winterize my windows please!
November 2, 2014 12:35 PM   Subscribe

These are my windows. What should I do to keep me and my new kitten warmer during the winter? I need to be able to open the one by the fire escape in case of emergencies, but I'm fine not being able to open the other one until next spring. I'm renting so no permanent changes. Also, it's my only window so I want to be able to let in the tiny amount of light that gets in.
posted by the twistinside to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get a window insulation kit. It's basically like stretching Saran wrap across your window frame. No problem in emergency, you just rip it open. When you apply a hair dryer to it, it becomes completely clear. Only problem with it is if you have a rippy kind of cat, it might not make it through the winter. It should at the minimum cut down on drafts. Just measure your entire frame and make sure you get the size that will cover it completely.
posted by clone boulevard at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

I've used that type of window insulation in the past and my experience was the double-sided tape used to attach it to the frame ripped off all the paint when it was removed. Just a heads up.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:28 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

My experience with cats + window insulation kits was not good, though your mileage may vary.

Draft blockers--basically tubes of fabric with some sort of filler--can be surprisingly effective, especially if you put it both where the window hits the sill and where it latches closed. (So you've got a blocker at the bottom, and then a blocker sitting atop the bottom pane, halfway up the window.)

If you're ok keeping the light and losing the view, you could put bubble wrap on the windows--just cut the bubble wrap to the size of the frame, spray the window with water, and press the wrap against the glass. The bubbles go against the glass, flat side goes towards the room. If you're having a hard time making it stick, a little tape or something would fix it, but I've done this a bunch of times and never had a problem. This is cheaper and easier than the window insulation kits, and animals seem much less interested in destroying it. It peels right off when you're done for the season, and can be reused for a couple years.

Also, consider getting some thick curtains--even if you only close them at night, they'll help.
posted by MeghanC at 1:40 PM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

I used a window insulation kit on a set of drafty windows and the impact was pretty impressive! It was noticeably warmer when the "shrink wrap" was in place.

One thing to know is that the double-sided tape has a hard time sticking to cold surfaces. In other words, the window frame. If you're going to do it, do it now before it get frigid. If you procrastinate it's not the end of the world but I found I had to use a hairdryer to heat up a few inches of window frame and then quickly apply the tape before the window frame cooled. It was still possible to install the insulating layer, but it was harder than it needed to be.
posted by cranberrymonger at 3:46 PM on November 3, 2014

All our windows are well insulated except the wonderful french door that isn't double pane and leaks heat like crazy. I use the window insulation kit in the winter and it's great. Remove the sticky tape by daubing with either WD 40 or acetone to keep the paint from peeling. Because it's the door to the back yard, and we have a goofy heeler dog, I screw a 2' x2' scrap piece of clear plexiglass over the bottom half to keep her from shredding the plastic. I suppose we could spend the $$ and get plexiglass to cover the whole door, but the window insulation plastic is nearly invisible after using the hair dryer.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:38 PM on November 3, 2014

Response by poster: Window insulation sounds like the way to go- one question- does the saran wrap-y part end up against the glass or is there a gap between it and the window glass?
posted by the twistinside at 6:01 PM on November 3, 2014

The tape goes on the frame and there is a gap between the window glass and the film that provides the insulation.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:11 PM on November 3, 2014

Response by poster: thank you- i'll give it a try!
posted by the twistinside at 4:21 AM on November 4, 2014

From experience, the shrink wrap works a treat to keep the place significantly warmer without making it any darker. It does make things stuffier inside the apartment, though, so it's a tradeoff — we're currently in "is it consistently cold enough to put it on yet?" mode. If you can leave a window unwrapped, that plus a small fan to circulate the fresh air works well for us.

Do keep your cats' claws trimmed regularly (more regularly than you think necessary). Ours don't mess with the wrap too much, but it tends to get worse as time goes by. Keeping the claws blunt minimizes the problem, and it's possible to tape over rips with clear packing tape.

Oh, and yes, it can remove paint bits when you take it off if you're not careful. Depending on how long you're planning to stay in the apartment and where you live, this might not be a problem — we've been in ours long enough that repainting is legally considered response to normal wear and tear and therefore not something that can be deducted from the security deposit. (Here in California it's roughly 3 years for paint, but I have no idea what New York law says about it.)
posted by Lexica at 7:18 PM on November 4, 2014

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