Cover Leaking Windows with Plastic

A lot of old windows in your home, apartment, duplex, etc. may be old and leaking. This can allow hot air in your home to escape as well as let cold air in. You can solve this by installing new windows, re-caulk your windows, or cover your windows in plastic.

Methods to Stop Windows from Leaking

Install New Windows

Installing new windows is expensive, but well worth it, as they will stop all the leaks all year round if installed properly. But again installing new windows can be a bit pricey so if you don’t have the money you may want to try a cheaper method of stopping leaking windows.

Re-caulk Old Leaking Windows

Re-caulking windows is cheap and easy to do, but will not stop all the leaks. Re-caulking your windows will only stop leaks around the window’s frame and between window’s glass and it’s frame. Re-caulking your windows will not stop leaks between the glass frame and the window frame or between the glass that slides and the other glass as those have different seals to keep them moving free so you can open your window. Plus re-caulking the between the glass and the glass’s frame could look a little tacky if not done right as this will put caulk on your window’s glass.

Covering Windows with Plastic

Covering your windows in plastic however will be a temporary fix just for the winter season. Covering you windows with plastic will block all air leaks in the window. Sometimes covering your windows in plastic can be a little pain when the plastic is not wanting to go where you want it, but is still very easy to do.

You can buy window kits that come with all the materials needed to cover your windows with plastic. These window kits are pretty nice except some of the double sided tape they come with is kind of cheap and do not have a very strong hold.

I would recommend purchasing 3M window kits or Duck window kits as the tape in these window kits are a lot stronger than some of the other brands of window kits, but you can buy any window kit you like.

How Much Money will I Save Covering Windows with Plastic

This is very hard to answer as every home will have different amount of leaks, different temperatures they have the thermostat set at, different temperatures of the air outside, and efficiency of the furnace. But you will save money on gas or save money on electric as your furnace will not have to work as hard to heat the cool air the windows let in or to replace the hot air that leaked out, as well as not have to run as often. I don’t like not placing a dollar amount and math on these go green tips, but there is really no way for me to calculate an average amount of money saved by covering your windows with plastic.

How to Install Plastic Window Covers

Installing the window kit on your leaking windows is very easy to do. The kits come with easy to follow directions, but here are the steps on how to install plastic on your windows.

Things you will need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Hair Dryer or Heat Gun
  • Scissors
  • Razor Blade or Utility Knife (optional)

Installation Steps:

  1. Measure the window to see how big to cut your plastic. Measure the window frame, wall, or window sill, depending on which one will be the easiest for you. I recommend putting the plastic on the wall if you don’t have any obstacles in the way like an extended window still.
  2. Use the scissors to cut the plastic to the width and height of the window, I usually add a 3-4 inches to each measurement just in case I cut crooked as I don’t use a straight edge or framing square, I don’t need my cuts to be that accurate.
  3. Now hold the plastic up to the window to make sure it fits properly.
  4. Clean the surface with alcohol that you plan on putting the double sided tape on. Some window kits come with alcohol wipes.
  5. Add tape to the window frame or if you don’t have any obstacles in the way you can add the tape to your wall or window sill to cover the entire window. Use the scissors again to cut the double sided tape. Make sure you press the tape down hard running your finger over the tape.
  6. Peal the other side of the tape off to expose the second sticky side. This can be tricky getting the strip off without pulling the tape off completely. So just peal with caution.
  7. Now stretch out the plastic starting at the top and align the plastic with the tape on top first. Push the plastic to the tape. You may want to have someone help you at this point to make sure you don’t get the plastic bunched up.
  8. Now stretch out the sides and press them to the tape, don’t pull too hard when stretching as it may pull the plastic from the tape.
  9. Now stretch out the bottom of the plastic covering and press it to the tape.
  10. Go over the plastic again pressing it hard against the tape. Don’t worry of you have extra plastic hanging over or if there is a bit of bunching up in the center, we will fix this.
  11. Now time to shrink the plastic window cover using a hair dryer or a heat gun. This plastic is low temperature heat shrink, it does not need a lot of heat to shrink it. If you use a heat gun be very careful not to melt the plastic as heat guns can produce a lot of heat. If you are using a hair dryer use the lowest heat setting first to see if it works. If not use a higher heat setting. Start heat shrinking the outside edges first.  like to heat up the tape area first to try and make it stickier. Then I work my way inward then just look around for any crinkles. Do not shrink the plastic too much. The more you shrink the plastic the more stress it puts on the tape. I don’t shrink mine until they are perfect because I tend to have the plastic pull from the tape if I do this.
  12. Use the razor blade or utility knife to cut excess plastic from the edges.
  13. Done! You may now clean up your scraps and throw them away before your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife starts nagging about the mess you made! Then move on to the next window.

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