Enjoy the Outdoors From Inside With Secure Solar Screens

Enjoy the Outdoors From Inside With Secure Solar Screens

Many of us enjoy having a direct connection to the natural world, whether it's feeling the warmth of the sun, listening to the sounds of the birds singing, or smelling the fresh air. However, modern living often means we spend more and more time indoors for work, school, and leisure activities. This can make us feel disconnected from nature and the changing of the seasons. One way to bring the outdoors in is by installing solar screens on your windows. Solar screens let the heat, light, and fresh air flow freely while still providing protection from insects, allergens, and unwanted intruders. They create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience so you can truly enjoy nature even from the comfort of your own home.

What are Solar Screens?

Solar screens are specially designed screens that are installed on the exterior of windows. They are made of a durable yet lightweight aluminum or stainless steel framing system with a tightly woven mesh fabric in between. The mesh is usually made of plastic, aluminum, fiberglass, or a composite material. It has tiny openings that let air, light, and heat through while blocking insects, allergens like pollen, and larger debris. At the same time, the mesh is hard to see through from the outside so it maintains privacy and security.

Some key benefits of solar screen mesh include:

Blocks insects - Helps keep unwanted bugs like mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and more from entering your home through open windows. This is especially useful for those allergic to insect bites.

Filters pollen and allergens - The tight weave traps airborne allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores so they don't circulate inside. This can help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.

Provides security - Acts as an extra barrier against potential home intruders. The mesh is difficult to see through clearly from the outside.

allows ventilation - Openings in the mesh are large enough to freely pass air but too small for insects or debris. This lets you enjoy natural cross breezes and fresh air flow without unwanted visitors.

Transmits light - Around 80-90% of natural light can pass through while keeping views unobstructed. This maintains an illuminated, bright interior.

Insulates temperatures - The spaced mesh traps a layer of insulating air which helps reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter for more temperature control and energy efficiency.

Easy to clean - Durable aluminum or stainless construction won't deteriorate over time like screens. Mesh is easily removable for quick hosing off or pressure washing to stay clean.

So in essence, solar screens let you transform closed windows into "screened porches" to bring the great outdoors safely indoors.

Types of Solar Screens

There are different styles of solar screens to suit any home or climate. Basic options include:

Retractable screens - Have a rolling mechanism so the screen can be effortlessly retracted up and out of the way for unfettered views or ventilation when desired. Operated by crank, electric motor, or remote control. Ideal for large windows.

Hinged screens - Consist of one or more panels that swing open on sturdy metal hinges. Simple to use manual system perfect for average sized windows.

Sliding screens - Made of one or more sliding panels within a frame track. Great for windows where ventilation is more important than views like those above sinks or appliances.

Pop-out screens - Folding accordion or telescoping panels that pop out over glass when open and neatly retract to almost disappear when closed. Sleek, modern look.

Custom solar screens can also be engineered to fit any nonstandard window shape like rounded, arched, or multi-paned units. High-end options include premium materials like bronze or copper finishes, invisible screen edges, and motorized systems.

Whole house screening systems provide complete envelope protection yet maintain an abundance of fresh air flow. They can integrate perimeter soffit and fascia screens with large retractable panel screens and smaller pop-out screens for maximum utility and curb appeal.

DIY or Professional Installation?

While solar screens may seem like a simple do-it-yourself project, professional installation is usually recommended for quality, safety and security reasons. Screen contractors have skills and equipment to:

  • Properly measure and fit screens precisely to each window opening for a tailored look and optimum performance. Even minor errors can affect functionality.
  • Safely handle heavy-duty aluminum and stainless materials, making neat, durable joints and incorporating reinforcement as needed to withstand wind loads and years of use.
  • Apply advanced sealants and adhesion methods to create an impervious barrier against moisture, dust, bugs and potential intruders. DIY methods often fail prematurely.
  • Install operating hardware like hinges, locks, and counterbalances correctly for smooth, long-lasting operation with appropriate safety factors.
  • Anchor screens securely to withstand extreme weather without shifting or failure which can damage screens or cause accidents.
  • Provide warranty coverage for workmanship and materials should any issues arise down the road from normal usage or natural disasters. DIY projects have no such assurances.

