Get more fresh air ventilation with Nanofiber Window Screens (Easy DIY Project!)
If you’ve never thought about them, it’s time to give your window screens some attention. If your windows open, you’ll want to have screens that are clean and in good repair to keep out insects and other creepy crawly things (won’t go into what could possibly come through an open window). It’s even more important in seasons of extreme heat or power outages to have a way to get fresh air. Keeping your windows closed all day can cause levels of CO2 to build up in your home that cause drowsiness and inability to focus or concentrate (check out our article here), so it’s best to let some fresh air in whenever the outside air temperature, humidity and quality permit.
Window screens have been around for a long time (like the 1800’s!) but even age-old products can get an upgrade, making our lives easier. This upgrade doesn’t have to involve AI or “smart” anything, requiring the internet and electricity. In this case, window screens have been upgraded with a new material, nanofiber.
Traditionally, window screening came in several varieties of material and color, such as aluminum and fiberglass, and black, silver, gray or bronze colors. Standard screens have a mesh size of 18 by 16, meaning there are 18 squares per inch from the top left corner to the top right corner (also referred to as warp) and 16 squares per inch from the top left corner to the bottom left corner (also referred to as fill). (Replacement Window Screen Buying Guide) These are able to prevent most flying insects from passing through, but they do allow a lot of dust and smaller particles to pass through. The use of nanofibers (each fiber is less than the width of a human hair) allows the holes to become much smaller, because they are spaced very closely, allowing air but not fine particulates to pass through. Voila! Nanofiber window screens offer protection from the next “pest”, dust and allergens. By just replacing the screens you already have with nanofiber material, you can save yourself some cleaning, coughing and add the ability to open your windows more often because of this protection. What’s even better is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or special tools (just one cheap one) to replace the screen material with some new nanofiber screening.
Here’s the DIY part: replacing your screens with nanofiber screens is a homeowner project that just takes a few hours and supplies. If you’re not familiar with how window screens are held in place, they are held into the narrow channel on the screen frame with a rubbery spline, or cord.
There’s also an ALTERNATIVE INSTALLATION with Magnetic Tape (which is practical if your screen frames are broken or missing). Scroll down to the bottom of this article for the alternative installation.
Here’s what you’ll need for the traditional installation:
The nanofiber window screen (order yours here)
Spline (if the spline in your screens is not cracking or falling apart, you can reuse it)
Small flat-head screwdriver
Sharp utility knife to trim the screen after installation
There are lots of videos online showing how to replace screens, but I like this one for its simplicity (step 1 starts at 1:50). Here are the basic steps:
Remove old spline and screen
Size and align new screen over the frame (1-2 inches extra on each side)
Push screen into channel on first side (using the convex side of the tool)
Insert spline into grooved screen and channel (using the concave side of tool) (Repeat steps 3 and 4 for other sides)
Push spline into corners using screwdriver, trim excess screen carefully with utility knife
And here are some additional tips:
If you have to get new spline, take a small piece of the old stuff to the hardware store in order to select the right diameter.
Some people like to hold the frame in place by taping it to the work surface, but this doesn’t allow you to rotate it easily if you can’t access all 4 sides of your work surface.
You can use a gallon of water or full can of paint to help hold the screen in place to get started.
Some people like to use the spline in one length, bending it at the corners as you go around; some like to cut it at each corner.
Be careful not to press too hard on the spline as you work, in case your tool slips, so that you don’t cut the screen accidentally.
Normally you shouldn’t have to “stretch” the screen, just gently smooth it out, while rolling the last two sides, as you don’t want too much tension on the frame when you’re done.
If you get too frustrated or find that one of the screen frames is broken, many small hardware stores offer “rescreening” services and repair of the frames; just bring them your nanoscreen with the frame(s).
It may take a little more time to get your first screen replaced, but you’ll get better as you go along and have some new functional “filters” in your windows. Sit down to enjoy the fresh, clean air and admire the fruits of your hard work! After a few months, you will notice dust collecting on the outside of your screens as they do their job, but you can easily clean them by removing them and using a gentle spray of water on them from the inside out to wash off the dust. If necessary, use a mild detergent like liquid dish soap or car wash soap and a soft brush to remove any stubborn dirt or bird poop.
Nanofiber window screens can help you breathe easier all year long, because let’s face it, there always seems to be an “allergen” in the air. They can also cut down on the dust going onto your HVAC filter, your TV screens, your rugs and furniture—you name it! Maybe most importantly, they can help you open windows for fresh air more often and be prepared for a power outage in the summer, when open windows (but not dust!) are a necessity.
ALTERNATIVE INSTALLATION: Many times the screen frame is broken or missing altogether, or you’re just not sure about doing the traditional install yourself. Instead, you can use Magnetic Tape to install the screen. The kit has everything you need to make a nice, flexibly-framed screen that installs easily over your window frame. (Note that you’ll need to remove the screen to open or close the window, but that’s easy to do.) The video on the product page gives step by step instructions.