Summer Tips for a Cooler Home: Use Insulated Shades for Your Windows

By SelectBlinds.com

During the heat of summer, that A/C feels heavenly, doesn’t it? But those summertime electric bills! Hoo boy!

How about some energy efficiency? Sure, you can turn on the fans, use a dehumidifier, hang out in the basement more frequently, and even “dress down” a bit for the weather, but did you ever think about the heat coming in from your windows?

Consider those lovely sunny rays shining into your room. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.” Less incoming light = less heat from your windows.

So how DO you keep your house cool in the summertime?

Cellular shades keep rooms cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.
Cellular shades keep rooms cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.

How Do Cellular Shades Work?

Welcome to the world of cellular (“honeycomb”) shades. Cellular shades (often known as “cellulars,” for short) can block up to 99% of incoming light. Remember, less incoming light means less incoming heat through your windows.

The unique honeycomb design of these stylish window treatments also offers effective insulation against the incoming heat by trapping hot air in the pockets within the shade’s pleats, providing a layer (or two layers with the double-cell construction option) of protection between heat outdoors and your interior. This can significantly keep your rooms cooler and reduce your energy bills.

Guess what else cellular window treatments insulate against? Outdoor noise. Think of quieter rooms, insulated from the outdoor heat throughout your house, while relying less upon you’re A/C unit.

Cellular shades trap heat in their interior pockets for excellent insulation capabilities.
Cellular shades trap heat in their interior pockets for excellent insulation capabilities.

Should You Go with Single- or Double-cell Construction?

You’ll find that cellulars are available in single- and double-cell construction. Which is better?

Double-cell cellular do at least double up on the insulating and room darkening capability of your shades; the cost of upgrading to double-cell shades is well worth it. Take, for example, double-cell blackout shades. They offer the peak of insulation performance.

But don’t discount single-cell shades too quickly. Even less expensive single-cell shades can make a significant difference in your energy bill.  

Cellular shades are stylish and insulate from heat and noise.
Cellular shades are stylish and insulate from heat and noise.

Cellular Pleat Size

Another consideration for cellular shades is the pleat size options. Note that smaller pleats will look more natural in vertically shorter windows, while wider pleats will complement taller windows. Your sense of style, your choice!

Select Blinds’ Staff Recommends:

Check out some of our most popular styles of cellular shades below:

Select Blinds Classic Cordless Blackout Shades
Select Blinds 2" Premier Blackout Cellulars
Select Blinds Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades

And remember to stay cool this summer!

4 Easy Homemade Frozen Treats You MUST Try

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

One of my absolute favorite froze treats has got to be an ice cream cookie sandwich. Every summer when I was a kid, we’d visit my nana at her lake house in upstate New York. There was this massive multi-restaurant building, called the Charcoal Corral, that also had a mini-golf course, stage and drive-in theater. The ice cream parlor had these massive ice cream cookie sandwiches as big as my head! I stand by those being the best, but these delish Ben & Jerry’s ones are a fantastic second place – especially when you consider the slightly more normal portion size.

Homemade Sorbet

Four flavors of homemade sorbet on a black plate.

While I’m not here to discuss the differences between sorbet and sherbet (yes, there’s only ONE “r”), I can kickstart you on a magical journey of fruity deliciousness! Dump some frozen fruit, simple syrup and a bit of lemon or lime juice into a blender and you’ve got a fresh, magnificent summer treat anyone can enjoy. Follow this handy guide from The Flavor Bender to make it scoopable after a long-term freeze or, better yet, pour any extras into Zipsicles and make your very own freeze pops everyone will love!

Custom Popsicles

Homemade cherry and coconut popsicles.

Pretty much everyone knows how to make popsicles. Pour juice into a popsicle mold or ice cube tray, add the sticks (and some sort of wrapping if you’ve gone the ice cube tray route) and voila, custom popsicles in just a few hours. Take it a step further with one of these scrumptious adult popsicle recipes.

Slushies Galore

Red slushy in a clear plastic cup.

