Window Wrapping for Winter

Back Window

It’s cold and wet with slate grey skies.  The trees are all bare.  It is November.  I have a November job that I dread and have been putting off for weeks, but I have to start.  I have to winterize the windows.

We live in an old house with a lot of windows.  The windows are pretty new, but cheap and they weren’t really installed very well.  Heating bills are astronomical.  So I have to take care of the windows, there’s no alternative except to go deeply in dept every winter.

Over the years I’ve experimented and have come up with a method that seems to work.  After closing the window as tightly as possible and latching them, I cover all of the seems with weather sealing tape.  I’m sure duct tape would work just as well and I may switch since duct tape is about a quarter the cost.  I measure a length and split it in half since there’s no sense in using a two inch (5 cm) wide piece of tape to cover an eighth (3 mm) of an inch gap. Sometimes it is less than that, but, unfortunately, the gap can be almost a quarter of an inch (about 7.5 mm).

After the seams have been covered I surround the window with double sided tape.  I use a 45 degree cut so the corners match up very well.  I put a second row of tape above the window and below the window.  I then stretch the plastic film, one side at a time.  This creates a pretty good, transparent boundary.

I am always surprised at how much a difference this film makes.  I won’t realize there’s a draft or that it’s cool around a window until I finish putting up the film.  I’m also surprised at how much taping the seams adds – I can tell from the feel if I missed the taping step.

The process takes about a half an hour per window.  There are a few windows i leave covered all year.  I have done five this morning.  I’m not going to say how many more I have, it’s too depressing.

There are things in this life that are boring but we still have to do them.  That little bit of extra time to ensure a good job is well worth it in the long run.  For me, winterizing the house is one of those things that a few hours (few dozen hours?) of tedious boredom gives me, and my pocketbook, months of satisfaction.

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30 thoughts on “Window Wrapping for Winter

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  4. prior2001

    We’ll be sure to play some zoning music while u winterize ;) – and really came to say that the photo in the reader looked super cool – the scissors and tape with all that color in the background – cool shot!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yeah, I pretty much do zone when I’m doing the windows ;) Somebody suggested using heavy curtains. That picture shows why I don’t – my back yard is pretty! Thanks, I was pleased with how well that picture worked.

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      1. prior2001

        Yeah I would want the view too- and we have one room that is a bit drafty and very bright in the early morning (faces eastern early morning sunrise) and stumbled upon this metallic reflective window cling thing that rolls up and it actually works well – rolls down at night – up during day – and then also layered curtains –

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          1. prior2001

            well if the plastic works – I’d keep doing it! We did this in Western New York when I lived there (feels like lifetime ago) and it really does help. and by the way – checked out that SP song you linked and the Digital Age band might sound more like smashing pumpkins than I realized – whoa – and I only know a few SP songs so I truly enjoyed the song you linked -I did not love the song, but it was just fun to hear more from this band and then 1979 came on and brought me back.

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              Plastic works for now. I’ll have to go back and listen to more of Digital Age. Sp is the band I have in mind when I hear them, but something from that era. Oasis? I don’t know. I think the SP song is pretty good, one of my favorite Christmas songs put out by a rock/pop band in the last 30 or so years.

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              1. prior2001

                how did I miss that song from them? Gosh, it is so unique – and will be on my playlist for this coming holiday – and there is is one Christmas song you have to check out – It is called Christmas Day by The Family Force 5 –

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  5. sonyaliraphotography

    The area y’all live in gets so cold I can see how you would have to do something to keep out the cold. We need to replace windows. We got a bid last year about this time for $7000.00. We were figuring it would be around $4000.00 .I think it might me less of a shock to do a few windows at a time. I think the $7000.00 bid was a little to high, but we never got any other bids. We have done the duct tape thing it works. I think I want one of those flat panel electric wall fireplace heaters. I thought they were just for looks but then I read on them they are actual heaters.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I have some flat panel heaters but not the fireplace ones. I do use electric heaters to supplement, keeping most of the house cool and warming up the rooms we use. I haven’t had an estimate on windows, but a few of my friends did theirs a few at a time. Seeing the price people paid for quality windows and looking at how many we would have to do, well, let’s just say if it were $7000 I’d jump on it immediately ;)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          We have around 40. Prices I’ve heard from people doing them have ranged from $500 to $900 a window, installed. But even at $400/window (you were talking about round $412), we’d still be talking around $16,000. Maybe a little at a time over several years…

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                    1. trentpmcd Post author

                      The snow last year was… even -I- was almost ready to move to Texas! We have the cottage on Cape Cod and our first year there 2 years ago there was no snow. I mean, there would be a few inches and it’d be gone in a week. Not last year! Anyway, amount of snow is one reason I’m going to move to the Cape full time when I retire.

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  6. Corina

    I need to do this. I never have. I have a couple of kits but I’ve never done it. My daughter and her boyfriend keep saying they will do it for me but it has been three winters since I bought the kits and they still haven’t done it. They’ve done theirs but not mine! I might try it by myself. We’ll see. Good tutorial, though. It makes it sound easier than i thought it would be.

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  7. Solveig

    Oh that sounds like hard work…
    My parents bought thick curtains a few years back as they protect against the cold (they have single glazing and Woden frames so the wind comes through) and the heat of the summer are kept at bay. It still gets cold but the difference can be felt.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I have thought about heavy curtains for the back windows. The front of the house faces south so we get a lot of light and heat on sunny days. But then I wouldn’t have the view of the woods out the back ;)

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