Frequently Asked Questions
This page is an attempt to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about the window film products that we offer at Solar Tint. We understand that it may not answer your particular question, so if you do not find the answers you were looking for, please call us at (888) 616-1488 or email us HERE. Thank you for your interest in Solar Tint and the products and services we offer.
WHAT IS WINDOW FILM?
Window Film is a low-cost, high-return energy conservation measure made of micro-thin layers of film combined with high performance coatings that bond to the glass surface.
HOW DO 3M SOLAR CONTROL FILMS WORK?
3M Solar Control Films are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat transmission through window glass by increasing the solar reflection (not necessarily visible reflection) and solar absorption through the glass.
Typical colored or dyed films work primarily through increased absorption. The color absorbs the solar energy at the glass, thus reducing the direct transmission into the room. These films are not as effective as reflective films for reducing heat.
Reflective films are films that have been precision coated with metals. These metalized films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass. 3M reflective films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).
All 3M Solar Control Films are made to be transparent and optically clear. The ultraviolet protection is built into the adhesive system to provide longevity to the film as well as provide UV protection for your home and office furnishings.
Most 3M Window Films are protected with our abrasion resistant coating that provides long-term durability and maintained appearance.
HOW DO 3M LOW E WINDOW FILMS WORK?
3M Low E Film work much in the same way as the solar control films except that they offer an increased performance against cold weather heat loss. The patented construction of these films enables the metal coating to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room where it is needed. This improves personal comfort by reducing cold spots near windows and can help save on fuel costs, especially in commercial buildings. These low e films are also protected with our patented abrasion resistant coating for long-term durability and maintained appearance.
HOW DO 3M SAFETY AND SECURITY WINDOW FILMS WORK?
3M Safety and Security Window Films are designed to make glass shatter-resistant by holding the glass pieces together when broken.
Compared to 3M Solar Control Window Films, 3M Safety & Security Window Films are made with thicker polyester and a much thicker, more aggressive adhesive. 3M Ultra Safety & Security Window Films are unique in the industry; they are built using a special micro-layered polyester technology which increases the films’ tear resistance significantly. The impact and tear resistance of Ultra films outperform all other films of similar thickness.
ARE 3M SAFETY & SECURITY WINDOW FILMS HURRICANE-PROOF? BULLET-PROOF? BURGLAR-PROOF?
3M Safety & Security Window Films are not hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof, bullet-proof, bomb-proof, nor burglar-proof. They are designed to make the window glass more shatter-resistant.
In the event of a glass breakage, these films may have significant safety and protection value. They can reduce the risk of injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possibly help prevent debris penetration through the window depending on the severity of the intrusion (and the type of glass, framing system, size and velocity of objects, and more).
In an earthquake, these films can reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possible prevent glass from falling out of a home or building. Again, much may depend upon the severity of the quake (and the type of glass, framing system, and more, too).
3M Safety & Security Window Films were originally developed to address international concerns and needs for improved safety and protection against terrorist acts of bombings. These films can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of glass due to blasts, however, much depends upon the severity of the blast and the proximity of the window glass to the blast (and glass type, framing system, and more too).
3M Safety & Security Window Films are a low profile, high performance measure of security in the battle against ‘smash and grab’ crime. The tough, shatter-resistant qualities of the film can hold the window glass together even if a brick (or similar object) were actually to pass through the glass. The thief must now make a choice; continue to attack this window, try another window, or move on. Time is short, and often they move on. However, if they are determined to gain entry, they will get in. It is generally recommended that the property have proper alarm systems in addition to 3M Safety & Security Window Film.
WHY DO YOU NEED WINDOW FILM ON YOUR WINDOWS?
Adding Window Film upgrades your existing windows by improving energy efficiency, cutting glare, and reducing damage to furniture due to fading. It also helps make occupants feel more comfortable within a home or commercial building.
DOES 3M MAKE WINDOW FILMS?
Definitely! No one has more experience with window film than 3M. 3M was issued the very first patent on 3M Window Film in 1966 and today we are the only manufacturer that can produce our own polyesters, adhesives, metals and scratch-resistant coatings. This gives us the quality control. That, along with 3M’s worldwide reputation as the adhesive experts, means you can rest assured knowing 3M Window Film is safe for your windows, and safe for you.
IS WINDOW FILM LEGAL FOR MY VEHICLE?
Window film laws vary by the State in which your vehicle is registered. Please refer to local laws to determine the window film legal limits in your area. You can also click the HERE for a chart from the International Window Film Association (IWFA) that summarizes the State Laws.
IS WINDOW FILM DISRUPTIVE TO INSTALL?
Most windows can be filmed in 15 minutes with minimal or no disruption to building occupants.
IS WINDOW FILM EXPENSIVE?
