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Winter takes its own sweet time coming to Texas, but even here “winterizing” happens — okay, maybe just a little.  Disappearing faucet covers are a big deal because nobody seems to know what the freezeless faucets are for, and window insulation film is a mythical substance.  But if you’ve got a little time and money, these window insulation kits from 3M can save you a bundle on your heating bills.

The kit doesn’t look like much — it’s just heat-shrink plastic film and double-sided tape — but add in the insulating properties of a few inches of trapped air, and you’re looking at a warmer home and less money spent on heating oil or electricity.

Watch for these in the big chain stores in the fall and maybe even into the winter, but don’t wait too long — they’re considered “seasonal” and won’t always be in stock, especially in the balmy climates.

Window Insulator [3M]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


10 Responses to Quick Window Insulation

  1. John E. says:

    It works very well on drafty windows. I had wood windows from the 70’s and they sealed up almost too good i.e. my fire place wasnt getting a good draft. So I would consider leaving one window undone, also I think I remembered burning something in the kitchen and needed that one window to air out the house.

  2. Jim K. says:

    Growing up in the north-east this was SOP every winter. If you’re broke, you can achieve the same effect by covering the window with standard plastic sheeting and removable double stick tape, but the drag is that because you can’t get it taught any draft will make it rattle around and drive you nuts. One that I haven’t tried but supposedly works pretty well is moistening the flat side of bubble wrap (which you can often find for free) and sticking it to your window. In all of these cases the goal is just to create an air gap to act an an insulating barrier.

  3. Shopmonger says:

    There is an easy fix for the “flapping” Get it as tight as you can with tape….
    then use a hair dryer to “shrink wrap” the window.
    As the hot air from hair dryer heats the plastic it will stretch tight…..

    The air gap concept is great, I used for years in my old house. Now I have Anderson double panes they are awsome…..

    But this works well

  4. Jerry says:

    Didn’t get my new windows in this past summer so went for this stuff. Works pretty good and definitely stops the drafts and shrinks down into a very clear, tight “window.” The thing to remember if you do this is that if your window coverings consist of mini-blinds inside the frame – – well, you’d better have them adjusted where you want them for the winter! Oh, I git my plastic kits at Big Lots – Frost King brand for far less than the 3M stuff. Exactly the same though

  5. KevinB says:

    I use FrostKing, Dennis and Duck brand as well, 3M is a little too pricey for just plastic and tape. Only thing is, in the warm months I have a hard time getting the tape residue of the trim, it sometimes takes the paint off on older windows.

  6. Brau says:

    I have found these products to be largely a failure, and I question the savings as the air gap is just way too big to be effective (gotta be less than 1/2 inch to stop rapid convection currents). The tape dries out and the plastic pulls off leaving the windows very ugly. Also, trapped moisture can cause a lot of damage in a short time. The only way I found to use it effectively was to make a frame, tape and staple the plastic to it and mount the frame to the window. This way they lasted for years and could be removed easily to clean and let the sills dry out.

  7. Toolaremia says:

    Brau, convection currents are far smaller than direct heat transfer from the glass or cold air ingress from leaky window frames. I’ve used this on windows with a 12″ gap (old brick building) with great success. These were 3′ x 5′ double-hung, single pane windows circa 1940, and there were 20 of them in a 600 sqft building. HUGE difference!

    As for moisture, if your windows are tight enough that moisture gets trapped in the gap, you may not need plastic. Otherwise, you can lay the plastic directly on the panel. That will still give 1/4″ or more of gap and should seal out moisture while allowing any moisture you might be talking about to be mitigated by ventilation around the rest of the window sash. Moisture entrapment was never a problem with my big windows, even with a 50° temp gradient and humidifier running full-speed.

  8. Luanne says:

    I really want to put up the window insulation kits I just bought (Frost King) but how do I do it with roller-type shades? The brackets are inside the window frames, not outside. Does anyone have any suggestions?? Help…thanks!

  9. J.R. Bluett says:

    Luanne, most of the time the shades or blinds end up “stationary” for the rest of the season. These window insulation kits are a great, but temporary, solution. Long term you want to install something that leaves shades and blinds functional. Short term, you want to save cash so that you can afford the long term solution.

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