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How To Insulate Windows With Plastic For Winter

April 19, 2013 Categories: Home Renovation Tips

In this post you will learn …

  • What types of window insulation kits are available for your windows?
  • Steps on how to install an indoor window insulation kit.
  • What kind of windows can you insulate with the window insulation kits?

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Hi. I’m Melissa Skinner with Great Day Improvements. Welcome to our Easy How-To Home Improvement Video Series. Today we are going to demonstrate how to insulate your windows with plastic for winter.

As with any home improvement project, having the right tools will save you time and money in the long run. For this project, we recommend getting the following items:

  1. Window insulation kits – enough for all your windows. Note there are now both indoor and outdoor insulation kits available. For this demonstration, we are going to show you how to use the indoor kit.
  2. Cleaning supplies. Depending on how dirty the molding is around your windows, this could mean a dry rag or a bucket of soapy water and a rag.
  3. Scissors
  4. Tape measure
  5. Hair dryer

I would like to mention that most window insulation kits can be used on vinyl, wood or aluminum molding. If you have anything other than that, check the manufacturer’s instructions FIRST. Also, keep in mind that when you pull off the tape in the spring, you could very well pull up paint in the process. It isn’t the end of the world just something to consider.

First thing’s first. Since tape doesn’t stick well to dirty surfaces, you will need to inspect the molding around each of your windows. If it is just dusty, wipe with a dry rag until clean. If there is more than just dust, you will want to clean the molding with soapy water and a rag. However, if you go down that road, you will need to wait until the molding is completely dry before you begin insulating.

Find the double sided tape provided in your kit. Remember you are putting the tape on the molding around the window – not on the wall or the pane of glass. If you have a drywall return, you can put the tape on the actual window frame.

So you don’t gum up the tape, I find it is easier to work in small sections. Pull back a section of ONE side of the backing.

Firmly apply the tape around the window frame. Then pull back another section of the backing and continue to apply the tape around the window.

Repeat until the entire window is taped. Make sure all window seams are INSIDE the taped area to stop drafts which is the whole purpose of insulating in the first place.

  • Using your tape measure, measure the height and width of your window using the tape you just placed as a guide.
  • Measure from the outside edge of the tape. Then add 1-2” on EACH side.
  • Unfold the window film from the insulation kit and cut to the dimension of your first window. Remember, you can always trim the excess later but if you cut the piece too small, you will have to scrap it and cut a brand new piece.
  • Starting at the top of your window, peel the backing from the tape on the top section of the window only. (If you remove the backing from the tape around your window all at once, you run the risk of having the film stick in the wrong places.)
  • Now position the film over the window lining up the top of the film with the top of the tape. Make sure your film is centered. Once you have it in position, firmly press the film down along the top line of tape. Remember to pull the film somewhat taunt to remove the bigger wrinkles along the way. The hair dryer will take care of the remaining wrinkles in the final step.
  • Next, move to the sides. Remove the backing of the tape part-way down one side of your window. Firmly press the film down along the tape. Repeat this on the other side. By doing it in small sections, it keeps the film straight.
  • Finish each of the sides by removing the remaining backing from the tape and pressing the film down. The bottom should now be a piece of cake.
  • Remove the backing of the tape along the bottom of the window and working from the center to the edges, firmly press the film down.
  • Before you plug in the hair dryer, take your finger and press the film down over the tape one final time along the entire window. This will ensure the best seal.

Now turn on your hair dryer. Starting at a corner, move your hair dryer in a diagonal path to the opposite corner of the window making sure not to touch the film with the hair dryer. This process will remove the rest of the wrinkles in the film making it exceptionally taunt. With your scissors, trim any excess film around the edges of your windows. One window down! Just repeat this entire process for the rest of your windows.

If insulating your windows becomes too much of a hassle, or you still notice drafts, you should consider investing in energy-efficient replacement windows. Great Day Improvements offers a variety of quality replacement vinyl windows for your home. Best yet, they are custom made to fit your windows precisely so you will never have to deal with insulating window film again!