Window Film is around $5-10 per square foot installed, which is only 5-10% of the cost of window replacement depending on the application.
WHAT LEVEL OF ENERGY SAVINGS CAN I EXPECT WITH WINDOW FILMS?
The energy savings depend on many factors, such as the existing type of glass, existence of overhangs, your location (climate), and energy rates in your area. However, for most buildings, high-performance window films can reduce energy costs from 5 to 15%.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL ENERGY PAY BACK FOR 3M SOLAR CONTROL WINDOW FILMS?
Simple paybacks will vary depending upon the amount of sunlit glass exposure, the type of film, the type of glass, cost of fuel, cost of application, and other variables. However, we have seen paybacks often range in the 2-5 year period, with some reported to be even less than 6 months.
HOW IS 3M WINDOW FILM APPLIED?
3M films are professionally applied by skilled, authorized 3M dealers, installer and applicators
The first step is to prepare the window area for the application; placing drop cloths on the floor protecting and/or moving furniture where necessary.
Next, the window glass is cleaned using simple cleaning solutions and razor blade scrapers. Then the film is sprayed with a slip solution for proper positioning, and applied to the window glass. Using a professional grade squeegee and following proper techniques, the application is completed by removing excess water, trimming the edges, and a final squeegee technique to dry the edges. Window Film dealer to analyze the potential energy savings in your commercial property.
IS APPLYING WINDOW FILM SAFE FOR MY WINDOWS? WON'T IT CAUSE GLASS BREAKAGE OR SEAL FAILURE?
The installation of window films is very safe. Manufacturers provide our installers with a list of recommended applications they are confident are safe when the recommendations are followed. Plus, most manufacturers provide warranties against glass breakage and seal failure. Ask us for specifics about these warranties.
ISN'T WINDOW FILM DARK? AND WON'T APPLICATION OF FILM CAUSE ME TO HAVE TO USE MORE LIGHTING, WHICH WOULD INCREASE MY ENERGY COSTS?
In many cases, there is so much solar heat gain before window films are installed that shades or blinds must be kept closed. By applying energy-saving window film, blinds and shades can remain open, allowing more light into the building than before film installation. Plus, window films come in a variety of light transmissions, from very dark (0% light transmission) to very light (80% light transmission).
ARE THERE UTILITY COMPANY REBATES FOR WINDOW FILM INSTALLATION?
Many utilities offer specific rebates for window film installation for both residential and commercial applications. Often window film is specifically listed as one of the rebate-eligible products. Other times window film qualifies under the “Custom Measures” option (commercial applications only).
WHAT TYPE OF RETURN ON INVESTMENT OR SIMPLE PAYBACK WOULD THESE ENERGY SAVINGS PROVIDE?
Though they provide similar energy savings, window films are much cheaper to install than replacement window – about 5-10% of the cost. Therefore, the capital investment is much lower for window film. Many projects produce a simple payback in less than three years (when including utility company rebates) – equivalent to a 33% return on investment!
DOES THE INSTALLATION OF ENERGY-SAVING WINDOW FILM AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE OF MY BUILDING'S HVAC SYSTEM?
According to U.S. Department of Energy statistics, solar heat gain through windows is responsible for about one third of a building’s cooling costs. Energy-saving window film that can reduce solar heat gain by 75% or more can significantly reduce the run time of air-conditioning systems or allow them to operate at lower load conditions. This can reduce cooling costs in commercial buildings by as much as 30%, lengthen HVAC equipment life, lower maintenance costs for air-conditioning systems, and allow for replacement of cooling equipment with smaller, less expensive equipment.
WILL WINDOW FILM DARKEN THE INTERIOR OF MY HOME?
No. Window Film will maintain the natural colors of your interior spaces. With less need for draperies, curtains, blinds, and shades, rooms may actually brighten significantly.
CAN WINDOW FILMS HELP WITH LEED CERTIFICATION OR QUALIFICATION AS AN ENERGY STAR LABELED BUILDING?
In fact, window films can assist with as many as 9 LEED Certification points (out of the 32 required for Silver LEED Certification). For more information about Window Films and LEED Certification, see www.usgbc.org/leed. The energy savings provided by window films can also assist buildings with their Energy Star Labeling requirements.
CAN I RECEIVE A TAX CREDIT FOR INSTALLING ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOW FILMS?
A tax credit directly reduces your income tax, unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax. The credit then directly increases the tax refund you receive or decreases the amount you have to pay.
WHY DO YOU NEED WINDOW FILM ON YOUR WINDOWS?
Window Film helps combat the problems of fading, glare and damage to furniture. Most importantly, it helps make occupants feel more comfortable in the room.
CAN WINDOW FILM HELP REDUCE THE GLARE ON MY TELEVISION AND COMPUTER SCREENS?
