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Installing Blinds for Energy Efficiency_NZ Blinds
22 April 2014
Installing Blinds for Energy Efficiency_NZ Blinds

Why installing blinds is a perfect job for Autumn...

Energy efficiency

If Spring is the season for new starts and cleaning, then Autumn must be the time to get your house in order for the longer nights and cooler days of Winter.

And that makes it a great time to look at how you can make a few changes around the home to help you save money and stay healthy.

The perfect starting point is ensuring your home is properly insulated, and there are a number of practical steps you can take which will mean you don't waste money on heating and lose time to sickness.

Installing underfloor, roof and wall insulation is a major project, as is making sure you have double-glazing in all your windows - so a practical, stylish and inexpensive way to make a difference can be to make sure you have the right blinds fitted for each of your rooms.

Thermal rollerblinds are the obvious option in all rooms where you need to feel snug and warm such as bedrooms and living rooms. And, once you're confident you have them measured up and fitted correctly, they should go a long way to helping reduce your monthly power bill.

Energywise.govt.nz has a great guide to the science behind the savings and says good blinds can reduce heat loss by 60% through single-glazed windows and 40-50% for double-glazing so long as you a) fit specifically designed thermal blinds (sometimes described as ‘honeycomb’ or ‘cellular’ blinds) made of two or more layers joined to form cellular compartments that trap air, providing insulation, and b) have a snug fit with the window frame so that they create a good seal to trap the air in the gap between them and the window.

Cutting out the glare

The Autumn sun sits lower in the sky - especially in more southern parts of New Zealand - meaning homes and workplaces can suffer more from glare. And although a Silicon Valley startup company in California reckons it has the answer with its own brand of self-tinting glass , it looks likely that blinds will remain the solution of choice for most Kiwis.

Fitting sunscreen rollerblinds can help get rid of that frustration of forever having to change where you're sitting to watch the television or use the computer, and also has the benefit over curtains of not having to totally block out the light simply to remove the glare.

All blinds (venetian, vertical and roller) have the added bonus of being adaptable, so you can also make the most of the lower sun to help heat your home. Although they don't all allow for great energy savings from preventing heat-loss, they can mean you let the sunlight in during the day to help heat your home while closing them before the sun goes down means some of that heat is trapped to last you into the evening.

Watch your health

While the temperature is the main consideration for many Kiwis living in the central North Island and the South Island, it can be the onset of long periods of wet weather which can lead to health problems in the North Island, including the major centres of Auckland and Wellington.

Damp homes can lead to an increase in mould and mites as well as respiratory illnesses, so it's vital you do as much as you can to make sure your rooms don't attract condensation.

Condensation is often trapped between blinds and windows in poorly ventilated or insulated homes because the blind traps the cold air against the window - especially with single-glazed windows. So make sure you allow air to circulate your rooms and consider fitting easy-clean options (such as faux wood or venetian blinds) in areas where moisture is sure to build, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Giving these blinds a quick wipe-down regularly will also make sure they don't become breeding grounds for mould.

And while we're talking about cleaning...

The onset of Autumn is the perfect time to make sure your blinds are in the perfect state. While we don't necessarily condone the use of power tools (like this US redneck ), there are some simple tips to keeping your blinds healthy and looking great - not to mention helping them last longer.

There's a cool video here  which gives step-by-step instructions on how to clean your blinds. But here's the basics:

  • Dust or vacuum venetians regularly to avoid build up of dirt, grime or mould.
  • You can use water when cleaning faux wood and aluminium blinds  but timber blinds should only be wiped over with a damp cloth because the water can cause the wood to warp.
  • Don't listen to people who say you need to clean your blinds in a bathtub - it's a real pain, creates a huge mess and never really gets them clean.
  • Don't use harsh bleaches, solvents or granulated detergents.
  • Clean rollerblinds with a sponge or soft brush soaked in water of no more than 30degC using mild detergent in a ratio no more than 5gm per litre of water.
  • Rinse rollerblinds with clear water and leave the blind down until completely dry.