would fold in a Roman shade. We tried *not* to fold our Reflectix panels- we stored them under the matresses when not in use.

    All this being said- the typical fabric store sells quilted fabrics- cotton or cotton blend on one side, polyfill batting on the other. Two layers of that fabric would provide some insulation barrier, similar to a window quilt. It wouldn't be airtight, obviously, drafts could penetrate. It might help to insulate windows, however.

    I think that there are companies out there that still make old school window quilts. If we were in the right situation- say a cabin in a very cold climate- I'd make up window quilts or have them made in a heart beat. For our situation the cell shades work well. If it's really cold (or hot) we can leave them closed during the day and still get light in the room.

    Most companies who make cell shades also make cell shades that block light as well.
  19. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    reflectix is the product used in the shades in photo above. we used the sewing to create the panels, then hot melted the seams, fed the fabric pillow , and reactivated the the hot melt with an iron. for full scale production a commercial steam press was thought to be the answer. top of pillow was hot melt closed then attached to wood header with pulleys and cord. we were charging like $ 3.00 to $4.00 per standard window with more for sliders and bays. simple product, just couldn't get around the eccentric artist we had to deal with. our reflectix came directly from the manufacturer, I don't think it was any special run. there were also no particular problems working with it or feeding the shades.
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I'm still struggling with with how to insulate our 8' sliding glass door.
    I've seen covered foam panels that can be popped into place and removed but would like something a bit more accessible to let the dogs in and out.
    We've tried shades and curtains with some benefit but you could still feel the cold air exiting at the bottom gap. After installing the side sealing cellular shades in windows I'm convinced that air sealing around top/bottom and the sides it the way to go if we can manage that.
    We could actually buy cellular shades to fit that large an area but they're something like $400 each; more than we're willing to pay right now.
    I'm hoping to find something to construct that will seal and insulate.
  21. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    Semipro, thinking about this situation:

    The house to which we hope to retire is in a place that gets some remarkable wind and weather in the winter. There is a sliding glass door on the back of that house, thankfully facing the one (1) wind break that we have on one (1) side of the house- not facing the back directly, on which we get prevailing winds.

    When we first looked at the house, I eyed that sliding glass door with trepidation. I guess I automatically assumed that all sliding glass doors are leaky and transfer heat and cold.

    Much to my surprise and delight, I cannot detect any air flow, nor even a lot of conduction of heat or cold, from that sliding glass door. Of course there is some conduction- if you touch the glass it is warm or cool, depending on the time of day, sun exposure, time of year- but it's not as dramatic as I thought it would be.

    It's a new construction house built by a man who has lived in this geographic area for his entire life, as did generations before him. One of the things that convinced us to buy this house is that while it has many nice features (we like the floor plan, the finishing work on the trim, etc. is superb because it is so well done, this guy takes pride in his work) the bulk of the expense of the house was in meat and potatoes construction and materials rather than amenities, lipstick and mascara. We don't have miles of stone counter top but we do have good windows and doors. We don't have a jetted tub but we have sturdy, weather resistant finishes and materials. Etc.

    So it shouldn't be a surprise that the sliding glass door isn't the leaky sieve of a sliding glass door like we had when I was growing up, but it did surprise me.

    I noticed on your profile that you are in the process of renovating a "fixer upper." (BTDT x 2, still doing it, as a matter of fact, with the house in which we currently live in town, gotta love older houses- and we do!) Have you gotten to replacing that door yet? If so, is it sealed around the edges where the door fits into the side of the house?

    In our first fixer upper, we had an ant issue that was not to be believed. We sprayed. We sprayed. We went under the house looking for rot. Couldn't find any. It took a couple of *years,* I kid you not, and some other problems, to figure out what was happening. When the house was constructed, proper flashing wasn't placed in between the band board and the back stoop, nor was flashing put between the band board and the deck on the back. Moisture ran into that space, rotted the band board (I think I have my terms right) and ants set up multi-generational condos. We ended up ripping the brick back stoop and the deck off of that house in the process of tracking down our ant problem. Once we got the rotted band board off of the house and replaced with new board, voila! No more ants- ever. I don't think we ever had another ant in that house.

    Years later, when looking at real estate during another transaction, our realtor and I visited a beautiful home that was well-situated and nicely done, but I noticed immediately that the lot was heavily wooded and that the entire back of the property just seemed, damp. The deck was growing mold. The yard was growing moss. The brick foundation was growing moss. And a repair guy was there, removing the sliding glass doors (there were multiples) from the large open living/dining area to the deck. The view from the back of the house through those sliders was gorgeous but my older, more mature real estate eye just saw moisture. It was obvious that the repair guy was going to have to repair the floor in front of the sliding glass doors as well. It was at least wet- there was staining- and I'd bet there were other issues as well.

    That house was built at about the same time as the house in which we had the band rot where ever another structure touched the back of the house.

    Whoops. I would have bet a tidy sum of money that there was no flashing in between that deck and the band board of that house.

    That's a little off topic but your leaky sliding door reminds me of that. Have you checked the seals around the door? Is there a chance that the leaky air could also be a problem with leaky water?

    If the door itself is leaking air, maybe the most expedient thing to do is to replace it, and to make sure that the framing around it is dry, sound and appropriately sealed.

    If the door is OK, perhaps a trip outside with a caulk gun could help the most.

    Otherwise, if everything is dry, in good shape, and as sealed as it's going to get, DUDE, CURTAINS TO THE FLOOR. LET THEM PUDDLE IF NECESSARY. Look on the Pottery Barn web site. Puddling is an acceptable home fashion statement! Washable is the corollary to puddling, especially with dogs, see avatar. :) :) <:3~

    Medieval people were not fools. The whole concept of heavy, puddling draperies and wall tapestries hails back to medieval times and drafty castles. I'm serious- go look it up. :)
  22. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Given that its going to go down to -15F tonight, we are thinking of switching over to the Pago Pago print :)

    Gary
    becasunshine likes this.
  23. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    We insulate the fixed panel on our sliding glass door with a 1 inch thick Atlas Rboard panel -- this adds about R6. The Rboard is polyiso insulation with facing made from a thin fiber board that takes paint well.

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/Slider/SlidingDoor.htm

    I used weather stripping along one edge to seal against the window frame. The top, bottom and other side just fit against the vinyl frame of the sliding door. It seems like a pretty good air seal.

    I had planned to remove the panel in the summer, but we have ended up just leaving it up all year. You still get plenty of light through the slider half of the door.

    So, its a good solution for the fixed half of the door, but does not do anything for the sliding part of the door.

    Gary
  24. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I had no idea about the puddling of medieval draperies. The things you learn here.... I don't think my wife or I could handle draperies dragging on the ground. I can't even stand my pants touching the ground.
    Thanks for all the thoughts. I certainly appreciate the challenges of a fixer upper. It keeps me busy --- and disgusted to some degree.
    Our sliding door actually seals pretty well but with 50 square ft. of it at R2 I would really like to find a way to reduce the heat loss.
    Thanks for you response.
  25. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Gary, I saw you setup before posting. I recognized what you stated that it worked well for the stationary side but would be problematic on the moving side. We probably open our door 20 times a day to let dogs (one very old) in and out.
    I was thinking of taking your idea and perhaps connecting the panels together like a bi-fold door with it either mounted to the side or at the middle of the slider. Trouble is I'm looking at panels about 2 ft. wide if I do four sections and that would take up some much needed room during storage.
    Thanks for your reply.

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