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4 Persistent Myths Regarding Window Film

Home interior with big window
As energy costs continue to rise, more and more homeowners investigate ways to improve the efficiency of their homes. Windows often contribute to inefficiency, especially during periods of hot summer weather. Window films offer one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the unwanted effects of solar heat gain.
Unfortunately, many homeowners harbor mistaken ideas regarding window films. These ideas often stem from problems experienced by the earliest generations of window film. If you would like to get your facts straight regarding today's window films, keep reading. This article debunks four out-of-date myths regarding window film.
1. Window Films Make Homes Excessively Dark
Window films contain tinted dyes that absorb light waves, preventing them from entering your home. Once upon a time, in the early days of window films, consumers had a relatively small range of tint options to choose from. Many of those window films were simply too good at their jobs, resulting in excessively dark interiors. 
The stigma of excessive darkness persists in many consumers' minds. Yet today's window films come in an unsurpassed range of strengths and styles. Moreover, manufacturers have learned to quantify various performance characteristics. Manufacturers express a window film's darkness by means of the rating known as visible light transmittance, or VLT.
Visible light transmittance tells you exactly how much light a film will allow into your home. Darker films have lower VLT percentages. Such films allow less light - and less heat - into your home. Today's window films come in a wide range of VLTs, permitting you to get exactly the results you want.
2. Window Films Kill Houseplants      
Another frequent misconception about window films has to do with their effect on the health of houseplants. Many people mistakenly believe that window films block the ultraviolet light waves necessary for plant growth. Yet according to one professional horticulturist, house plants do not require UV rays in order to grow.
At worst, your plants may experience a short period of adjustment after you install window film. You may notice that they look somewhat lackluster or wilted. Likewise, blooming cycles may be slightly delayed. Ultimately, however, virtually any species of houseplant can survive the transition to window film. Especially light-sensitive plants may even show improved growth.
3. Window Films Cannot Be Cleaned
The adhesives used to install early window films did not always hold up well when exposed to water and cleaning solutions. Homeowners had to take extreme care in order to avoid peeling or bubbling. Many homeowners avoided cleaning their films at all, for fear of unintentionally hurting their performance or appearance.
Fortunately, today's films hold up perfectly well to both glass cleaners and soapy water. Just be careful to avoid using abrasive brushes or sponges, as these can leave scratches on the surface of the window film. Instead, use a soft sponge or cloth to apply cleaner, using repeated applications for particularly stubborn patches of soiling.
4. Films Cause Windows to Crack
Many people unfairly associate window films with an increased risk of thermal stress cracks, which happen as the result of temperature differences between one area of a glass sheet and another. Homeowners should understand that thermal stress cracks can occur in virtually any window, whether it contains a window film or not.
If your windows contain tempered or heat strengthened glass, you can apply virtually any type of window film without risking thermal stress cracks. Homeowners must take more care when applying window film to float glass. The properties of the window film may contribute to an increased risk of stress cracks.
Always consult a professional before selecting a window film for float glass windows. A trained expert knows how to select a window film whose solar-optical properties pose no risks to your window glass. For more information, please contact our window experts at Hull's Nor Cal Window & Door Inc.