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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think putting foil over south and west facing house windows has the desired effect?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26919 points ) August 12th, 2012

I see that a lot when temps get really high. I assume the logic is to deflect the sun. However, I figure what really happens is the foil gets really hot and radiates the heat back in to the house, like an oven!

Thoughts?

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29 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Put it on the outside, with an air gap between window and foil. Maybe on thin wood frame.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t need to. My house is fully shaded by trees. I don’t get any direct sunlight. I’m asking about the people who do do that. They put it right on their windows.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It bounces some of the infrared back out.
I have had my attic completely insulated with a Mylar / foil and fiberglass insulation. It keeps the heat out of house, attic has two large thermostatic fans to move all the hot air OUT.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Tropical_Willie…. I am just talking about regular old tin foil taped to the inside of windows. The insulation you are referring to doesn’t receive direct sunlight.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is not the sunlight, it is the infrared rays that go through the roof and shingles, infrared is what your broiler in the oven cooks with. The white colored light you read with is not hot, infrared is the heat.

Pandora's avatar

I’ve touched foil paper in an oven and it never is hot itself. Infrared radiation can be reflected with little to no temperature increase. That is why we wear lighter clothing in the summer. It reflects the rays better where dark colors will absorb the heat. If you had black curtains it could warm your curtains and so holds the heat in your home, instead of reflecting it back.
Thanks for bringing this up. I was wondering why some people put foil paper on their windows. I just always thought they were to cheap to buy curtains or have some illegal lab going on. LOL

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, they only do it when it’s really hot. It just never occurred to me to grab a piece of tin foil from a hot oven, so I always assumed it was hot! I’ve gotta check that out…so the idea, as redneck as it is (I only see it on trailers and ramshackle houses,) may actually work?

gailcalled's avatar

I do know what happens to turkeys that are in the oven and roasting when one makes a foil tent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The cover stops them from burning on the outside.

gailcalled's avatar

Ah, but inside?

wilma's avatar

Like @Pandora says, I can always remove the foil from a pan in the oven, IF I only touch the foil. It isn’t hot, I never knew why thanks @Pandora .
I use white shades to reflect and keep out the hot Sun’s rays. I hadn’t thought of foil, but I may try it if it works.

Coloma's avatar

I cannot answer this, however…..it seems to me I’d rather suffer the heat than deface my house with tinfoil. Doesn’t exactly get the decorative window treatment of the year award. lol

gailcalled's avatar

Why not wear a tinfoil suit instead?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It still cooks inside @gailcalled. It just stops it from burning on the outside.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because one would look like a lunatic @gailcalled!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@wilma…Your comment got me to thinking so I found this Decorative window foil shades…

gailcalled's avatar

@Dutchess_III:Ya think? It might depend on which neighborhood you lived in, such as The Haight.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or….could be in my own home!!!

Judi's avatar

I think it’s pretty getto and I don’t think it does much. We don’t allow it in our apartments. We do allow people to put up insulated drapes (at their own expnese) inside the apartments.
I had one lady who argued with me. I told her she was welcome to put it on the inside of her mini blinds. She said, “That would look tacky.”
I said, “Exactly. That’s why you can’t put it on the window.”

Buttonstc's avatar

So, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with “tacky” as long as its other people who are subjected to it :)

What a peach.

Pandora's avatar

@Judi Lol. Like I said above. I always thought they couldn’t afford curtains or blinds or they were running a drug lab and didn’t want others to find out or maybe they are nuts and feel aliens are reading their mind. It is super ghetto.

wilma's avatar

But back to the question, does it work to keep the heat out?
Yes it looks horrible, but I have an attic window on the back of my house that no one can see. No neighbors can see it, I can’t really even see it from my back yard unless I stand in a certain spot. It lets in a lot of heat. Right now I have a piece of rigid foam insulation covered with white cloth stuck in there. Would foil help?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sounds like it would, @wilma! Let us know.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe that anything that blocks the sun will keep it cooler. I can’t see any reason foil would work any better than insulated foam.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was assuming the foil would heat up like other metals and simply radiate that heat back into the house. I was wrong.

@YARNLADY I also don’t think people are going to go the expense of putting insulated foam on their windows. That would be even tackier than foil!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_III I was referring to @wilma above, who already uses insulated foam.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, but no one can see it, as she stated. I’m referring to people who put foil on ALL their south and west facing windows, even very exposed ones.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I can’t tell you why it works, but it works. When I started working my first job I couldn’t afford air conditioning and my apt faced south. Putting foil over the windows reduced the temperature inside by about 10 degrees during the heat of the day.

wilma's avatar

Thanks @WestRiverrat I’m going to try it in my attic window. Maybe it will cool it down a bit up there, and keep out aliens too!

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