As a homeowner, you’ll take a lot of steps to protect your home and your belongings. You do things like lock your doors before leaving, keep an eye out for signs that water might be getting in your home, keep batteries in your smoke detector, and make sure you get a great homeowner’s insurance policy. But one type of damage homeowners often forget to protect themselves against is damage caused by the sun.
Many people don’t think of sunlight being a potential source of home damage, but the sun’s UV rays can indeed cause a remarkable amount of damage to the things in your home. Unprotected window glass can let in as much as 70% of UV rays from the sun and it’s estimated that heat and visible light are responsible for causing approximately half of all indoor home damage.
If you’ve ever been to a garage sale, flea market, antique shop, or a house full of older things, there’s a good chance you’ve seen something that looks remarkably faded. This happens when things are exposed to too much sunlight over time. Not only can colors fade, UV rays can also cause things to weaken and become brittle. Anything can become damaged if it’s exposed to too much sunlight over time, but pictures and other artwork hanging on walls, furniture, carpeting, and anything made of wood are all particularly susceptible to UV damage. Here’s how you can keep your belongings safe from the damaging effects of sunlight.
Think of window treatments as being like sunscreen for the things in your home. Since windows let so much light into your home, they’re the best place to start when you want to limit how much UV radiation gets into your home. Many window treatments like curtains and blinds can be very effective at keeping the sun out, but they might not let in the ideal amount of light for you. Since most people don’t want to keep their curtains and blinds shut all day long, there are other options to consider that don’t aren’t as obstructive.
If you’ve been considering getting new windows, one of the best things you can do is get vinyl replacement windows with low-E glass. Low-E glass helps filter out a large portion of the sun’s UV rays without visibly limiting the amount of light a room gets. Windows with a low-E coating can also help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so these windows are very beneficial to have.
If replacing your windows isn’t practical for you, a more affordable option to consider is UV-filtering window films. These window films are very effective, inexpensive, can be cut to fit any window, and are easily found at many hardware stores.
Your options for window treatments aren’t just limited to the kinds that go on the inside of your home. Exterior window awnings help shield your windows from the sun, controlling the amount of light that comes in. Not only do awnings help protect your belongings from damaging UV rays, they can help keep your heating and cooling costs down, too.
Picture Frames With UV-Filtering Glass
One of the most popular types of home decorations is photographs. Photographs are extremely vulnerable to UV damage, but when you have a collection of nice photos, you want to show them off, not hide them away in a dark room. To safely display your favorite photos, look for picture frames with UV-filtering plexiglass or acrylite instead of regular glass. You may not even have to completely replace your existing picture frames, you may be able to just replace the glass. Many stores that sell archival storage materials sell these UV-filtering glass alternatives as individual sheets, so you could simply replace the glass already in your picture frames with the new UV-filtering panes.