If you live in a drafty, old house, it might be time to invest in window insulation. But before you reach for the caulk gun and start smearing bubble wrap over your windowsills, take a moment to consider all of your options.
Window replacement is often more expensive than window installation. And while many people try to save money by doing the job themselves, professional results are difficult—if not impossible—to achieve without years of experience.
If you’re still set on installing your window insulation, read on for a list of pros and cons that will help you make an informed decision about which type or brand of product works best for your home.
How Essential Is Window Insulation?
The importance of window insulation is often underestimated when it comes to the value of a home. This article discusses why window insulation is important, how much does window installation cost, and whether you should hire someone to do the job or do it yourself.
- Whether you are taking on this project yourself or hiring contractors to do the work, there are some things that you will need to get started.
- You will need materials such as weather stripping, caulking, sealants, replacement windows, caulk guns, paintbrushes, plastic sheeting for covering up items in your home or workspace that may be damaged by falling debris or dust particles.
- If you plan on doing any exterior work on your windows (such as removing siding to install new windows), you will need plastic sheeting for this as well.
Before beginning the process of window insulation, it is important to know if your windows are in fact energy efficient. This can be achieved by performing a simple test. If you have insulated shades that cover your windows from top to bottom, take them down and then place a lighted candle near any cracks or seams around the windowpane.
If the flame flickers, there is a draft coming through so you should see about correcting this problem immediately.
There are numerous ways to seal updrafts around windows such as installing weather stripping on the inside and out of each window so they fit snugly against their frames – much like how car doors fit tightly against their frames when closed to keep the vehicle warm in winter.
If you are experiencing drafty windows, there are many simple ways to solve this problem. One of the most popular window insulation projects that homeowners undertake is replacing old windows with newer ones that meet today’s energy efficiency standards.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Window Insulation
There are several advantages to undertaking this project yourself rather than hiring a contractor. First, it is much cheaper to do this type of work yourself since contractors generally charge anywhere from $500-$1500 per window depending on the number of panes and their quality materials.
Also, there are numerous companies online so you can shop for your replacement windows at any time without having to leave home! When ordering new windows, be sure to ask what kind of energy savings they can provide when used in conjunction with proper window insulation.
Some homeowners also consider window insulation as a way to change the appearance of their homes for the better. For example, if you are planning on putting your house up for sale shortly, it would be well worth your time to check out replacement windows that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
If you plan on staying put for a while (or at least until you can pay off those new energy-efficient windows!), there are several stunning vinyl replacement windows available through local stores and websites like that can give your home an updated look without breaking the bank.
It is important not to forget about window insulation when winter rolls around again since poorly insulated windows (and doors) mean money lost by paying for heating your home. There are several ways to save on your winter energy bill, and a few dollars spent on window insulation each year will more than pay you back with every utility bill that is lower as a result!
- Low cost. Bubble wrap is very inexpensive, especially when purchased in bulk. A roll of the stuff costs just a few bucks at most home supply stores, and craft supply shops often sell it for next to nothing.
- Bubble wrap’s low price makes it easy to give your windows multiple layers using inexpensive tape like masking tape or packing tape. Easily removed. If you realize after completing your insulation job that you don’t like how it looks (or if you simply want to remove the bubble wrap later), all it takes is a little warm water and gentle pulling to take off each layer individually.
Note: You’ll need some sort of scraping tool—like an old credit card—to help peel away stubborn bubbles stuck on painted surfaces (more on this below).
- This type of window insulation is typically see-through, so it deepens the color of your windows while still providing superior insulation. Permanent.
- Unlike bubble wrap or masking tape, this product doesn’t peel off after a few weeks’ use; rather, window film stays put for good (though you can always remove it if you’d like down the line). Reduces condensation.
- According to Rochester Gas & Electric’s official website, window insulation offers maximum comfort during hot summer months by reducing condensation on your windows (which reduces your AC costs, too).
- Difficult to cut. Since bubble wrap is essentially plastic, it can be difficult to cut without using a sharp blade. It’s especially tough to get the entire piece off one sheet, which means you might have little scraps sticking out between your window panes—making your view less clear and potentially defeating the purpose of window insulation.
- Potential for damage. While bubble wrap won’t ruin paint or wood finishes on its own (provided you leave the bubbles intact), it’s easy to get scissor-happy when cutting through the layers, resulting in some snags that are permanent once heated up by hot sun rays.
- Requires tape. To prevent drafts around your windows while also making sure that every layer stays secure, you’ll need to use tape of some kind—whether it’s traditional masking or packing tape, or a specially designed window insulation product.
- Home supply stores and large department stores don’t typically carry window insulation film, which means that if you go this route you’ll probably have to order the roll online and pay more for shipping than for the actual product (unless your local store offers free shipping).
- Time-consuming. This method takes longer than bubble wrap because each layer needs to be taped individually around the edge of every single window pane. That means cutting individual pieces from one larger piece, pressing them into place on all four sides, and making sure extra secure with tape (on both the top and bottom).
- Difficult to cut. Just like with bubble wrap, window insulation film can be difficult to cut without a sharp blade. Scissor-happy folks may find themselves in the same troublesome situation of snagging on paint, making removal tough (if not impossible).
- Requires tape. Window insulation films require tape, too—and it’s usually not as easy to remove as bubble wrap or traditional masking and packing tapes.
Before you insulate your windows with any materials, make sure that the way they’re currently looking doesn’t play a big role in how much cold air seeps into your home. If there aren’t any cracks or holes letting light and air pass through easily, then adding window insulation will only work against you by trapping excess cold inside.
If you suspect other areas need attention before insulating your windows, like installing weather stripping or window panes (or replacing your windows altogether), do that first. Then, once everything’s ready to go, follow the insulating method you prefer—bubble wrap, insulation film, traditional masking tape—to keep cold drafts at bay throughout winter.
Saving More Through Insulation
Is it necessary to learn how to install a replacement window? You can hire a window installation company to help you add the insulation.
In summary, the importance of window insulation is often underestimated when it comes to the value of a home. If your windows are drafty or old, you can replace them yourself or hire contractors to do the work depending on how much money you would like to spend and how skilled you are at DIY projects.
But do you also need to know how to measure a window for replacement? Not necessarily as a reliable window installation company will cover tehse for you.
If you are starting a window installation project then adding insulation will benefit you greatly. Window insulation is not just for lowering energy costs in the summertime – it also helps keep drafts out during colder weather so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard!