Residential window tinting is becoming a popular method that people are using to make their home more "green" and save money by increasing energy efficiency. However, it's worth taking a look at whether or not these treatments actually save you money or if they're overrated.
The Money You'll Save
The amount of money you'll save with window tinting depends on a lot of variables, including your geographical location, the type of glass in your window, the film type, and the size of your home.
Using an energy savings calculator, you can see that a 2,500 square foot home in Austin, Texas with dual-pane glass tinted with ultra-high tint will save $298 every year. However, a similar sized house in Boston with single-pane glass coated with a medium tint will save $134 every year.
Beyond those savings is the $500 energy-efficiency tax credit offered by the federal government for people who install window tinting. While a one-time tax break, it's nice cash.
Cost Of Installation And Maintenance
Balanced with the savings mentioned above is the cost of installing residential window tints. There is a wide discrepancy in the cost of window tints, from some tints going for as low as $60 while others cost as much as $1,400. For the sake of argument, the average cost of $605 will be used as a base for calculation.
It's also important to take into account basic cleaning and maintenance of your window tint. You shouldn't clean your glass for at least 30 days after installation to give it time to completely adhere or cure to the window. Cleaning windows with tints isn't noticeably different than cleaning non-tinted windows: simply wipe it with an ammonia-free window cleaner using a very fine soft cloth.
Try to avoid using paper towels, as some are coarse enough to cause small scratches that can spread into major damage over time. Other maintenance procedures are generally not needed for window tints, making their cleaning and maintenance cost minimal. For the sake of argument, a base level of $50 will be assessed, leading to a total of $650 installation and maintenance costs.
Analysis Of Cost And Savings
Analyzing the cost of investment shows that you will save money on window tints. Obviously, if you get the tax credit, the $650 you spent on investment is offset to $150. And even if you are on the lower end of energy-efficiency (for example, the $134 saved in Boston), you have just about recouped your costs in one year. And in Austin, you'll have profited.
However, what if your tints cost $1,400 and you don't get the tax credit? Your investment will take much longer to pay off. For example, even if you get the $298 savings in Austin, it will take nearly five years to make back money on your investment. And with the $134 savings, it'll take almost 11 years.
That said, the low cost of maintenance on your window tinting is more than balanced by your yearly saving. So even if it takes you half a decade or longer to gain back your money, you will.
As you can see, residential window tinting does save you money, even if you get the most expensive possible tinting. That's why it's worth checking into getting some installed on your windows: you likely won't regret it.