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Angie’s List: Window Film For Your Home

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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Jim Donovan reports…

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the hot summer sun beats through your windows, your home’s inside temperature rises, along with your cooling bill. In this week’s Angie’s List report, Jim Donovan has a look at a simple solution that might be able to help.

Most of us have one or two rooms in the house that are hotter than others. Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie’s List, says, “Those are generally rooms with larger windows and more sun exposure, especially where windows face east and west.”

But adding window film can make a big difference. Installer Kevin Koval says, “Window film is an aftermarket product applied to your existing windows. It is a polyester base that has different materials sandwiched in between a couple of layers to give different properties. We are typically looking to stop UV, heat and excessive glare.”

The material is fairly inexpensive, especially if you focus on the windows causing the biggest problem. Hicks says, “Cost for adding window film to your windows is dependant on the type of film you use and usually it varies from $6 to $14 per square foot.”

One of the most important steps is making sure the windows are thoroughly cleaned before the film is installed. According to Koval, “Anything that gets left behind while we put that film on top of it is going to be there forever, it’s going to become a fossil in between the film and the glass. So, when we come in we spend just as much time on the cleaning side as we do actually applying the film to the glass.”

Some of the additional benefits of window film are that it protects flooring and furnishings from fading and offers safety by holding glass shards together in the event that a window breaks.

Angie’s List tips for picking a window film and hiring a company:

The key to successful performance of the film depends greatly on the installation. Well-reviewed companies on Angie’s List thoroughly clean the windows before custom cutting and seamlessly applying the film. Poor installation typically leads to the film bubbling, cracking or peeling.

Look for an installer who is certified by the International Window Film Association as a solar control specialist, and always inspects the product packaging before it is installed to ensure it is the same product you ordered. Most installations can be completed in one day.

Cost of the film varies according to the type of film, but most start at about $6 to $14 per square foot. Costs are then determined by how many windows you cover and the size of the windows. There are federal tax credits available for certain products for up to 10 percent of the cost or $500.

Most quality films come with a lifetime warranty and can easily last 30 years. With different film types for different windows, a professional installer can make recommendations on what film type best suits your needs.

It is important to note that adding solar film to a window will likely void the window manufacturer’s warranty, but most film companies will pick up that warranty word-for-word.

Maintenance is minimal. Homeowners should wait 30 days for the film to adhere, and then clean their windows as they normally would with a non-abrasive cleaner.

If you have a window that has condensation or an inefficient frame, your best bet is to have a window company provide a quote and performance rating for a new, energy efficient window. Then, compare that cost and rating with the window film to see which option is best for you.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS3