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I read this tip in my favorite magazine, Mother Earth News, a few years ago, and finally got around to trying it this year. It works!
Instead of expensive window insulation kits that are hard to install and can be used only one year, try this: buy bubble wrap. Cut it to fit each window. Dampen the window and apply the bubble wrap, flat side to the window.
It's that simple. It lets the light through, looks a bit like glass block windows, and does keep the room warmer. If I touch the bubble wrap then touch the window, the wrap is definitely warmer. My bedroom is about 4 degrees warmer this year!
If the wrap comes off or you lift it up for any reason, just re-dampen the window, and it's good as new. At the end of the cold weather, I will remove the wrap, and roll it up separately for each window with a note in the middle to tell me which window it goes on, then I'll store it until next year. I bought my bubble-wrap at Walmart, about $4.50 for 100 feet. A roll and a half did all of my windows (except the one by the computer, since I watch the birds at my feeder through that one). The kits in the store cost a LOT more, and next year, this is free!
Source: Mother Earth News
By Free2B from North Royalton, OH
I have done this and it really makes a great deal of difference depending on the measurements of your windows. I have a patio door and in the dead of the winter I can't stand in front of it long before I get chilled. After I put up the bubble wrap I could touch the plastic and it felt warm, also I can stand in front of it without feeling chilled at all. If you don't mind covering up your windows it's a great way to conserve heat. Also you could cover the lower portions and leave the upper ones open so you can still see out. Am going to use this again.
I think bubblewrap would insulate the windows well, but a lot of the draft comes at the edge of the window where it meets the frame, so if you could cover over to the trim, it would help a lot more.
Just read a tip in Ready Made magazine about putting up bubble wrap on a window with tape to mask a bathroom window. I am going one step further. Because bubble wrap also has insulating qualities, I am putting it on a window that needs to be insulated for the winter. To make it decorative, I am going to color in some of the bubbles in a pattern with permanent marker to create a "Stained window effect" - (Great for the kids to do?) PLUS I am utilizing recycled bubble wrap from mailings I have received. So cost = $0
By pam munro from L.A., CA
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A great way to insulate windows in the winter and summer, is to use Bubble-wrap. It not only insulates, but it still lets light in. It won't grow mold, and can be washed. I put it inside my windows. You can hang it up with just a few tacks or push-pins.
Great idea, and you can often get it from stores out of their packaging and then re-use. (03/23/2009)
By pam munro
Very good idea, thank you! I like that it lets light in, but still a bit of privacy, too. Thanks! (03/23/2009)
I have never tried this, but have read that if you spray the windows with water, the plastic bubble wrap will stick and you won't have to use push pins to hold it up. (03/24/2009)
Waste of time. Plain bubble wrap has no insulating qualities. There are large areas of the sheet of bubble wrap that is no thicker than a sheet of plastic wrap. There is a product product called Alu-bubble wrap that is layers of bubble wrap and aluminum. (03/14/2010)
I have heard of this too, but have never done it because there are times in the winter that I like to open a window and let some fresh air in and the way the windows in my apartment are made the bubble wrap get crumpled up. I did put a small piece up to try it and that is what happened. I have also read that putting waxed paper on windows, using the water method is a good way of providing privacy.
I am going to try that on the lower half of my patio door, because it seems like when people walk past they have a real tendency to gawk at the apartments they go past and I don't know how much they can see of my "mess" through the partially open vertical blinds. A lot of the people leave their blinds shut all the time and that would drive me nuts, basically not having any natural light in here at all. I even get irritated on cloudy days. (03/14/2010)
I used this tip this winter and I am a believer! We have a couple sliders that I bubble wrapped. I can tell the difference and will continue the practice. I just used that tape that is used to apply film to windows. It was easy to install and very inexpensive. I really like this tip. (03/14/2010)
I put this in my bathroom window for privacy, in between inside and storm window. It works great. (03/14/2010)
You don't need tacks or tape. All you have to do is moisten the glass and the bubble wrap will stick to it. I didn't have a problem with it falling down either. (03/14/2010)
Now I know what to do with all that bubble wrap I've accumulated over the years! And I like that it doesn't sag like a plain sheet of plastic would.
foxrun41 - it may not be great insulation, but the inside surface of the bubble wrap has got to be a little warmer than the inside surface of the glass in winter. Besides, if you have ancient, old-fashioned window panes like ours, you're probably getting drafts around the individual glass panes, and the bubble wrap will surely help with that!
If anyone wants to improve the insulation of bubble wrap, attach it to the window trim or wall, instead of directly to the window itself. The dead air space will be more effective than just the plastic. (03/14/2010)
By KS Granny
When the wind blows through our very drafty, old windows in the bedroom, it's like the heat isn't even on! This worked fantastically! I'm going for the living room windows next! (05/11/2010)
I live in a double wide mobile home. Would the bubble wrap work on a sliding glass door and the individual windows? Thanks. (11/12/2010)
Someone had submitted putting bubble wrap on the windows for winter. I live in a mobile home. How do we go about attaching it so it stays up and keeps the drafts out? Thank you.
Bubble wrap is not a good insulation product. It has bubbles but has a lot of flat area that cancels any insulation qualities. You would be better off using window film available from hardware and big box stores. To use, and I suppose you could hang bubble wrap if you want to waste time, is to outline the wood molding with a double sided tape. Double sided means there is adhesive on both sides of the tape. Cut the film larger than the window. Press the window film on to the tape trying to eliminate any ripples. Then take a hair dryer and run over the film but not to close that you burn holes in the film. The film will shrink to a tight fit. If over time it develops some ripples, use the hair dryer again. The film is clear so you can look through it and some times folks forget it is covering the window and stick a hand through it to open a window. (11/22/2010)
I use bubble wrap on my mobile home windows inside; I simply put either tape or use push pins to keep it in place; now I do put a rolled up towel between the screens and the windows at the bottom as I was told that helps insulate it as well. I also in one bedroom, put up a folded quilt behind the curtains; hanging it with "clips" which are to hang skirts up with; I bubble wrap; hang the folded quilt; and then the curtain. With the folded towel between the screen and windows. This really helps a lot! I have also used towels folded double as well as the quilts; I believe in layer windows as well as myself in the winter months!
Hope this helps you! (11/22/2010)