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Insulating home window tint for cheap? Answered

Winter is coming like they say on the wall...
For me it means I need to find some option to increase the insulation rating of these old windows.
3mm thick glass in not really fully sealing sliding frames is a pain.

For my last place I had the permission to put proper foil on the windows at my costs.
I guesstimated what I need and just ordered the required amount on a roll.
That was a few years back though and now prices exploded.
Last time I had to pay around $3 AU per meter, now the same material is quoted at $14.95 AU per meter :(
My windows go from floor to ceiling and at these prices covering them would cost me more than a months rent.

I am sure insulating window tint is available outside AU as well.
Does anyone know any sources with half decent prices and low shipping costs?
Found one supplier in the US willing to ship to AU but was quoted over $100US for the shipping of one roll (120m).
Means all up I would be looking at still a bit over $600US plus postage and there must be cheaper options :(


Jack A Lopez

3 months ago

You know, the inside of your house is not like the vacuum of deep space.

To say that another way, I think heat is moving in ways besides just radiative transfer, like convection; i.e. currents of air moving downward against the smooth, flat, cold, window glass.

So I think you are putting too much emphasis on reflective film.

Also for south-facing... I mean north-facing windows, in your case... I mean the sunny side of the building. For those windows, you want the sun shining in at full strength, during those parts of those days when the sun is shining.

Anyway, my recommendation for window insulation is big panels made of solid foam insulation, like expanded polystyrene, cut to fit into the windows that do not get a lot of sun. Strips of fluffy fabric can be jammed into the cracks around the perimeter of the foam block, in case there are drafts around the sides of the block. I have found terrycloth,
works well for this.

Obviously one of the drawbacks of a big foam block jamming up the window, is that you have essentially turned a window into a wall, and you cannot see through the window anymore.

However, insecurity cameras are cheap these days. So maybe you could set up some of those, if you really want to "see" what is outside, on the other side of the window.

One the advantages for big foam block, especially if you are renting, is that it is extremely simple to return the window to its former state. You just pull out the foam block and the terrycloth strips, and maybe clean the window if it is full dust and spiders.

For sun-facing windows, I think the optimal embodiment would be some kind of light shutters, that can open to admit light radiation when it is sunny outside, and close to block radiation at night or other non-sunny times. Or possibly even big, flower petal like, mirrored panels, bolted to the exterior wall, that open and close, to bounce even more sunlight through the window.

Although I have to admit, I have not actually succeeded in building a really optimal light shutter for sun-facing windows. Kind of the best practical light shutter I have come up with, is just some old-fashioned curtains, that have to be manually opened and closed.

Downunder35mJack A Lopez

Reply 3 months ago

Insulation in old AU houses is a joke to say it nice.
I already "fixed" the doors which had about 1cm of gap on the underside, should have realised by the constant stream of crawling insects coming in LOL
My prefered option would be like the polystyrene sheets as it is good and easy but like you said ends up really dark.
If we have 4°C outside then you wouldn't want to sit too close to any window in my house.
With 20° inside you are lucky to get 10° on the window panes.
Friends already make jokes about it by placing their beer in front of the window, stating it will stay nice and cold there ROFL
But jokes aside, it is even worse in the summer.
I have two identically sized bedrooms.
One has the carport metal roof over it on the outside, the other gets the sun in sideways from about 2PM till sunset.
With closed doors the second one heats up about 10° more despite being quite a bit warmer under the carport if there is little wind.
And well, leaving a piece of choclate near the window means you get a brown puddle once the sun reaches it.
As said, 3mm thick glass that is now close to 40 years old....

I do have thick curtains on all windows and in the winter you can feel how cold they are and no curtian is perfect so the cold air still creeps and finds your feet...
My landlord does not want to invest a cent in improvements, not even upgrading the 40 year old kitchen or bathroom.
The government currently offers a 50% refund on solar panel installions and a 60% refund to upgrade to double pane windows - still not good enough for my landlord :(
Putting some silicone on the outside to seal the glass is one thing but I really need something clear to cover the windows properly and improve the insulation rating of paper thin glass :(

Jack A LopezDownunder35m

Reply 3 months ago

Perhaps instead of a monolithic foam block, you could build a wood frame, wrapped in transparent plastic.

It would be sort of a transparent, or translucent, block. Then that block could be stuffed into place, again with fluffycloth strips jammed around the edges, to stop the drafts there.
I watched the video Liquidhandwash posted, "v=8GBDGEP9eVs", and I have to admit that stuff looks really pretty, and easy to see through, almost like a real double pane window, with an insulating layer of air trapped in it.

Also I could not help noticing there are a whole bunch of related videos. These are visible when watching that video on Youtube itself, or one of the sites like hooktube.com or invidio.us, that parasitically looks into (hooks into?) Youtube's video database, but does so with fewer ads.

Anyway, there are a lot of interesting ideas out there, especially with respect to cheap materials, especially stuff from the "shipping materials" category, like bubble wrap.

Also that shiny, metal film backed, bubble wrap. I am not sure what it is called. It is opaque, totally blocks light, but it rolls up easily. So it can be used to make a kind of movable, roll-up, light shutter.


Reply 3 months ago

Great idea but I have aluminium frames and from past experience know that anything that hold something properly will be next to impossible to remove.
If in doubt I will have to remove once moving out and really can't use solvents or such as the carpet goes right to the window frames.
Well, not that close but there is only a 2cm strip left....
And with the panes already leaking in the frames I fear the foil will start to rattle in the wind LOL


Reply 3 months ago

We used to do exactly that, except we put it on the outside, and I think we used silicone RTV instead of double sided tape.