Insulated drapery is multi-functional. They help insulate the windows in your home from heat loss in the winter and they keep heat out in the summer. They are an easy way to reduce heating and cooling costs by making your home more energy efficient. The windows in your home are the number one source of heat loss.
Insulated drapes should by no means be used in place of double glazed windows. They can be used to enhance the energy saving qualities of double glazed glass. They can also serve as blackout drapes because they block out light completely.
They are great for bedrooms if you need to sleep during the day or any room that you want to be able to darken. Any bothersome outdoor lights can be blocked. They also reduce noise from outside. This makes them ideal for windows facing heavy traffic or in apartment units.
How They Work
Insulated drapes have a special layer that blocks the transfer of heat. This is usually a silver lining in between the face cloth and the backing material. There are several factors that affect the ability of insulated drapes to block heat. The thickness of the drapes has a direct effect on this. The thicker the drape the better it is able to block heat transfer.
The size of the gap between the curtain and the window also is a factor. Undesirable air drafts can be created by too large a gap. These drafts will cause increased heat loss. This is especially true when the air in the gap is much colder than the air in the room.
Choosing Insulated Drapery
High quality insulated drapes are well worth the extra cost because they will last much longer than standard curtains or inferior insulated drapes. Only purchase drapes with a cotton-based face cloth. A cotton/polyester blend is also ok. Stay away from any synthetics-only fabric; this material will deteriorate much faster than cotton and cotton blends.
Cotton-based or cotton/suede are the best choices for the backing of the drapes. They will outlast any other types of backing material. Stay away from latex or rubber backing because they tend to peel, crack or even stick to the windows.
In the past the term insulated drapery used to bring to mind an image of a heavy, stiff and unattractive window treatment. With today’s modern material that is no longer the case. Insulated drapes are available in many attractive styles and designs.
Although still somewhat heavier than standard drapes they can be made from flexible, flowing materials today. Many are machine washable. This allows for beauty, function and ease of maintenance. Thermal drapes are easily found on-line as well as in retail stores.
Protecting Your Drapery
Sunlight is probably the most harmful element that can prematurely age your insulated drapery or any drapes for that matter. Extremely hot sun such as afternoon sun will cause rapid deterioration of the material. A cotton or cotton blend drape will definitely withstand extreme heat much better than a synthetic.
Look for breathable materials. They will resist rotting that can be caused by the different temperatures on each side of the drapes. This temperature difference causes moisture build-up and condensation to occur. This will cause mold and mildew to grow.
The more extreme the difference in temperature is between the window and the drapery, the more condensation there will be. The more condensation the more risk of rotting the wood of the window frame and destruction of the wall. Water-resistant wood and waterproof paint is always a good idea for windows covered with insulated drapery.
Insulated drapes don’t require any special curtain rods. They can be hung on just about any standard rods. They do however require stronger hardware for mounting the rods because of their extra weight. Drywall anchors should be used when mounting them into hollow drywall. Just be sure that your curtain rod is good and secure so that it can handle the weight of the heaver insulated drapery and you will be okay.
Photo by shaire productions, Creative Commons Attribution