Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Window Shades

One thing we've been working on is to create some insulating window shades for the RV. The ones that came with it are difficult to pull up and down, and don't provide much insulation for the single-pane windows, which are quite drafty. Tim and I have been working on creating an insulating shade that we can roll up when not in use, to retain the heat within the RV and keep the cold out. We also don't really like the clunky valences that came installed in the RV, which block out a lot of the sunshine and the view, besides not really being our style. They look like this:
This is our living area, and Tim's new "office".
This process has been going on for quite a while. When we are at home (Wellington), we work on the design, come up with a prototype, then we take it to the RV to try it out. We started with one, made with inexpensive materials, and when we thought we had a winner, we made a more permanent shade. Tim works on the wood, I work on the fabric.

At this point it looks like this (without stain and finishing touches).

Unfortunately, it hasn't been working as well as expected. The shade is made with two layers of fabric (blackout drapery liner), filled with a layer of Reflectix. It does the job well as far as insulating, however it just isn't rolling up well, and bunches at the bottom, making it even more difficult to roll up and down, and each time we roll it, it seems to get worse. So, we're "back to the drawing board" trying to perfect this thing before we make more of them. We also may try to come up with a better way of rolling it up and down; there is a dowel running through the top for us to wind up, but it doesn't go so easy.

I spent the day today coming up with something I hope will work better for the shade.  We won't know until we roll it up and down several times to see how well it holds up. Last weekend we decided we won't do the roll-up style for the smaller windows. For those I'm just making a flat piece we can put on with velcro (oh, oops, "hook & loop) tabs on the corners. We'll have to find a place to put each one when we take them down, but we can handle that.

In addition to these shades, over the weekend we covered all the windows with the plastic film that's taped on and blown with a hair dryer to tighten. Even that seemed to make a big difference, as the next morning was 3 degrees outside, and it seemed warmer inside. (The previous morning had been 11 degrees.)

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