(TL;DR at the end ;) )

I live in Western New York, and while it's pretty uncommon to reach temperatures over 95-100, it still gets pretty hot here, and we typically have 70-90% humidity on top of it.

My son's bedroom has two windows, one which faces north and one which faces east. We're on the second story of a two story duplex, and the east wall of our apartment is in the sun all morning. His room gets really hot, and we only have a small wall air conditioner in the dining room. Despite strategic fan placement, the heat coming in from outside is just too intense.

I know that alot of people will use aluminum foil as insulation, and I know it's effective, but with the way people are these days, I don't need my neighbors and passers-by to make any judgements.

There are four windows I'd like to be able to insulate. My son's room, bathroom, dining room and kitchen, which all face east.

The only window out of the four I care about being able to see out of is the window above the kitchen sink. All three openable windows need to remain openable.

I'll provide examples of each window at the bottom of the post.

All four windows are old, and they're all single pane.

I've contacted my landlord and gotten permission to apply window treatments on the interiors of the windows, as long as it's not permanent.

So what should I do? Does anyone have any suggestions for a diy solution? Does anyone have experience with window tints or films? I have very little money, so whatever I do it has to be inexpensive.

Thanks in advance for your help!

TL;DR I need to block solar heat from getting into four eastern facing windows in my house and I'm looking for super cheap suggestions, diy or otherwise.

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  • Window tinting with an IR / UV blocker is probably your cheapest solution for the windows. Shutters would definitely work - but cost plenty. The whole wall is hot so not much insulation along that wall. (Landlord - means it will not get fixed as cost versus his comfort are too much.) I suggest you relocate / move.
    – Ken
    Jul 7, 2018 at 5:27
  • An awning would be most effective; stop the heat before it gets to the window. Jul 15, 2018 at 15:10
  • would a space blanket be any better than aluminum foil?
    – Jasper
    Feb 23, 2019 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


Thermal draperies may be the best option. They can be opened when needed. The fabric is available to make your own at JoAnne Fabric, but ready mades are inexpensive and readily available.

  • 1
    NB - it's Jo-Ann or JOANN (no "E" on the end).
    – TylerH
    Aug 28, 2020 at 15:04

A window tint film would be a great option. Make sure you pick one that goes to the trouble of publishing their solar energy rejection performance -- any which don't might reasonably be assumed not to perform very well. You could choose an architectural film (ie designed for buildings) or an automotive film.

One brand I can heartily recommend is Solar Gard. I installed their film on my vehicle windows about 8 years ago and it still looks great -- hasn't gone purple and blistered the way cheaper films might. This brand is usually sold through authorized dealers only but I see plenty of listings for it on eBay too. One benefit of doing a good job installing a quality film is that the landlord may be inclined to let you leave it in place when you move. Cheap window film could be a chore to remove.

Another alternative is to fully cover the window. The cheapest and quickest method might just be a sheet of XPS foam board (in the US, usually colored pink or blue). Thicker is better, 3/4 or 1 inch thick are thick enough to get most of the benefit. Trim it for a snug fit, attach something so you'll be able to pull it away from the window later, and press it into place. The sun will still heat the space between the glass and the foam but it'll be substantially slowed in its progress into the room.

  • Word of warning regarding the foam method, I remember my dad doing that on our windows in the summer when I was younger, and one actually ended up cracking from the heat buildup between the glass and the foam. He didn't do it again after that happened. Aug 28, 2020 at 15:11
  • 2
    @PhilippNagel Oh! I can imagine it could get pretty hot in that space. It might be a good idea to leave the window slightly ajar so that hot air can escape to the outdoors.
    – Greg Hill
    Aug 28, 2020 at 18:27

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