It’s getting colder, and the windows in the 90-year-old house we rent are single pane and very drafty. In the wintertime, this equates to a 100-300% increase in our electric bill. On a recommendation by a neighbor, we decided to install some simple plastic shrinkwrap insulation. You can find it in hardware stores and online for only a few dollars per window. Here is a five 3×5 window kit by Duck brand for under $9 with free Super Saver Shipping:
There’s also a 5-window shrink film kit by 3M brand for $18. I went for the cheaper one, but the 3M seems like it gets slightly better reviews. They come in a big sheet and also a couple of different sizes, so measure your windows first to make sure you use the sheets most efficiently.
Basically, you first tack up some double-sided tape on your window borders inside and then put on this saran-wrap type of plastic loosely over it. Then, you use the hot air from a hair dryer to “shrink” the plastic and remove all the wrinkles. The result: you can still see out your windows, but it reduces drafts and you have an insulative air pocket. Here are some quick pictures of my handiwork:
The first one is after I put up the plastic and took out the wrinkles, and the second one is after I removed the excess plastic. I was a bit skeptical of the product beforehand, but it turned out pretty good. The wrinkles all came out, and the tape seems to be pretty airtight, at least for now. I can even tell where cold air came in by seeing where it fogs up the plastic. You can tell there is plastic sheeting there if you look closely or hit the glare just right, but overall it’s pretty unnoticeable especially if you use blinds or drapes.
I’m going to do the rest of the bedroom windows. At a cost of less than $20, it should easily pay for itself in heating bills. If I owned the house as opposed to renting, I might consider replacing the windows instead.
(This post is actually from a few winters ago, but it keeps getting regular search engine visitors so I have updated it and added more information.)