Archive for the ‘Insulation’ Category

Bubblewrapping the windows

March 24, 2013

I wrote this post three years ago, so you’ll need to read it to understand what I’m going to write now. Go and have a look and I’ll wait here.

Right. Well, the bubblewrap was starting to disintegrate, particularly at the bottom of the windows which is the area that gets the most sun. The eaves protect the top of the windows. After three years I think that’s pretty good going.

I was in two minds about whether to replace it, since it meant sending a lot of plastic to landfill and that’s something I try to avoid. Luckily I managed to save some half-decent stuff which I can use for packaging. I researched other means of protecting windows, but most of the focus was on keeping the sun out rather than keeping the heat in. One is a summer thing; one is a winter thing. I’m interested in the winter thing.

This time I haven’t done all the windows I did last time; just three of the four bedrooms and the bathroom. The fourth bedroom is a messy workshop cum junk room which I can close off from the rest of the house on winter evenings and the living area has heavy(ish) drapes.

Here’s one window two-thirds done to show the difference:

friday 005

I bought the bubblewrap from Officeworks again and I couldn’t believe that a 25 metre roll STILL costs $16! Something has to have changed—maybe this is inferior plastic. We’ll see how long this lot lasts.

Further note: I was lucky that the roll of bubble wrap is 37.5 cm wide and my windows are exactly three times that, so all I had to do was cut three lengths for each window and put it up. The bathroom window is the only off-size one and that meant cutting a length vertically into a less wide strip, but it’s no problem; it cuts easily with scissors.

Further further note: Regarding sending plastic to landfill. I’m pretty confident than somewhere in the dim mists of the future, a species of bacteria will evolve that can eat plastic. All the atoms in it are Earth atoms in a novel form; no part of it has come from outer space. And come to think of it, even it it had, those atoms would still be ones common to the entire universe and therefore probably common to Earth. In other words, Life is such that, if there’s a resource going free somewhere, eventually something will evolve to utilise it. [But that’s not to say I—or you—should be shoving as much plastic as I/we please into landfill. After all, plastic is made from crude oil and I’d rather we kept that stuff (which is diminishing) for future energy needs, while we work out how we are going to live without it. (Rant over)].

Bubblewrap’s not just for packaging!

July 2, 2010

Some time ago, I found this site which details an easy and inexpensive way of covering windows with bubblewrap to improve insulation.

Our front door had two clear glass panels which I’d never been happy with from a privacy point of view, so I fossicked round in the cupboard and found some bubblewrap. Half an hour’s work and this is how it looked:

It’s been there now for about 9 months and has never once fallen off. The only thing that’s happened is that sometimes it peels away from the top corners a bit and all it takes is a fine spray of water on the glass and it’s back in place. It looks for all the world like ornamental frosted glass and most people are surprised to find it’s just plain old bubblewrap.

At the moment, we’re in the midst of a super-cold snap and I began to think more about bubblewrap for its insulation benefits. I bought a 25 metre roll at Officeworks for $16 and got to work.

All our windows are large and in two sections; one side is fixed and the other side opens out, with a flywire screen on the inside. I’m covering all the fixed sides with bubblewrap. I was halfway through doing the kitchen window when I got sidetracked and didn’t get back to it for some hours. Just out of interest, I put my hand on the bubblewrapped section and then on the still-unprotected glass. The temperature difference was amazing! There should now be a 50% reduction in heat loss over each window.

It lets  enough light through and visibility, while impaired on the bubblewrapped side, is still possible through the untreated side. I don’t even need to close the drapes for privacy. It’s easy to put up and just as easy to take down and store away if needed. I’m really pleased with it.

One tip: I found the easiest way to get it perfectly attached to the glass is to gently roll it on with a paint roller.

Here’s the kitchen window: