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.
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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.