A properly installed solar screen system by an experienced installer usually costs a bit more up front but will save money in the long run through longevity and hassle-free enjoyment of improved indoor air quality, natural ventilation, and protection from elements. Many also offer financing options to make the investment more affordable.

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Keeping solar screens functioning optimally requires some periodic maintenance:

  • Wipe down mesh every month or so with a soft cloth or hairdryer on low setting to remove surface dust and debris buildup that can clog small openings over time.
  • Hose off screens with a gentle spray every few months, especially before and after storm season, allowing them to air dry completely. This flushes out deeper dirt.
  • Check operating hardware annually for any signs of loose fasteners, rust, or fraying components. Lubricate hinges and sliding tracks as needed.
  • Trim back any foliage that may be contacting screens, which can accelerate deterioration from constant rubbing.
  • Inspect sealant joints every few years in very hot or extreme weather areas. Reapply fresh sealant if cracks or gaps appear.
  • Professionally wash full framing system every 5-7 years or as needed in high pollen or industrial areas. Repaint if finish shows excessive wear.

Regular upkeep ensures continuous protection, convenience and longevity from your solar screens for many years of indoor-outdoor enjoyment. Promptly address any damage or issues as they arise to prevent worse problems down the road. Most installers offer ongoing maintenance plans for ultimate peace of mind.

Enhance Indoor Spaces With Solar Screens

One of the nicest aspects of solar screens is how they transform any indoor area near windows like living rooms, kitchens, home offices, bedrooms and sunrooms. Some fun ways to take full advantage include:

Grow plants on the sill - Herbs, succulents, flowers all thrive with ample sunlight diffused through screens.

Add window seats - Cushioned nooks become cozy reading spots to take in views.

Create an al fresco dining area - Place a bistro set near screens for al desk meals with a "patio" feel.

Set up an outdoor office - Work from home with natural light and fresh breezes through retractable screens.

Display art and decor - Hang wall hangings, paintings on screens facing out for visual appeal.

Read or nap - Solar screens foster relaxation by blurring boundaries between work and rest.

Do morning yoga or Pilates - Stretch near screened windows surrounded by living greenery and natural light.

Host cocktail hour - Sip drinks in stylish seating arranged to face out and take in scenic vistas.

So whether entertaining guests, working, reading or just relaxing, thoughtfully equipped solar screened areas become integrated indoor-outdoor lifestyle spaces minus the bugs and allergens. Their multi-seasonal use enhances comfort and well-being all year long.

Go Green With Solar Control Screens

Besides bringing nature safely indoors, solar screens provide eco-friendly benefits that can significantly reduce overall home energy usage and costs:

Block solar heat gain - According to the Department of Energy, up to 80% of heat entering homes comes through windows. Properly fitted screens reflect and absorb harmful infrared and ultraviolet rays in summer.

Insulate interiors - The air gap trapped between tightly woven mesh and glass insulates similar to double-paned windows, minimizing temperature transfer indoors year-round.

Reduce air conditioning costs - Blocking solar heat means less need for the A/C to compensate, lowering energy bills by up to 20% on average.

Maximize solar heat - In winter screens let sunlight and passive solar heating penetrate generously while minimally impeding precious heat that would otherwise escape.

Decrease drafts and heat losses - Air can circulate via screened openings while the mesh blocks drafts and wind chills from outside that stress home heating systems.

Qualify for utility rebates - Energy efficient solar screens often earn rebates through eco-friendly programs run by local power companies when installed professionally.

So by optimizing temperature regulation with help from the sun's energy at no operational cost, solar screens prove a sustainable long-term investment for any home or climate. They create year-round comfort while protecting natural resources and lowering utility costs.


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