Plastic on Windows - Save Money in Winter - Heating Bill

The windows in our house have always been bad.  They are cheap plastic and don't shut properly.  There are a couple where i can't even get both latches to close.  That's fine if you live somewhere warm, but becomes an issue in January here in Michigan, when it's 5 degrees outside.  And in past years, during the winter, i could definitely feel cold air leaking in at the window seams.

Plastic Window Insulation - Does it Work?


So this year i tried to do something about the leaky windows and high heating bills.  I thought i'd try putting plastic over the windows to stop cold air from leaking in.

So i went on Amazon and bought the Duck Brand 10 Window pack for $11.
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There were thousands of reviews and they said it was pretty good.  The kit came with two large sheets of plastic and two rolls of double-stick tape.  After skimming through the instructions i saw that you should measure your windows and cut the plastic - adding 2" on either side.
duck brand window kit, insulation, winter

Instructions to install plastic window kit.
how to install window kit, insulation ,plastic

Heat shrink the window film.
heat shrink, hair dryer, plastic window insulation

Unroll plastic window film.
how to install window insulation, save money on heating bills

Attach plastic to double stick tape.
double stick tape plastic, window cover, wrap

So i started by putting the double-stick tape on all the windows.  I decided to put it on the plastic window frame not the wood molding.  I figured that way it would be easier to remove the tape without pulling off any paint.

Next i started putting up the plastic.  I measured each window then just cut the plastic for height, not width.  It was pointless to cut the width because it's not like you will have enough to reuse.  So i put the plastic up, pushing hard onto the tape as i went along, starting from the top and working down.  Then i used a utility knife to trim everything afterwords.

leaky window, window seal, crack, winter, cold air

Here you can see the plastic bulging out as the cold air is leaking through the window, but the plastic is doing it's job and keeping the cold air out.
Bulging plastic over windows

This window was not heat shrunk, but you can tell that the cold air is trying to leak in.
plastic window film

This is the double stick tape that comes in the kit, you get 2 rolls of these.
double stick tape, duck brand, extra tape, window film

I was able to cover about 12  windows of about this size.
typical window size, size, dimensions, plastic size, 5'

plastic on window frame, humidity, heat, furnace, heating bill

I was able to cover around 12 windows in my house.  Some were double wide windows and some were small half size ones.  But i would say that 10 windows was an accurate number on the box.

They say in the instructions to use a blow dryer to tighten the plastic up, but i didn't do that.

It may be the placebo effect but it definitely feels warmer in some rooms.

My plan was to do this, then check past heating bills to see how much i saved, but i realized that that wasn't possible.  There's too many variables to get accurate numbers to compare.  Maybe we have the thermostat set at different temps, maybe it was colder/warmer this month vs last year.

See all the bills below.  For non-scientific data.

But i do know that the plastic window kit is working for two reasons.  First because the plastic on the bad leaky windows is all bulged out.  That's because those windows that do leak are letting cold air in at the seams and the plastic is being pushed inward.  Window's that i know are tight, the plastic is slack.  And second, i cannot feel any cold air around the edges of the plastic, where i could last year.  The plastic has sealed the cold air from coming in.

It does take several hours to put everything up, but it's definitely worth it, and i know its paid for itself.

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