Absolutely. Window film reduces glare and helps eliminate eye fatigue.
WHY IS WINDOW FILM NECESSARY IF OTHER WINDOW TREATMENTS ARE ON THE WINDOWS?
The sun will often damage window treatments such as draperies, curtains, blinds and shades. Window film helps protect furnishings, including window treatments.
CAN I INSTALL 3M WINDOW FILM MYSELF?
3M Window Films require professional application; our 3M Window Film dealers, applicators and installers are thoroughly trained and experienced in performing high quality work. In this way, our customers will enjoy the benefits of 3M Window Films and have the comfort of the 3M warranty.
DOES WINDOW FILM HELP REDUCE THE HEAT IN A ROOM WHEN THE SUN COMES SHINING THROUGH?
Yes. Up to 75% of the heat is rejected by Window Film. You need not be afraid of installing beautiful windows for fear of too much heat.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR 3M WINDOW FILMS TO DRY?
We suggest allowing thirty days for the film to fully dry and cure. During this curing process, it is normal to have small water bubbles and/or a hazy appearance. These will disappear as the film dries; depending upon the film type and weather conditions, drying may take as much as 30 (or even 45) days, or as little as a few days. Once dried, 3M Window Films will look great and perform for many years to come.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A WINDOW BREAKS?
If the window breaks, the window film should hold the glass in place, thus reducing an incidence of injury or damage to furnishings.
CAN WINDOW FILM BE INSTALLED ON ODD-SHAPED WINDOWS?
Yes. Window Film is professionally installed and can fit virtually any size and shape of flat-glass window.
HOW DO I CLEAN MY 3M WINDOW FILM?
After 30 days, you may clean 3M Films using normal household cleaning solutions and a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. You may also use a squeegee to clean the films. Abrasive products which would scratch or damage the film should not be used.
HOW LONG DOES 3M WINDOW FILM LAST?
3M Window Films are made to last for many years. The exact length of time depends upon the type of film applied, window orientation, type of glass it is applied to and the particular climate in which it is applied. Most applications last well beyond the warranty length.
WHAT IS THE WARRANTY FOR 3M WINDOW FILM?
3M Window Films are warranted to maintain their solar properties without bubbling, peeling, cracking, or crazing. Many of our films are warranted against discoloration, too. Should the product prove to be defective, 3M and channel partner will replace the film and provide the reapplication labor free of charge.
DO 3M WINDOW FILMS CAUSE GLASS TO BREAK?
The application of 3M Window Films will increase the temperature of your sunlit glass which will increase the stress on the glass edges. The quality of those glass edges and several other factors (external shading, interior shading, glass history, type of film, size/shape of glass, indoor/outdoor temperature) all contribute to the potential risk of glass breakage.
3M’s fifty plus years of experience with applying 3M Window Films to different types of glass enables us to make proper film/glass recommendations and minimize the potential for glass breakage.
DO 3M WINDOW FILMS CAUSE SEAL FAILURE WHEN APPLIED TO INSULATED (DOUBLE-PANE) WINDOWS?
3M Window Films do not cause seal failure. We’ve been applying 3M Window Films to insulated windows for many years with several millions of square meters of film applied to date.
When recommended films are applied to the inside pane of an insulated glass unit, there will be some absorption (except with clear safety films) of the sun’s energy, which will increase the temperature of the glass pane. Some of this heat will transmit to the airspace, slightly raising the airspace temperature. However, even a 10oc increase (unusual for most films) will result in a less than 3% change in air pressure, whereas properly made units are designed and tested to withstand 22% changes in air pressure.
Risk of seal failure is greatly determined by the quality of workmanship and the quality of the materials that go into building the insulated glass units. The best guard against seal failure is to purchase well-made units from reputable window manufacturers that have solid experience and histories with insulated units.
WILL 3M WINDOW FILMS STOP MY FURNISHINGS FROM FADING?
Nothing completely stops fading. 3M Window Films are designed to help reduce the major causes of fading (ultra violet light, visible light, and solar heat), thus prolonging the life of your furnishings, perhaps as much as two to five times.
Keep in mind the article(s) to be protected; if they have a typical life of 5 years then they may last 10 years to much longer depending on the performance of the film selected. However, if the typical life is only 2-3 weeks, then the expectation should be expressed in terms of months.
As a general rule of thumb, ultra violet (UV) is approximately 40% of the cause; visible light is about 25%, and heat about 25%. The remaining 10% can be attributed to humidity, pollutants, interior lights, dye stability, and more.
DOES THE ULTRA VIOLET PROTECTION LOSE ITS EFFECTIVENESS OVER TIME?
The ultra violet (UV) protection that we use in our proprietary adhesive system is not indefinite, but we design our window films to maintain high UV protection throughout their lifetime.