Having an office seat by the window will offer you a sweet view out into the world but may also subject you to cold drafts in the winter months. While you layer yourself up in sweaters and scarves, you might consider this energy-efficient, inexpensive, easy DIY solution: bubble wrap insulation.

Build It Solar has been standing behind this simple technique for insulating windows for years. Though bubble wrap may not be an ideal permanent solution for your drafty window, it’s certainly a quick and excellent temporary fix that’ll add up in savings on your energy bill.

How do you insulate a window with bubble wrap?

The only materials required are bubble wrap (large or small bubbles — though they say large bubbles insulate better), a knife and a spray bottle.

The process is also just as easy: spray the window with water, press the bubble side of the bubble wrap up against the window — cut off any excess wrap. There’s no need for tape or glue because the water works as an adhesive.

This is a perk for those who have irregular window shapes, as bubble wrap will fit any kind of window.

How well does bubble wrap insulate?

With single pane windows having an R value of less than one (0.8), the installation of bubble wrapping will keep the R value at about two. In case you didn’t know, the R value is a way of measuring insulation for buildings.

From Build It Solar:

For an 7000 deg-day climate (northern US), and single glazed windows, the bubble wrap increases the R value from about R1 to about R2. This cuts the heat loss from the window in half.

Heat losses with and without bubble wrap for 1 sqft of window are:

Heat loss w/o wrap = (7000 deg-day)(1 ft^2) (24 hr/day) / (1 ft^2-F/BTU) = 168K BTU per season

Heat loss with wrap = (7000 deg-day)(1 ft^2) (24 hr/day) / (2 ft^2-F/BTU) = 88K BTU per season

Insulation in less than five minutes

While it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing form of window insulation, it’s inexpensive and will lead to energy savings. It’s a quick fix to an uninvited draft that will add itself onto your next energy bill.

For those interested in incentives and rebates, check out this offer.


Image credit: CMMahon