Everyone loves a good slushie, just as everyone loves a glass of refreshing Kool-Aid, or at least they probably did as kiddos. So, why not combine the two? Just combine ice, sugar and your favorite flavor packet in a blender and you’ll soon have a Kool-Aid slushie that’s perfect for kids from age 2 to 82.

What’s your favorite frozen summer treat? Did it make our list?

9 Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

Summer is officially on its way! Are you prepared for the heat? If you’re not (or even if you are) below are some great tips for keeping yourself and your home cool this summer!

Cover Your Windows

Essential Light Filtering Cordless Cellulars trap heat to keep your home cool.
Essential Light Filtering Cordless Cellulars in Mountain Air

An obvious way to keep cool in the summer is to block all that dratted sunshine and heat from coming in your windows. But, to get the best heat reduction, you can’t just cover your windows with any old thing. For optimal energy efficiency, cellular shades are easily your best bet. Their honeycomb shape traps heat to prevent it from invading your space and turning your home into a sauna. And if you’re worried about losing all that lovely light, you can always go with light-filtering cellulars instead of room-darkening or blackout.

Swap Out Your Bedding

Clean, white bedding on a wooden bed.

Strip off those winter flannels and switch to nice, breathable cotton or bamboo for the summer months. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even put your bedding in the freezer (in plastic bags, of course) for a bit before making your bed at night. Just imagine hopping into those perfectly chilled sheets after a hot day in the summer sun.

Take Advantage of Evaporative Cooling

Colorful water balloons in a blue tub.

This might not be as big of a deal in other parts of the country, but out here in Arizona, we take evaporative cooling very seriously. Between outdoor misting systems, swamp coolers, refrigerated spray bottles (or water balloons) and cheeky bowls of ice water sitting in front of fans, there are so many ways to stay cool!

Stay Hydrated

Sliced watermelon on a plate.

We all know how important staying hydrated is, especially during the summer. But, sometimes it can be hard to chug the recommended 64 to 80 oz water per day (more during the summer months). A fun, cheeky way to sneak a bit more hydration into your diet is to eat more water-rich foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. As an added benefit, the University of Alabama found that an increase in vitamin C will also help your body tolerate the summer heat by delaying sweat gland fatigue.

Switch to Snacking

Almonds, olives and radishes on a wooden serving tray.

Forego big meals in favor of small snacks throughout the day. Digesting a huge meal takes energy, and energy means heat. Keep your body from overheating and working too hard with quick snacks all day long rather than two or three jumbo meals.

Capitalize on Shaded Areas

Woman sitting outside under an umbrella.

If you’re planning on spending any time outside this summer, you’d better have a map in your mind of all the best shady spots to hide out form the afternoon sun. Take full advantage of any umbrellas, overhangs and trees around your home (or wherever you’re hanging out this summer) to maximize your time outside without risking overheating.

Buy a Remote Car Starter

Empty silver sedan alone in a parking lot.

Remote car starters, like these ones from Avital, are NOT gadgets of the future – they are the here and now, so get one while you can truly appreciate their awesomeness. Sure, car starters are great for winter, but who says they can only be used to warm up your cars? Set your AC to max and turn on your car a few minutes before leaving the house or work and your car will be nice and cool when you hop in.

Utilize Your Downstairs Living Space

Four people hanging out in a living room with a shag rug.

It’s common knowledge that heat rises, so make sure your summer hangout spot is on the ground floor. And if you have a finished basement, deck it out with all sorts of fun games or cozy hangout areas to create your very own summer escape.

Don’t be Scared to Use Your AC

Modern thermostat set to 63 degrees.

Electric bills in the summer can be downright terrifying, but if you aren’t too scared, we definitely recommend running your AC. Keep in mind that ideal sleeping temperatures generally range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you’re used to 115-degree weather, we doubt you’ll be comfortable at 65, so just stick with what feels comfortable for you and your family. And if you don’t have AC, take advantage of public areas like malls, libraries, movie theaters and even restaurants to keep yourselves cool.