DIY Window Insulation

by Beth Hurtubise

According to, 18%-20% of the heat seeping out of your home escapes through your windows. Luckily, there’s a way to curb this loss without hiring a contractor or ordering entire new windows. Here is eco18’s guide to weatherproofing your windows.

Materials you will need:

  • Clean work rag
  • Roll of double-sided tape
  • Window insulation (available at most hardware stores)
  • Weather stripping – rubber or foam (available at most hardware stores)
  • Blow dryer
  • Scissors


  1. To choose which windows in your house most need to be weatherized, have one person stand outside while you point the blow dryer at the window from the inside. If the person outside is able to feel a gust from the blow dryer when putting a hand near the outside of the window, you should weatherize.
  2. Use the rag to clean off the area around your window, ensuring that all debris, loose paint, dust, etc. are removed. The entire surface should be clean and dry.
  3. Plug any openings on the edges of the window with weather stripping.
  4. Outline the frame of the window with double-sided tape, making sure to cover the entire outline all the way to each corner. This will serve as the seal, so it is important that the ends of the tape meet.
  5. Apply the window insulation to the other side of the double-stick tape, leaving about 2-3 inches of excess on each side, top and bottom. Start at the center to apply and work your way down by alternating on the left and right to avoid pulling more to one side.
  6. Make sure there aren’t any gaps or holes in the seal around the window. Don’t worry if it’s not completely taut (that’s what the blow dryer is for).
  7. Put the blow dryer on the lowest heat setting and heat the insulation. Be sure to keep it a few inches away so that the plastic doesn’t melt and work from the outside in. Take your time with this step so that in the end, there are no wrinkles in the insulation and it’s pulled tight, like a drum. From across the room, it shouldn’t look like there is any plastic covering the window.
  8. Use your scissors to cut away the excess insulation on each side of the window.

Here is one of our favorite demo videos on the subject, from the Green Dream Group:

Insulating your windows will save energy spent heating your home, as well as money spent paying for that extra energy. Many people keep their insulation up year round, to keep the heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. If, however, you choose to only use it in the winter so that you can easily open your windows in the summer, it might be less expensive and wasteful over time to purchase a reusable window insulation kit.

Other ways to protect your home in the winter months include:

  • Insulating electrical outlets
  • Caulk the gap between the window molding and the siding of your house
  • Use freeze caps to protect outside spigots in the winter

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