does plastic over windows really help insulate?

shadow

Golden Member
Oct 13, 1999
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these windows are not double paned, just regular single paned. The apartment is half above ground, half below.

shadow
 

amdskip

Lifer
Jan 6, 2001
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Not as much as some people think but it does help to keep the drafts down and I sure sell enough of the stuff at Walmart.
 

wnied

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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Insulate? No. But it does cut back on some of the cold breeze coming through the window in winter.


~wnied~
 

shadow

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Oct 13, 1999
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lol, I meant the effect of covering windows with plastic.

so far the verdict is that it does not really help, only with drafts, of which there are none in this apartment.

shadow
 

NogginBoink

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
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I dunno for sure, but...

Air is an excellent thermal insulator. With fiberglass insulation, the fiberglass doesn't insulate; it traps air which insulates.

Given the low cost of the solution, I'd say you'd probably at LEAST break even on trying it out.
 

amdskip

Lifer
Jan 6, 2001
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Originally posted by: shadow
lol, I meant the effect of covering windows with plastic.

so far the verdict is that it does not really help, only with drafts, of which there are none in this apartment.

shadow
Everyone has drafts my friend.
 

shadow

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Oct 13, 1999
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are we talking about the convection effect cold window panes have on the air inside? Or air from the outside making it's way inside?

define draft.

if there is air coming from the outside to the inside, then I need better seals. Does the plastic improve the the insulative properties of the window, barring drafts.

shadow
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
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Originally posted by: shadow
are we talking about the convection effect cold window panes have on the air inside? Or air from the outside making it's way inside?

define draft.

if there is air coming from the outside to the inside, then I need better seals. Does the plastic improve the the insulative properties of the window, barring drafts.

shadow

Yes. It creates a pocket of air between the pane of glass and plastic. That air pocket is a good insulator. It's the same damn concept as double paned windows.
 

shadow

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Oct 13, 1999
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look, I understand the physics, I am looking for some experience, I am looking for people with numbers. I am looking for someone who has used it before and has seen a decrease in electric/gas bills.

shadow
 

Amused

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Apr 14, 2001
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Originally posted by: shadow
look, I understand the physics, I am looking for some experience, I am looking for people with numbers. I am looking for someone who has used it before and has seen a decrease in electric/gas bills.

shadow

I have no numbers. I have insulated windows. sorry :)
 

BillGates

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Nov 30, 2001
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I asked a similar question earlier this week but did not get any real info - I think I'll go for it, can't be too expensive. Any money saved on electric bills is more money for toys!
 

Antisocial Virge

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Dec 13, 1999
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It makes a huge difference. We close off our old patio door with it. You can notice a difference in room temperature in a matter of minutes actually. It will depend how bad your windows are though.
 

Evadman

Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Feb 18, 2001
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Originally posted by: shadow
look, I understand the physics, I am looking for some experience, I am looking for people with numbers. I am looking for someone who has used it before and has seen a decrease in electric/gas bills.

shadow

As an employee @ Home Depot, ( or was anyway ) I can tell you with authority it helps. I have had customers tell me it helped 10-20% on their heating bills.

That being said, it is a band-aid. A better idea would be to get storm windows. Larson makes good ones for the money. Their "bronse" series. DO NOT BUY MI ( metal industries ) storm windows, they blow goats. hardcore.

Hell, just get new windows. A vinyl window would do wonders. Home depot sells "Silverline" in my area, with a price of $174.87 for a window that is 92-101 u.i.(average around here)I have not worked there for 3 months and I still have that memorized. I'm good.

If you can install the plastic, you can install new vinyl windows. Theya re simple as hell. Silverline are the best for the $ that I have seen, with the possable exception of Owens Corning, but they are sold to comercial contractors only IIRC.
 

Zedtom

Platinum Member
Nov 23, 2001
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Shadow, I've done it on three different houses that I was renting. I own my house now, and the windows are double paned.

The above replies seem to assume that everyone has plenty of ready cash. People don't think about insulation until they get their utility bills and freak out. If you live in a apartment or a rental house, and your landlord won't pay for it, you gotta do the cheap thing.

A roll of good quality plastic sheeting is about twenty bucks, and you'll need some plastic tape which is around five bucks. You stretch it tight on the INSIDE of the window. It might look a little ghetto if you use real cheap plastic, so buy the clearest and thickest you can afford. The change in room temperature should be noticed immediately. You cut out the drafts and create a new air pocket.
 

Yes it works very good if you have single pane windows.
Before I had my house renovated with double panes, I saw an average 15% energy savings using a good quality plastic sheet.
Just for sh!ts and giggles, I tried it two winters after the double panes were installed and only saw a very slight difference.
 

B00ne

Platinum Member
May 21, 2001
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I dont think the plastic helps insulation, I think it rather decreases production costs and u dont have to repaint the frame every so often..

what do u mean with regular single paned windows - does that mean ur windows only have one layer of glass?? If u call that regular... - well maybe around 1900 that was regular.

If u really worry about insulation get double or triple glass windows (triple glass is also better against noise).


edit: oops, u r not talking about frame material?
 

Analog

Lifer
Jan 7, 2002
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Originally posted by: shadow
lol, I meant the effect of covering windows with plastic.

so far the verdict is that it does not really help, only with drafts, of which there are none in this apartment.

shadow

absolutely. A set of heavy wool curtains would also dampen any radiated heat as well.
 

Woodie

Platinum Member
Mar 27, 2001
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BTW, single-paned glass was still common in New England well into the 1970's.

Plastic covering does help significantly over a single-paned window. No $$ track, but I know it made a difference (I didn't have to chop as much wood!)
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
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Yup
An easy way to check is to put a thermometer directly against the glass for a day and then put it up next to a plastic coated window ( Do not force the plastic against the glass).

This will give you a reading.

The cost of a $4-5 roll of plastic is well worth is. Figure 1/2 hours per window to install it.
Also check wall outlets on outside of house for drafts.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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Air is an excellent thermal insulator. With fiberglass insulation, the fiberglass doesn't insulate; it traps air which insulates. Given the low cost of the solution, I'd say you'd probably at LEAST break even on trying it out.
Exactly, insulation is nothing more than air trapped in a dead space, even if this is accomplished by trapping air in millions of tiny little spaces, pores, or pockets, or if it is trapped in one larger dead space. Its all the same underlying concept, just different applications.