At Home with Lisa: Home DIY Sunshade

The last couple of weeks have been very hot in the Inland Northwest.

One of the features about my house that I love is that there is a window in every room. I love the natural light. It’s why I’ve been avoiding putting up curtains.

But there is one window that has been a cause for concern in my household. This window is southwestern-facing and every evening the sun shines directly into the living room. So much so that my boyfriend’s solution is to put pieces of cardboard up to block the light.

Ugh. No thank you.

Some of the advice I read in Avista’s Summer Weather Tips is to install awnings on southern-facing windows. This week, I bought a sunshade from the local hardware store. I’m sure there are models out there that are easier to install, but the one I found was relatively cheap—around $40—and it was the right size for my window.

Before you get started on this project, I’m going to recommend finding a partner to help you through it. I have an old seven-foot ladder that is neither stable nor tall enough, so I asked a friend to lend me her ladder. Not only did I get to borrow it, but she was there to hold it and call 911 if I fell from a 12-foot height. Luckily, I didn’t. If your window isn’t as tall and you can do it using a stepladder, you might not need the help, but I sure did.

The tools I needed for this project were a measuring tape, pencil, my trusty mini-drill and a screwdriver.

First, I measured the window and marked the places where I was going to install the hardware for my shade. I drilled holes for the screws using a power drill, then I put the screws in and took them out to have a good hole. I put the crank unit in place and put the screws back in, but not all the way in case I had to adjust the hardware. The crank unit had long slots for the screws for just this purpose: I could slide them back and forth if my shade didn’t fit. Then, I did the same on the other side of the window for the idle-end plug.

Once those pieces were in place, I took the shade and inserted the end into the crank unit and the other end into the idle-end plug. It was a perfect fit on the first try, which I was glad about because it was scary working that high up. I tightened up the screws.

Once it was installed, the temperature in my living room dropped dramatically, even better than the cardboard. It took me about 50 minutes from start to finish, probably because I’m new at this.

I have to say, this project was the hardest I’ve done so far, but it looks so nice and works so well it was worth it.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

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