Did you know windows are the main culprits when it comes to your home losing heat in the winter? That heat loss causes you to turn the air conditioning up which, in turn, leads to higher energy bills. An easy solution could be window insulation kits to help trap heat and keep cold air out.
Now, you might be wondering how effective window insulation kits really are. And, are they user-friendly enough to be your next DIY project as you prep your home for winter? This article answers those questions and more.
Let’s dive right in with a quick look at the science behind how window insulation kits work
How Do Window Insulation Kits Work?
There are three basic principles behind how window insulation kits work.
They lower or stop drafts.
Heat-shrink plastic film that is properly installed creates an airtight seal around the window. This stops heat loss that usually occurs when air seeps through cracks or poorly sealed window gaskets. That moving air is carrying warm air out of the room and letting in cold air from outside.
They create an insulating layer of air.
An air-filled space is created between the windowpane and the film. Air is a poor conductor of heat when compared to glass. Thus, that layer of trapped air acts as a thermal break. It lowers the amount of heat conducted and lost through the window.
They trap radiated heat
Ever heard of the “greenhouse effect”? It’s how the glass walls of a greenhouse keep inside the greenhouse warm. They let radiated heat and light in but will then trap the heat inside. The windows in your home do the same thing. The clear plastic film from a window insulation kit will not stop this. It lets the glass of your windows trap radiated heat. This helps them carry out their important, warming function.
How Effective Are Window Insulation Kits?
Architects and window manufacturers will often talk about a window’s R-value. This is a measure of how good an insulator the window is. A higher R-value means the window is doing a better job at stopping heat flow. Plastic film like the type found in window insulation kits increases a window’s R-value when it is installed securely.
The layer of plastic could result in a great decrease in your energy usage. It does this by helping your window perform better at insulating your home. And, of course, that means you will be saving money.
Is there another benefit apart from shrinking your energy bill?
Well, yes, if you are concerned about reducing your carbon footprint. The plastic film of a window insulation kit effectively lets light in and keeps cold air out. You won’t have to switch on lights in the daytime or turn the air-conditioning up to warm up the room. As you may already know, that lower energy usage has less of a negative impact on our planet!
How Easy Are Window Insulation Kits to Install?
Installing a window insulation kit is at the “EASY” end of the DIY project spectrum. The kit usually comes with just two items: the precut plastic film and a roll of double-sided tape. You will also need a few items found in every home: a pair of scissors, a hairdryer, and window cleaner.
Here are the usual steps:
1. Clean the window
Covering up the window means you will not be able to clean the inner surface. You will have to wait until you remove the plastic. So be sure to clean the window as a first step. You should also clean the area around the window where the tape will be applied. Allow the area to dry.
2. Apply strips of tape
Cut strips of tape and apply them above, below, and to the sides of the window. Be careful not to overlap the strips and this could create a break in how it seals.
3. Press the film onto the tape
Remove the backing of the tape. Slowly press the plastic onto the tape. Be sure to leave an overhang of a couple of inches all around. Stretch the film tight as you apply it.
4. Use heat to shrink the film
Set your hairdryer to “High” and slowly apply heat to the film. This causes it to shrink and ensures a tight seal, as well as removes wrinkles. All done!
Once the weather warms up, the film can be easily removed by first warming the sealed edge with your hairdryer. Also on the plus side, is the fact that some window insulation kits come with reusable plastic.
Here is a quick video of Windwo insulation kit.
Some Window Insulation Kit Options
The type of window insulation kit you buy will depend on your specific needs. Here are a few points to consider.
Number of sheets
Some window insulation kits come with only one sheet. Others give you several sheets. Of course, buying more than one sheet could lead to saving on the price. You may only need one, however, if you have only one window to seal.
Many window insulation kits come with double-sided tape. Others require that you use nails instead. Easy-to-use options are the window insulation kits with Velcro tape. Make your selection based on the kind of wall the window is set in and the amount of effort each option requires.
You can buy window insulation kits in precut sizes that are meant to fit average sizes of windows. Some options, however, come with rolls of film that you will have to cut to the desired size. Your choice here depends on the windows in your home. You will also have to factor in how much effort you want to put into installing the window insulation kit.
Thicker film is better at heat insulation. It may also make applying and removing the film easier. This may be particularly important if you plan on reusing the plastic. Film that is too thin may be cheaper but may also be clumsy and not reusable.
Clear, lightly-tinted, or silver-tinted
Window insulation kits give you options to suit your desired level of visibility. Most persons choose lightly-tinted films. Silver-tinted films are better, however, at heat retention. Their downside is that visibility is greatly reduced.
Bottom Line: Are Window Insulation Kits Worth It?
Home weatherization is all about making your indoor spaces more comfortable. If fitted correctly, window insulation kits are an easy-to-use choice. They are also a cost-effective way to keep indoor spaces warm. They could even let you see some savings on your energy bill. With those benefits in mind, we feel it’s worth it to use window insulation kits in your home today.