Bubble wrap can be easily applied to windows as insulation.
A while ago, I wrote a post called ‘Bubble Wrap Insulation‘.
That post was aimed at keeping the Winter cold out and our precious heat in but as its been so hot here lately, I thought I’d measure the difference it made on the windows in Summer.
The digital weather station with today’s temperatures.
The pic above shows the weather station in the lounge. You can see the inside and outside temperatures. The digital ‘gun’ type hand held spot thermometer that I used to take the other measurements agrees with this, within a few 1/10ths of a degree.
The bubble wrap pulled back so that I could get a comparison.
To prepare the window, I pulled the bubble wrap off of one half of a window and left the other half attached. Then I left it for half an hour before measuring.
The window wasn’t in direct sunshine, it was under light shade and indirect light. The temperature measured, then, was the ambient or radiant temperature both insulated and un-insulated.
You can see from the pic of the weather station that the inside temp was 27°C while the outside temp was 38°C.
The temperature on un-insulated glass.
The temperature on insulated glass
The un-insulated part of the window measured 38°C while the temp on the inside of the Bubble Wrap was 36°C.
That’s a two degree Celsius difference and the difference remained consistent throughout the daylight hours and until the we put the air conditioner on several hours later.
Bubble wrap then provided enough of a difference to be said to have an insulating effect. I don’t know about you, but, subjectively, I can’t discern temperature differences of one degree, but two degrees makes a noticeable difference.
All in all, combined with the Winter measurements in my other blog post, we readily can say that adding bubble wrap to window glass will make a difference to the internal temperature of your house.
How to apply bubble wrap to your window
It’s soooo easy to apply bubble wrap to your windows. You’ll wonder why you never tried it before! I know I did!
Just wet the glass and the bubble wrap will stick
Simply cut the bubble wrap to size.
Clean the window glass, wipe it over with a damp cloth, making sure that the glass surface stays pretty moist.
Then, just press the bubble wrap lightly against the glass and viola! It stays there. This bond is pretty strong and the wrap will stay there until you pull it off.
If, for some reason, it does peel off, just add more water and reapply.
I like to use a single layer of clear bubble wrap so that it still allows plenty of light in. It’s up to you though, theres even coloured wrap for you to make insulating, stained glass window coverings from.
How does it work?
The most effective, affordable insulator is still air. Even your batts and blow in type insulations rely on this. They are really just a matrix with hundreds and thousands of gaps, each filled with motionless air.
You can see that bubble wrap is similar. Different brands have different amounts of bubbles and different sized bubbles. These bubbles play the role of the insulator.
Also, plastic by itself is an insulator. Bubble wrap is really two layers of plastic pressed together in a way that allows bubbles to be formed. These layers act as an insulator too and have a different coefficient for conducting heat than glass.
On a more expensive scale, you can get acrylic sheets, insulating films and double or even triple glazing. These all work on the same two basic principles that bubble wrap as an insulator that give bubble wrap its properties. Of course, bubble wrap is much cheaper, if not free!