Most homeowners who choose to tint their home windows do it to benefit from the following:
• Privacy from neighbors and passersby’s
• Protect furnishings e.g. upholstery from sun damage and fading
• Reduce the amount of heat coming through the windows and probably reduce utility costs in air conditioning
• Reduce glare in the house (maybe it’s hard to see either the TV or PC screen)
Homeowners have been tinting their windows for over 50 years. They are not only cost effective but also efficient in providing the highest heat and glare protection in a home. Normally, tints are highly reflective, and they are used to prevent light from getting into the house to avoid the effects of UV rays of the sun. However, some homeowners do not have tinted windows in their homes argue that they don’t want to make their homes ‘feel’ dark or fail to see their beautiful view through the windows. With the advancing technology, tinted windows have been developed to address the different concerns raised by homeowners. Here are some of the ‘smart’ window films that have been developed:
1. A film to reduce heat
There are three forms that sun rays reach the surface of the earth: visible light, ultraviolet rays (UV) and infrared radiation (IR). These two forms are converted into heat energy upon hitting a solid object on the surface of the earth. It is possible to reduce heat in your home without having your windows appearing mirrored nowadays.
A tinted window reduces the heat that enters a room through the windows by either reflecting the rays of the sun away or by blocking the rays altogether. The reducing performance of a tinted window can be measured using a TSER percentage depending on the performance of the tinted window.
A normal tinted film blocks all sun rays making most homes ‘feel dark’ because they even prevent the visible light from entering into a house. This indiscriminate blocking of sunlight makes most homeowners fail to install these tinted windows with the fear of getting insufficient light. Therefore, these films are popular in commercial buildings because they effectively reduce heat at a meager cost.
However, these buildings use artificial lighting to compensate for the loss of natural light. Most homeowners do not want to turn lights on during the day making the new ‘smart’ tinted films the best window tint for most people. These are the best films available because they only prevent the invisible spectrum (UV and IR) from passing through but allow enough visible light to penetrate through. These ‘smart’ tint films can be able to prevent the invisible spectrum from passing through just like a normal tinted window film to achieve a similar TSER. This film is designed to meet the requirements of most homeowners who don’t like missing beautiful views of their landscape.
2. A film for privacy
Privacy is achieved by a difference in the level of lighting between the inside and outside of the house. Normally, human beings can be able to see from the dark into the light but never the reverse. Therefore, any film which allows less than 25% visible light to pass through is the best because it will create sufficient difference in lighting to provide day-time privacy. During the night, the owner will have lights on, and hence there will be no privacy unless he or she has curtains or a frosted privacy film. It is important to understand that a human eye is a sensory organ which is connected to the central nervous system. It, therefore, responds to stimuli of both low and high light intensities. The pupil of the eye becomes bigger in dark conditions and vice versa due to impulses received in the CNS. To avoid having problems with visibility, you should choose a film which lets in more than 20% of visible light e.g. Ambiance 25 contrary to a film that lets in less than 20% of the visible light e.g. HP15 or Sunblock 10.
3. A film to reduce glare
Glare is the excessive light that can reduce visibility in the house. You need to choose the right reflective film which can balance the amount of light it blocks and lets through. A film which allows between 20% – 40% of the visible light is the best because it will only allow the right amount of visible light through.
4. A film to protect furnishings
Most homes have upholstery, and if you don’t install the best-tinted window, your furnishing may fade due to UV exposure. About 99% of UV rays do not pass through tinted windows to protect furniture and furnishings from sun damage.
A commercial film should offer the highest heat reduction at the lowest cost. However, it is advisable not to install silver reflective window film in bushy areas because birds will scratch the windows attacking their reflection thinking it is an invader. Also, these films are mostly used in commercial and industrial buildings which are rarely found in bushy areas.
Ambiance 25 is the most popular film in most homes because it has a good heat reduction percentage of 61%. It, therefore, blocks enough light during the day to provide the privacy needed without making the room ‘feel dark’. The film is recommended for use in living areas which require heat and glare protection.
For bedroom windows which mostly are found on the west, HP15 is the ideal choice because it blocks more heat than the Ambiance 25 i.e. 70%. Hence, since most people do not spend much daytime in their bedroom, the HP15 film is used even though it does not allow too much visible light. If you have windows or rooms facing west that do not require much natural light, HP15 is recommended because it has better heat protection than Ambiance 25.
Sunblock 10 film is highly recommended for a home theatre because it makes a room dark. This is exactly what a theatre requires because it will have artificial lightings when needed. The Sunblock 10 achieves similar heat protection as Ambiance 25, but it allows less visible light through.
The ClearView ICE 60 is clear (untinted) film preferred by homeowners who have luxurious homes that have a beautiful view. It is also common in corporates that do not allow alteration of the external appearance of the building. However, the film has an excellent heat blocking percentage (58% reduction) as well as fade protection. The film does not provide any privacy both during the day and at night.
Your choice will primarily depend on priorities, your location and budget.