How To Winterize Drafty Windows In The Winter

Time To Fix Those Drafty Windows: Getting Started

For millions of homes across the U.S., leaky, porous and poorly insulated windows become a real problem during the winter months. Even if a household is equipped with the highest grade of wall insulation and highly efficient central heating; drafty windows can increase heating bills and generally make residents uncomfortable.

However, there is good news! There are many cheap and effective solutions to prevent those drafty windows from ruining your living situation. This hub will demonstrate one of these solutions in step-by-step detail. The solution we will be using is window film (aka. window shrink wrap film). Feel free to follow along and leave comments it the comments section if you have any further tips or pointers.

Materials That You Will Will Need:

For this tutorial, we will be using the Frost King: Window Insulation Shrink Kit. It is a winterizing kit that is widely availabe in hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe's. In fact, the link to purchase this same kit on Amazon is below the materials section, on this same page.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Frost King: Window Insulation Shrink KitHeat GunShrink Wrap / Window Insulation Film / Window Shrink WrapSealing Tape
Frost King: Window Insulation Shrink Kit
Frost King: Window Insulation Shrink Kit
Heat Gun
Heat Gun
Shrink Wrap / Window Insulation Film / Window Shrink Wrap
Shrink Wrap / Window Insulation Film / Window Shrink Wrap
Sealing Tape
Sealing Tape

I would quickly like to go over what is inside the Frost King kit. Before you start insulating your windows from the cold, it is important to know the materials that you will be working with:

  • Heat Gun
  • Shrink Wrap / Film
  • Window Seal / Tape
  • Scissors
  • Willpower

1.) Heat Gun: The heat gun will be used to finish off your work. You will essentially "heat seal" a the shrink wrap to your window to prevent the cold from coming through.

2.) Shrink Wrap: An essential tool in winterizing your home, this is the plastic covering that will prevent wind drafts from entering your home from the outside.

3.) Window Seal / Tape: This is simply a special kind of adhesive tape that is used to adhere the shrink wrap (i.e. winter window film) the window itself.

4.) Scissors: Scissors will definitely come in handy for both shaping the Shrink Wrap to the desired dimensions for your window.

5.) Willpower: Winterizing draft windows can be a daunting, tedious task. However, this kit (and other like it) are meant to make winterizing your home windows a breeze.

Frost King V73/9H Indoor Shrink Window Kit 42-Inch by 62-Inch, Clear
Frost King V73/9H Indoor Shrink Window Kit 42-Inch by 62-Inch, Clear

This is the same winterizing kit that we are using for this entire tutorial on winterizing your home windows.

 

Prep Work:

There is only one step of prep work that needs to be undertaken before you proceed to insulate your home windows from the cold. You simply need to clean your windows, paying particular attention to the areas where you will be applying the shrink wrap and the adhesve tape / sealing tape.

Clean windows and areas just outside of window before beginning.
Clean windows and areas just outside of window before beginning.

Have You Ever Winterized Your Windows ? How Did You Do It?

  • I used a winterizing kit that had shrink film and a heat gun. (Just like this tutorial)
  • I used a caulking gun / caulking tape to seal drafty areas on my window.
  • I simply replaced my old windows and got new ones.
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Step 1: Apply The Sealing Tape On Or Near The Window Itself

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Applying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the windowApplying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the window
Applying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the window
Applying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the window
Applying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the window
Applying double-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of the window

After cleaning the window itself and the surrounding areas where you will be applying the sealing tape, you can begin applying the sealing tape on these intended areas. Remember, if you have an inset window [a window that is not flush with the wall but rather inside a depression in the wall], you can apply the sealing tape on the outer perimeter of the depressed wall.

Step 2: Remove Front-Facing Cover of Adhesive Tape

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side. Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side. Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.
Peeling the front-facing side of the double-sided sealing tape to reveal the adhesive side.

Once the adhesive tape has been placed on all necessary sides of the window; you can start peeling off the other side of the adhesive tape (i.e. the side that is not attached to the wall). Make sure that you adhesive tape has completely encircled the target window.

Step 3: Apply Shrink Wrap & Cut It To Fit Size of Window

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Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.  Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.  Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.  Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang. Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang. Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang. Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang.  Then cut off the overhang.
Apply shrink wrap to the window along the path of the adhesive tape, leaving about five inches of overhang. Then cut off the overhang.

You're almost done winterizing your windows and your home. Now let's shrink wrap that window. Apply the plastic shrink wrap from the kit to the window by sticking the shrink wrap to the newly exposed adhesive strips. As you attach the shrink wrap to the adhesive strips, make sure to leave at least 5 inches of overhang. You will then cut the overhang off and properly fit the shrink wrap to the corners and sides of the window.

Step 4: Use The Heat Gun To Shrink Plastic Wrap Onto Window/ Window Space

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Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space. Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space. Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space. Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.
Use the heat gun to tightly fit the plastic shrink wrap to the window / window space.

You're almost done winterizing your windows. Now get out your heat gun and let's properly fit that window shrink wrap. As shown in the pictures above, train your heat gun on the corners and sides of the window shrink wrap. The shrink wrap should eventually tighten around the window space to the point where shrink wrap appears rigid along the window wall.

Job Done :)

And that's it, job well done. You have finished winterizing your first window. Now go and winterize the others before the deep freeze really sets in.

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