The following is a clever and cheap idea from Deputy Headmistress on how to beat the heat this summer. (Read her bio below)
Sunny windows are wonderful in the winter when they let in light and change it into warmth. In the summer, they can raise the temperature in a room considerably, making you swelter.
If you run the air conditioner, a window with enough direct sunlight can make that air conditioner less efficient costing you more money. If you don’t run it, you are less efficient, at least if you are like me. Being hot makes me limp as an overcooked noodle, and about as attractive only with sound effects, as I add whimpering to my damp drooping.
We have just such a sunny window inside the back door to our kitchen. The morning sun streams through the door and through another window also on the east side of the house. This means that by the time we get up, our kitchen is already ten – twenty degrees warmer than the rest of the house and it can take all day to cool down.
This window is also on the east side of the house and lets the morning sun stream in, and here in the midwest, the morning sun is rather muggily hot.
The door is metal and has no curtain rod, so here’s what I did:
Spray painted four clothespins red to match my kitchen.
Lost one of them (no picture- it’s lost. Seriously. I don’t joke about this stuff. I don’t have to).
Superglued a magnet to on end of each of the other clothespins. You can get them at a craft store or try using the magnetic advertisements businesses send sometimes.
These are my makeshift curtain rod/curtain/sunblock hangers.
Now for the makeshift sunblocker:
You can go all crafty on this- take a large piece of cardboard cut to measure. Put tinfoil evenly all over one side (to reflect the sun). Decorate the other side, the side that will fact the kitchen, to match your decor. You could glue fabric, paint it, spread it with a textured paint, make a collage, or paint it and apply fabric appliques using this unique, frugal, and really simple method.
Make a lovely, double insulated curtain from fabric you have on hand or an old sheet.
Or you can just be a philistine like me and do what is both fast, and super efficient:
It’s not very pretty, and if I were a different sort of person I’d put pretty fabric on the side facing the kitchen. But while I deeply admire those with more drive and a more artistic eye than I have, I am a ‘if I don’t do something now I will never get anything done’ kind of person.
This is one of those sun-blockers made to fit just inside the windshield of a car, so you know it is highly efficient at blocking those heat creating Uv rays and reflecting them back. I bought several at the end of summer a couple of years ago in a mark down sale- I paid 2.00 for them. I have one with a Finding Nemo theme in the master-bedroom.
We can take down the one in the kitchen by noon so the kitchen doesn’t resemble a cave too much. I hang it up again before I go to bed so it’s there to fight back the morning sun.
Using these in all the windows that let in direct sunlight makes it possible for us to go longer without using air conditioning, and when we do use the air conditioner, it doesn’t have to work so hard.
The whole project took perhaps a total of five minutes of my time, particularly since I already had the magnets, clothespins, paint, glue, and sunshade on hand.
Here are some other ideas on how to keep cool without turning on the air conditioner. I favor sitting outside in a pool with a tall glass of lemonade, but since I am 49 and we just got an above ground pool this month, I’ve had to come up with other ideas over the years.
Met my husband in Sunday School when I was 17, married him in 1982 when I was 20. He joined the Air Force and we spent a nomadic life until he retired 20 years later.
We have seven Progeny, two of them adopted, and two handsome sons-in-law, three adorable grandchildren and a fourth on the way. One of our daughters has multiple special needs and doesn’t speak. One of our grandsons has a rare genetic condition that affects only 1 in 100,000 babies. 70-80 percent of babies with his condition do not survive early childhood.
I’ve been blogging at The Common Room since 2005. I like to blog about babies, politics, frugality, cookery, books (I own eight thousand of them), homeschooling and more.
Barefeet In The Kitchen says
OK, this might be one of the most ingenious and brilliant heat repelling window coverings I have ever seen. I am SO copying this. And no, I won’t be messing with pretty fabric at all. It would never happen if I waited to make it pretty.
Cheap Sally says
Nice tip! Definitely a great way to control that electric bill. Thanks for sharing!
Barefoot, glad you like this!.
we do this on other windows and I don’t even paint the clothespins. I just did to dress myself up a bit for Happy Housewife and all. Didn’t want her to know what a hick she had guest-posting. Shhh. In some rooms, we don’t have magnets, we just clothespin the sun blocker to the curtains. And in one room I’ve even (whisper), just used tape.
