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Covering Windows With Plastic to Reduce Heating Bills

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me approximately how much money they've saved on heating bills by putting plastic in the windows to keep drafts out? I know this will depend on a lot of things, but I'm just trying to see if this is worth doing.

I'm on the 2nd floor of a two family house built in the early 1930s. I suspect the windows are the originals. I have a gas furnace that is probably at least 10 years old. I live in Upstate New York where it is pretty much cold and snowy from November through April.

By Kitschqueen from Syracuse, NY

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By john10/13/2009

If my windows do not leak, is there still a benefit from putting plastic over them in the winter? John

By Kimber Ha [2]10/05/2009

Depending on what you want it to look like. We used bubble wrap on the walls and ceiling of my greenhouse. Because it has the air chambers it works amazingly. Cool in summer and keeps the warmth in winter.

By Grandma J [46]10/02/2009

Everything helps! My 100 year old house has original windows in a large portion of it. We put heavy plastic between the window and storm window as well as insulated drapes and shades on the inside. Because I have a leaded window between the big picture window and fully insulated front porch, I just have insulated drapes, shades for that.

I also made special curtain/drapes for the upstairs bedrooms. My granddaughters' room has 3 pair of fully sewn drapes, one over the other. Done in colors that make it look darling with all of them on the window. The last one on top is a poly white fabric that looks somewhat shear but is like a nylon fabric. The other colors all come through. Nice days, I take the under curtain, wrap it around the top in circular loop style. It is the princess room, so we have the pinks, blues, yellows, white, greens all together in the curtains, rather than the paint on the walls.

By Beth [25]10/02/2009

I am in upstate NY in the Capital District. My windows are only ten years old, but they aren't top of the line either. I use the interior plastic on them and just by stopping some of the cold air from drafting or seeping in makes a difference. No, I can't tell you how much you'll save, but it's worth it. I can tell you that if you wash them before you put the plastic up, when you take it down in the spring your windows are still nice and clean!

By Candace Dotson10/02/2009

You could get a tube of window caulk and make sure to seal around the window insides that may be leaking. Also, you could use old quilts (if you don't have them a thrift shop like goodwill or salvation army would), cut them up to the size of the window and you could stitch them nicely and use velcro strips on both quilt and the inside of the window inside the framing of the window, that way you can take them down when desired and put them up next year-and also that will give you room to hang thermal curtains in front of them. You can find at walmart.

By peggy10/02/2009

I live in the Western NY area about an eighth of a mile from the lake. We have the wind to contend with also. My house was built around 1920 and we use the plastic kits also. They work great if used properly. We have saved about 200.00 a winter on the gas bill. It may not seem like much to some but when your gas bills are 350. - 400. a month every little bit helps. Good luck

By lesley [1]10/02/2009

Anything that keeps the drafts out will be keep money in your pocket.

For years before we replaced our old windows, we installed the window kits every fall. Almost the instant we finished the window kit installation, the house was not only warmer, but maintained the heat very well through out the entire day.

There was a home renovation show I saw that demonstrated the heat loss in a home with drafty windows. For 6 windows that leaked out the heat, it was the equivalent of having a hole in the
wall 2' X 2' - The window kits are well worth the few dollars they cost. If done properly, it will take you a couple of hours to do the entire house. Make sure you have a blow dryer/hair dryer, as it is crucial to the proper installation. Good Luck & stay warm.

By Gina Johnston [12]10/01/2009

I can tell you that the plastic will help--I can't tell you how much.

However, consider using something like either the Warm Windows product line from a fabric store, or purchasing radiant barrier material from a hardware store (or you can order it online from Farmtek) and improvising curtains. If you just use them at night, it will help hold heat inside like crazy. The radiant barrier looks like bubble wrap with tinfoil on it, kind of, and you can cover it with fabric and just roll it up in the morning.

Good luck!

By Chuck [17]10/01/2009

Buy carpet 'tack strips' to seal the plastic to the outer window frames if they are wood. They are easy to remove in the spring and can be used repeatedly.

By Myrna [13]10/01/2009

If you go to WalMart you can get clear plastic on the bolt priced per yard starting under $1.00 and a little over depending on the thickness.

If your windows are drafty; chances are you are losing heat and putting plastic up saves $$ yes I do believe it is worth the small expense for the winter months when compared to the cost of heating bills for the cold season.

My husband made a wooden frame and put WalMart's higher quality plastic on it and we use the same plastic & frame each winter to cover the sliding glass door.

By Allison10/01/2009

We've also done just a thick plastic you buy in rolls at Home Depot. They cost a few dollars per window and it is definitely worth it in the added comfort. We have a few old windows we are not ready to replace yet, so we cover them and it makes a huge difference. Not sure on actual dollar savings, but I'm sure it's enough to cover your time to do it.

By Lori Morelli [1]10/01/2009

I don't know how much money you will actually save, but the plastic kits are cheap and easy to install. The plastic keeps the air out and makes the room feel a lot warmer. I do it every winter.

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