Can you use bubble wrap for affordable window insulation?
UPDATE: November 4, 2014
According to @BCHydro my October energy use dropped 1148 to 752 kw using bubble wrap on my windows comparing 2013 to 2014 stats. BC Hydro
So the ‘kids’, my dear friends Alex and Jenna needed bubble wrap to pack up for their move to Calgary and asked me if I had any? Just some bits and pieces which I gave them.
I live in a moldy run down 1970’s trailer, or ‘modular home’ as my friends insist I call it.
The windows are ghastly energy suckers!
I can’t afford new energy efficient windows, which got me thinking to Google ‘bubble wrap’ and see if it would work as window insulation and maybe reduce my energy bill? Sure enough there was a over 100,000 references about it.
So after reading up I went to our local Sechelt U-Lock Storage Solutions as they have inexpensive HUGE BULK rolls of bubble wrap.
I found several excellent articles expounding the virtues of bubble wrap insulation and how green it is (well the plastic oil product aside), but the energy efficiency is a bonus. Thought it might be a lot easier then putting cling plastic on with a blow dryer.
Bubble wrap is commonly used in greenhouses, so if it works for them, it’ll work for you!
Got this photo from an article by FoodLoversDiary about insulating your greenhouse
“I’ve used bubble wrap on windows for two three+ years now,
and I’m amazed how quick and easy it is…” writes Build it Solar.
Turns out it was way easier then I thought, so I had to share with you!
The basics are you buy medium sized bubble wrap, cut the bubble wrap to size of the window, wet the window with water and stick the bubble side towards the window pane, lightly press it so it will stick.
I waited a couple days to see if it would fall off and wow it stuck! Save for a few corners that curled which I just wet the window again and pressed the bubble wrap back against the pane.
The stubborn pieces, due to their size, I thumb tacked in place, or used tape so as not to ruin the wall paint. Maybe use double sided tape if you have it.
One thing I did notice was it let TONS of light in, like a magnifier, which I think helped warm up the house as well, a real blessing for my dark trailer interior and drafty construction.
And WOW do the plants LOVE it too!!! They are really healthy and loving the Sunshine.
The draw back, which a friend pointed out on my Facebook Profile, was the bubble wrap obscures your view.
After putting it on, I didn’t think it was that badly obscured, I mean, I could still see out ok and could clearly make out my neighbours.
Which brings me to another point…
As I don’t have curtains, so I hang fabric and Canadian flags for privacy (like I am still a college student LOL), it was quite obvious that the neighbours could clearly see into my house with no problem!
If you have curtains, you are all set to go.
What I did though, as I desperately want the bright Sunshine to fill the house up with its beautiful rays of joy, was to put a second layer of bubble wrap slightly off centre from the first layer. Only problem was, the bubble wrap did not stick to the bubble wrap, so I resorted to thumb tacks. It worked! Now I have the beautiful Sun, and privacy.
Despite an obscured view for half the year (at least here in Canada) the energy efficiency is worth it though, as in the Spring when temperatures warm up heading into Summer, you just peel it off, pack it away and re-use the bubble wrap insulation again next year! BONUS!
One CAUTION I do want to mention, is if you put this on a window where there is a base board heater or such, be sure to firmly secure the bubble wrap with numerous thumb tacks so it won’t fall off and cause a fire. Double check it from time to time to be safe. So far, I’ve had absolutely no problems and the plastic has not melted.
Of course, you’ll have to clean the windows when you take the bubble wrap off, use some environmentally friendly vinegar, but who wouldn’t want to welcome the Sun back for another year with bright clean windows?
If you can’t afford to buy bubble wrap, Build It Solar suggests you ask your friends if they have some, or check with furniture stores, sporting goods stores, appliance stores etc….
Where to buy?
I bought mine at Sechelt U-Lock a storage company near where I live on the Sunshine Coast BC.
Ton of stores selling it on the internet… Here’s what came up on Google.
Shit! Now I’m going to be seeing ‘bubble wrap’ ads on every website I go visit. ARGHH!
Let me know how you make out with this? Hope this article helps!
Any questions, or comments you want to share, just post them below, thanks!
It’s Always A Good Day on the Sunshine Coast!
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