What Light Through Yonder Window Radiates? Windows Versus Electromagnetic Radiation

Every day, electromagnetic rays radiate through your windows. Many of these rays come from the sun in the form of UV, visible light, and infrared (heat) rays. And in winter, heat rays may radiate in the other direction: through your windows to outside. Controlling how much of this radiation makes it through your windows can help you avoid negative effects.

Here are some of the rays that infiltrate your home’s windows each day, and how you can save money and protect yourself by controlling them.

UV Rays

UV rays can damage your skin, your furnishings, and even your roof. But if you keep them from getting through your windows, your furnishings and skin will be safe — at least while inside.

There are two useful techniques here: physically shading the window and using a low-emissivity window glass or UV film.

Shade using a tree, trellis, awning, or shutter can exclude a high percentage of UV rays. However, shutters work best, since UV rays can reflect off other surfaces and enter your window — even if it’s not in direct sun. But shutters also block your view.

To exclude UV rays without blocking the view, consider installing a window with low-emissivity glass. If that’s not in your budget right now, you can also install a window film that filters out UV rays until you can afford a window replacement.

You can also install low-emissivity glass and then add a UV blocking window film for maximum UV avoidance.

Thermal Rays

Unlike visible rays, we can sense thermal radiation as heat. Because the heat is in ray form, it can easily pass through glass.

Double-glazed windows can greatly reduce the amount of heat convection and conduction through your windows, but radiant heat is hardly slowed down by double glazing. So to keep these heat rays out, you’ll need to use low-emissivity glass or an insulating reflective window coating. Also, shading the window can keep the direct sun off the glass.

However, double-glazed windows are still a priority if you’re looking to reduce AC and heating bills. The convection and conduction they block are a significant part of unwanted heat gain and loss.

Outward-Radiating Thermal Rays

What about when heat rays exit the house for the great beyond? The heat rays don’t come from a single source in the room (unless you have a radiator providing your heat), but they still work about the same as heat rays from the sun except that they’re going in reverse. So hanging thick curtains on the inside of the windows (especially thermal or radiant curtains) can help.

As with the other types of rays, low-emissivity glass will help here as well. The coating is designed to work both ways; keep unwanted heat out in summer and unwanted cold out in winter.

However, there are two types of low-emissivity glass. If you live in an area where it’s cold most of the time, choose the hard coat variety, which is tailored for cooler climates.

Light Rays

Light rays, the rays in the visible portion of the spectrum, are often considered desirable. If you can let in the light without the heat, you can decrease the amount of energy spent on artificial lighting. But in some cases, you’ll want to decrease the amount of light rays that come through.

For example, if your toddler doesn’t nap well with too much light, you could add a dark window film to the window to increase light-blocking power. A switch to blackout curtains, if you haven’t already done so, may help as well.

These are some of the main types of rays that affect your home life and can be blocked with modern window products. For more information about the stylish windows we sell and install, contact Arch Design now and discuss what you have in mind for your next window or door replacement project.

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