Wednesday, June 12

Could Your Home Be at Risk of Getting Solar Distortion?

This summer, your home is at risk of being damaged.

During this time of year, a phenomenon called solar distortion happens — and it could be ruining your home’s vinyl siding as you read this article.

According to a July 3 WDTV article, solar distortion is what happens when one home’s windows reflect sunlight onto the home next door’s siding, causing the siding to melt and costing the homeowner thousands of dollars in siding repairs.

Vinyl siding is the most popular siding choice for American homeowners, and it’s not hard to see why. This siding is durable, affordable and aesthetically pleasing — just not when it’s located within the “hot zone” of a neighbor’s energy-efficient windows.

Energy-efficient windows, or Low-E windows, essentially act like a magnifying glass, multiplying the heat of the sun’s rays exponentially and reflecting it outward, sometimes onto the house next door. These windows can send rays as hot as 200 degrees Fahrenheit onto a neighboring home, which is much more than most vinyl siding can withstand.

“This has become such a problem that many of the vinyl siding companies are actually excluding damage from Low-E window reflection from their warranties,” Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, said.

“This new phenomenon in the siding industry is a big headache for companies and not a pleasant experience for homeowners,” says Peter Kiwior, Owner, Pro-Home Services Inc. “In recent years I have noticed a slight change in the products of choice selected by customers for their homes; they have leaned toward other siding options such as LP Smartside which is engineered wood product or James Hardie fiber cement product. These cost about 30% more than vinyl but it is much stronger and resistant to solar distortion, as window replacement grows every year, we will hear more of this issue.”

One way to protect against solar distortion is to install exterior screens to cover the windows in question and diffuse the heat they reflect — however, this requires participation on your neighbor’s part.

And if you notice that your home has become the victim of solar distortion, it’s important to speak to your next-door neighbor and ask him or her to install screens or awnings to protect against future damage. Home builders will usually cover the cost of siding repair if your neighbor does this.

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