Plastic for Windows: Pros and Cons
Old drafty windows that welcome winter’s cold to air into your home make you uncomfortable and also raise your energy bills through the roof. If you have such windows, use window plastic to insulate your windows seasonally.
Window insulation kits use plastic sheeting or films to trap air between the window glass and the film and to seal out the weather. This layer of air acts as an insulator, and it can significantly boost the R-value of a single-pane window. Window plastic is very simple to install. You only need to apply the insulating film to the inside or outside of your old leaky windows before the cold winter arrives, leave it in place during winter, and then remove it when you no longer need it.
The plastic used for the exterior window insulation is just a heavy plastic sheeting that’s stapled or tacked to the window frame. It is visible from both sides, obscures the view, and can look tacky.
A much preferable window insulation option is available. It’s a kit that looks like shrinkwrap. You just spread a thin plastic layer to the inside of your window frame using two-sided tape, then use a heat gun or a hairdryer to eliminate wrinkles, and make the plastic taut and unnoticeable.
This insulation is quick and easy to install and remove at the end of the heating season. Since the plastic is very thin, it’s not suitable for outdoor applications.
Pros and Cons of Plastic Window Films
With an average savings of over $15 per window during the heating season, using plastic film insulation on your windows makes sense, particularly if you live in an old drafty house. But if you have windows that don’t open, keep them insulated year-round for additional savings on your cooling costs during the hot summers. These plastic window films have both advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the advantages of plastic window films.
- Window plastic can reduce the cost of heating by 30 to 40 percent. Since it’s easy to come by, these kits improve the heat retention in your house, which means you need less heat to warm up the room continuously. Thus, you will use less heat and keep your thermostat low.
- The films that adhere to window insulation kits provide you with additional security. First, they prevent prying eyes from outside. As the film provides a protective layer, it prevents the window from shattering in case it gets smashed.
- Window plastic kits are inexpensive, and even if you are on a tight budget, you can easily afford them.
- These films are designed to prevent UV rays from entering your house. This protects your furniture since UV rays can fade fabrics and other materials.
- Although they are usually used as retrofit products, high-quality window films can significantly increase the efficiency of low-cost windows.
- Window insulation film can reduce drafts from leaking windows. However, for the best results, you first need to reduce the drafts from your windows.
The following are the disadvantages of plastic window insulation films.
- Window insulation kits can be difficult to install because of the nooks and crannies of window latches and much more.
- Not all window insulation kits are designed equal. Cheaper low-quality kits won’t provide all the same benefits.
- By adding a film on your window, you may void the warranty from your window manufacturer. But you can deal with this by using a film manufacturer that offers to match the warranty.
- Homeowners need to be educated about the benefits. There is a lot of skepticism about the efficiency of these plastic window films that make them a hard sell.
Before you go to purchase window plastic, make sure you measure all the windows you plan to insulate. The plastic sheets in the kits come in many configurations and you can easily use one kit to work with different windows. So you need to know the exact dimensions you will cover. Also, window tapes are sold with the kits. However, it is good to pick up an extra roll.
- Clean up well: Start by cleaning your windows and window panes first. Ensure you scrub them until they are squeaky clean. If your windows have debris and dust on them, the tape won’t stick well, and this may cause the film to fall off.
- Avoid skimping on the tape: Cover all sides with tape. Leaving gaps allows air to get inside particularly when it’s windy. This will pull the film from the windows.
- Top to bottom: When you apply the film, do it slowly from top to bottom. Work all the way down while smoothing the film as you go. Ensure your work is straight and without wrinkles.
- Blow-dry it: Use a hairdryer to get rid of the wrinkles by heating the wrinkled area and spreading them using a ruler. This heat will also cause the film to shrink, which will stretch it out and straighten the creases.
The advantages of these window plastic kits far outweigh their disadvantages. Which means, they are worth the effort and the investment.
If you are looking for an affordable way to keep the heat in your home, go for plastic window insulation kits. They will help enhance the energy efficiency of your home by up to 40 percent and prevent the heat from escaping your home through the thermal transmission. These kits are designed for easy installation. Just ensure that you buy some extra heavy-duty tape because usually the tape included with most window insulation kits are weak. If you run into any difficulty, consult a window professional near you.