How to Insulate Your Single-Pane Windows for Winter

Do the single-pane windows in your home cause you to lose heat and thus pay higher utility bills? If so, you may want to consider insulating your home’s windows this year. There are several, indoor DIY insulation options to choose from. When I lived in the northeast, I would insulate my home’s windows with heavy plastic and insulating drapes. The window insulation was moderately expensive and took me a day to complete. Here’s how to get the job done:

Window Insulation Kits

In order to insulate your windows for winter, you will need to invest in a few supplies. You could opt to purchase window insulation kits. Window insulation kits come in various sizes and are good for one season. In my experience, depending on the size of your home’s windows, you may expect to pay $6 to $10 per window insulation kit. The kits typically come with everything that you’ll need in order to install the insulation with the exception of a hair dryer and a utility knife. The kits also come with instructions that will walk you through the entire installation process.

Other Window Insulation Options

Window insulation kits aren’t your only option. You could purchase a 25 foot roll of cloudy vinyl sheeting or a 75 foot long roll of reusable, clear vinyl sheeting. The cloudy vinyl sheeting will typically cost you $16 and the clear vinyl sheeting tends to sell for $90. You’ll also need to purchase rolls of duct tape, a heavy duty staple gun and staples. The nice thing about the vinyl sheeting is that it can be used more than once.

Installing Heavy Vinyl

Installing the heavy vinyl is relatively easy. The worst part is getting the vinyl to stay in place. Based on my experience, the best way to install the vinyl is with staples and duct tape. I would cut the vinyl to fit my window and then use three staples to attach it to the top of the window. Afterward, I would duct tape all the seams and hang up heavy, insulated curtains. The insulated curtains were expensive but I only had to buy them once. My former home had floor to ceiling windows so I had to have the insulated curtains custom made. It cost me almost $200 per window. The only downside to using duct tape and staples was that the window frames received surface damage. As such, each spring I’d have to fill the staple holes with wood putty and re-varnish the wood finish.

Suggestions for Parents and Pet Owners

If you have young children or pets that are able to reach your home’s windows, I would suggest that you go with regular heavy plastic instead of the window insulation kits. I’d recommend going with the heavy plastic because the shrink film contained in the insulation kits has a tendency to break easily. Unfortunately, once the seals are broken, the shrink film is basically worthless. I know that from personal experience.

One year I spent over $100 to insulate all the windows in my home with insulation kits only to have the kids and the dogs break every single seal within the first month. I had to go back through the entire house and re-insulate all the windows with heavy vinyl. It was the last year that I ever bothered with the insulation kits.

Source: Personal Experience

Killeen Gonzalez has a history of completing DIY home improvement projects with her family.

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