Bubble wrap insulation for windows – it really works!

Right now we are enjoying some incredibly cold temperatures in the South.  I know that people who are used to colder temps think we are kind of silly when we do get cold weather. I’ve heard plenty of transplanted Northerners say that we’re overreacting but we’re not, I promise.

Our houses aren’t built for super cold weather. Our roads are filled with people unfamiliar with driving in snow or worse, ice.  Speaking of ice – that stuff is way, way scarier than any snow.  Ice will keep me home way before snow does.

I live in a 60 year old house.  Like many older homes, it’s not very well insulated, plus the windows really need to be replaced.  I have lived here for 11 years, and of course there have been some cold snaps in that time.  Tonight, however, is supposed to dip down to 5 degrees and beat the former record from 1970 – before I was even born!

School was cancelled today, based on predictions of an ice/snow event that pretty much missed us. The record low temps have not missed us, though, and I spent most of the day at home doing weatherproofing that I was too sick to do this weekend.

Over the weekend, I unhooked my garden hoses and wrapped the faucets with insulation to protect them.  Ace was sold out of the nice faucet covers, of course. That’s probably good because one of my hoses would not come off at all.  I googled solutions endlessly but finally decided to just cut the hose off as near to the faucet as possible.  After I wrapped them, I duct-taped a grocery bag onto them.  Ugly, but hopefully effective.

I have 2 spaces that are super cold – my main bathroom, and the playroom/laundry room area. I am not sure why my main bathroom is so cold – the window is smaller than those in the bedrooms, and it’s right between them. But that room is famously chilly.  I know why the playroom is cold – it is directly over a  badly insulated carport and has huge, poorly designed old windows. Duh.

Now – on to the super cold windows.  I think if I can get the windows under control the house might be OK. I have louvered windows in the playroom/laundry area.    They need to be replaced, but that’s super spendy – meanwhile, they are kind of perma-stuck with the slats open and a bit drafty.

I tried the bubble wrap fix in my bathroom first.  I saw a few pins about this, and they said I just needed to spray the window with water to make the bubble wrap stick.  I didn’t have a spray bottle (really, do I have anything I need for this weather??? so much for all the prepper sites I follow!!)  I used a sponge to dampen the window panes instead. Worked like a charm.  I cut the bubble wrap to fit the windows, smoothed it into place and it adhered nicely to the damp panes.

This is just regular small bubble wrap that I use to wrap for ebay shipping.  I have heard that large bubble wrap works well too – so you might just scavenge from packages if you don’t want to buy rolls of it.

So far, it’s sticking even through my showers, and the room feels WAY warmer than it did before. I wish I had done some sort of comparison with a thermometer, but I do know that it feels much more comfortable than it before, even in this frigid weather.

bubble wrap window

I didn’t have enough bubble wrap for the 3 windows in the back. I know you’re wondering why I didn’t run out for more – but really, Ace Hardware was a dark and scary place on Saturday when I went hunting for faucet covers. Not happening again – I decided to test my creativity instead.  So I hung blankets and quilts over 2 windows and used the remaining bubble wrap on the laundry room window.

Because of the weird louvers I could not figure out how to effectively use the water method.  I said to heck with it and used packing tape – it’s not like these are top-notch windows I want to keep.

Bottom line – the back rooms are staying around 64/65 degrees even as the temp drops drastically so I call that a win!  I watched the temp increase about 1.5-2 degrees within an hour of putting up the bubble wrap. It’s currently 12 outside, and dropping, and my heat pump is set at 69 with auxiliary heat kicking in frequently. I refuse to go above 70 just on principle.

Tonight I’ll move the boys to my bed, to maximize the warmth benefits of the family bed.  I’ll open a stream of hot and cold water from my faucets, and hope for the best from the rest of my old house!