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Using Bubble Wrap as Insulation for Old Windows

bubble wrap on windowsDid you know,  you can use common bubble wrap as insulation for windows?

I had heard of this bubble wrap trick to save energy before, but had never actually gotten around to trying it.  While most of the windows in my old Victorian era home have been replaced, with more energy efficient double pane windows, there are six windows in the house with the original old wooden single pane windows.  Even with storm windows on them, they still cause a good deal of heat loss (my storm windows aren’t very airtight) , and as a single mom,  I just don’t have the budget for replacement windows.

One thing  most bloggers tend to have is a lot of stray packing supplies, including bubble wrap, so this was a no cost project for me.  The bubble wrap I had on hand was the style with the bigger bubbles (about the diameter of a quarter).  This seemed like it would be a better choice anyway, as it will trap more air, thus should insulate better than the wrap with small bubbles.  The depth of the bubbles is similar to the pocket of air between the panes of my energy efficient windows.

bubble wrap to insulate single pain windows

Applying Bubble Wrap to Windows

The bubble wrap was very easy to install on the windows and only took a few minutes.

What You Need to Bubble Wrap Windows

All you need is a spray bottle of water, bubble wrap, scissors and possibly packing tape.

How to Bubble Wrap Windows

1. Spray a mist of water over the inside of clean window.

2. Apply a sheet of bubble wrap squishy side to glass.  Trim off excess wrap with sharp scissors or utility knife.

3. If your wrap isn’t wide enough add another row, right up against the first and seal the seam with clear packing tape.

Note: Sealing edges with tape may improve results, but is likely to lift paint when removed, so I would avoid this unless you plan to repaint or replace windows in the spring.

applying bubble wrap to windows for insulation

Does the Bubble Wrapping Really Insulate Windows?

Yes.  It helps.  I can feel a noticeable difference in heat loss, after applying the bubble wrap.  There is very little reduction in the amount of light coming through, and with window treatments over it, it is completely unnoticeable.  Removal in spring will be as simple as peeling it off.   I wish I had done this quick and easy energy saving trick before.

bubble wrap as insulation for windows

Update:  The bubble wrap lasted through 2 years already.  I removed it from one of the windows this spring, since a couple dead bugs were trapped in that one, but will be bubble wrapping that window again soon.  I had an energy audit of my house last year, and the guy doing it LOVED my bubble wrapped windows.  He will be suggesting the same to others.  Once the blinds are up, you can’t even tell there is bubble wrap on these two windows.

Comments

  1. says

    That is so awesome!! I would have never have thought to use bubble wrap like that. It’s a good way to reuse something, other then just popping the bubbles. :)

  2. says

    I’ve never heard of this before. Might have to give it a try ;)

  3. Trasina McGahey says

    My kids love popping those and would probably “pop” the windows LOL!

  4. Mary Beth Elderton says

    Brilliant! Of course it would be a great insulator and also let in light, too.

  5. says

    When I lived in an older home, i always did plastic over the windows, but this would work great!

  6. says

    Cool tip! Now I’ll have to start saving the packaging that’s always coming in the mail.

  7. says

    This is AMAZING! I wonder if it would help up here in the Northern Canada weather! Our windows drip so much that when it gets really cold, we have quite a layer of ice on the inside, I wonder if it would keep that from happening?? SUCH a cool idea!! thank you! :)

  8. says

    I have done this with all our windows for the last 5 years, and it’s an amazing saving tip. It really does work, and the bubbles also provides privacy, as people can’t see in. We put them up from November to April, and reuse the same bubbles year after year