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In the winter, windows are a significant avenue for heat loss. It is a common practice to attach plastic film over window openings to create a double-pane effect. Heat-shrink plastic can be purchased in kits that contain double-sided tape for attaching the clear plastic film, preserving a clear view while cutting heat loss. DIY solutions often use common package-sealing tape, duct tape, staples or even wooden battens and nails.

These methods have a tendency to leave stains, adhesive residues or physical damage on walls surrounding windows, making them undesirable for people who rent their dwellings, or who wish to minimize such damage to their own property. Alternative solutions have used wooden or metal frames to insert into window openings, but these can be costly or time consuming to construct.

In this instructable, a method is described for quickly and non-destructively hanging 1 mil plastic sheeting to the inside of a recessed window opening, creating a good, if imperfect, second pane for winter insulation. It works by holding the plastic in place with spring-tension curtain rods or bamboo rods.

Step 1: Using 6-foot Long Bamboo

I bought this bamboo from a local home center / hardware store. It is inexpensive and flexible. For a small window, they work quite well. In the summer, use them as cheap fishing rods.

Step 2: Cheap Plastic or Expensive Plastic?

This is 1 mil thick plastic dropcloth. The 0.7 mil plastic is cheaper, but also very fragile. Pay the extra nickel for the good stuff.

This type is not very transparent, so you won't be seeing much outside. Kind of a shower-door effect.

Step 3: I Am Glad I Don't Have to Describe This

Look at the picture.

Bend and place the two bamboo rods inside the window opening.
The bamboo tensions itself against the corners.

Step 4: Hang the Plastic

Cut the plastic a bit bigger than the window opening. I make mine about a foot bigger in both dimensions, because I want a generous margin for error. The excess can be trimmed later.

Pull back the bamboo, and then put the plastic between it and the window frame. Let the bamboo snap back to hold it in place.

Go to the next top corner and . . .

Do I really have to spell this out for you?

Step 5: Here It Is Again! How Nice.

In case you want to complain, yes I know that it doesn't make an AIR TIGHT SEAL with the window.
I find that this doesn't matter a whole lot. If I want a better seal, I'd use tape, or make a wooden framed insert, or shell out for triple-pane windows.

I find that this solution works pretty well, and I can feel the difference in a room after it is installed.

Step 6: Alternate Method - Spring-tension Curtain Rod

Using a spring-tension curtain rod (or two) to hold up the plastic gives a neater result. In addition, these rods are very adjustable and fit a wide variety of window sizes. The bamboo rod method only works on a few windows in our house.
<p>Es mejor idea de lo que pueda parecer a simple vista. Est&eacute;ticamente no queda demasiado bien pero tiene evidentes ventajas que solo el que se ha visto en el problema de aislar una ventana puede entender.<br>Sorry, my english no good.<br>It is better idea than you can think if you see quickly. Estetic not good, but it has advantages that you only can understand if you needed insulate a window.</p>
You could probably use a second piece of bamboo on each side just reversed which would creat a tighter seal all the way around. Wouldn't be that much more expensive or time intensive.
A nice "qick fix"-able. II've also thought of placing metal runners on the frame, and holding the plastic down with magnetic strips (against the frame). I might make an instructable for this, if I can get the parts - and talk my wife into letting me try. :P
This is a pretty good idea. When I cover my windows, I do use the double-sided tape, but I use a small space heater to shrink the plastic instead of a wimpy hair dryer. This produces perfect results and at a quick glance, it is difficult to tell that the window is actually sealed. It's important to keep the heater moving though, or else you'll melt the plastic. Here is a picture that I just took of the results with my iSight camera..... so expect poor quality, and, it is midnight.
that's impressive!
Thanks, I was very suprised with the results.
.....would definitely add tape....

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