This is a great idea, I wish I could use magnets on some of the heat-creating windows in our house! However, until they come up with something that will just stick to the regular ‘ol wall, I’ll have to deal. Wait – I think those might be called curtain rods. Meaning I just have to get off my butt and do it. dang.
Now see there– that is exactly what I like to see and do around my place. Practical– and a time saver. Who has time for pretty when all you really need is functional.
That’s why it’s up there with magnets, right?
So you can take it down when company comes …unexpected! Ha!
Kyle Suzanne says
I love it! I too am like you I have waves of creative behavior but for the most part I just have to get it done (frugally & quickly) or it wont ever happen. I’m very glad your kitchen is cooler. Blessings to you and yours! Kyle Suzanne
I too use one of the auto sun blockers to cover a skylight which is over my kitchen island. It stays in place because I put an extension curtain rod between each end of the curtain and set the rods in the opening of the skylight. Worked wonders and I could see a difference in my electric bill!
Love it! We have a glass door in our dining room that is great for adding light. BUT, at dinner time the light can be blinding and we all end up wearing sunglasses to dinner! We have thrown a blanket over the glass during dinner but I like this way MUCH better 🙂 Thanks for the tip!!!
Much better than the dark sheets I attached to the tops of my window frames with staples! Yours is much more easily removed when company comes or you actually want the sunshine 😛
Tara Monrose says
I found sunscreens just like the one you pictured at Dollar Tree the other day, we needed them to make water koozies for VBS, I purchased way too many and was wondering what I should use the leftovers I bought for since I only have 2 vehicles.
You could also use aluminum foil over the entire window, securing it in place with a little sticky tape in the corners. This method costs even less and is 100% effective.
Thanks for sharing! We are in the process of covering all the windows in our new house (moved in last month). Our first 38 days in here cost us over $500 in electricity alone. I am looking for a quick fix for a small window that is also easily removable (because it is one you aren’t really supposed to cover). Though I can’t use magnets on the window, this post has given me a neat idea. I bet I could sew a few loops in the top of something like you are using in your kitchen. My parents may even have an extra car shade in their basement. A few cup hooks on the top of the window frame will not be noticeable. The curtain can hang when needed, and when it needs to hide in the coat closet, it will be easy to remove! Thanks!
Do you share a blog about your grandchild who does not speak. Our son 2 1/2 does not talk we are learning sign language but he does not always want to and gets frustrated they still are not sure why he does not talk but they say he is bright. All I know is when I can’t understand him or he is frustrated he is strong and throws himself about. So just looking for other mom’s and grandma’s who can relate and understand if I could fix him don’t you think I would and not want to smack them. Thanks. Love the idea as well.
We just put window film the deflects 70% of the rays on our windows that get the most sun-they also help keep heat in during the winter. Cost to do 4 windows was $24, you can still see theough the window-the window is darkened a bit but it has made a HUGE difference in the amount of heat that comes in.
Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans says
LOL! Great idea! I love it! This even beats our bath towels that we hung over our French doors that let all the afternoon sun/heat into our kitchen! 🙂 I finally made curtains (out of bed sheets) so we didn’t have to run and hide the curtains when someone came to the front door. 😉 However, I do currently have cardboard covered with aluminum foil standing in the bottom half of our very large (I measured) bedroom windows. This reflects the sun and the heat nicely, and since it faces our backyard no one knows it’s there. Well, except for anyone reading this…
(If you use the foil-covered-cardboard idea, make sure the hollow tubes inside the cardboard run horizontally so they don’t trap any heat.)
Tara gunn says
I love this tip, after reading it, I went out and bought several sunscreens and hung them. All of our bedrooms are on the west side of the house and the rooms get warm. I have already seen a difference and we are expecting 102 + temps this week. It was very inexpensive and a fast fix, I used double sided tape.
I love this! I was just searching on the internet for some tint to put on my sliding glass door because of the heat in the evening. I currently have some thick window treatments hanging, but when we are home, it’s hard to keep them closed until the sun goes down. After searching for about an hour on the internet, only to find that everything was WAY out of my price range, I decided to search Pinterest. I have several of those tinted screens that you use in the vehicle to keep the sun out of your babies eyes. Since they already have suction cups on them, they will work perfect. I had even bought a large one for the back window of my pick up. Thank you for sharing this! After reading, I think I’ll be able to help my heat problem with using the tinted screens that I already have and save myself some money!! 🙂