Looking for cheap way to stop your precious heat being sucked through the glass of your windows? Well, there is a way…
Bubble Wrap. Yep, another use for nearly everyone’s favourite toy. Who hasn’t spent mindless minutes popping these sheets of tempting plastic bubbles?
How does it work?
You may remember that I’ve said that the best insulator is a pocket of still air. With bubble wrap you have two good insulators, plastic (the sheets) and air (the bubbles).
Does it work?
Yep. We’re happy that it does. We don’t have any data on kWh or dollars saved, but there was a noticeable improvement in personal comfort in all rooms so insulated. The main difference was in the temperature difference between the lounge and the master bedroom at the other end of the house.
This year, that difference was less than 1 degree centigrade with no heater in the bedroom. We’ve been using this temperature difference as an indicator since we had the roof fully sealed and insulated.
The improvements have been as follows –
- before insulation: 4 degrees C with heater in both rooms
- after insulation: 1 degree C with no heater in bedroom
- with bubble wrap: close to 0 with no heater in bedroom
There it is, a low tech solution to some of your heating problems!
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, there’s 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!