Why Putting Plastic Over Your Drafty Window is Pointless

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Drafty windows just don’t make you uncomfortable. They’re costing you more than you think.


You start to see the mercury dip below 50 degrees. You know what that means — it’s time to break out the trusty old plastic tarp and towels to cover and stuff those drafty windows so the cold air doesn’t seep into your home.

Woah, wait a second. You do what now? You put up plastic and shove towels in your windows as an annual winter regiment? There’s clearly a bigger problem here — you have drafty windows.

Windows Aren’t Supposed to be Drafty

What you really need to do is replace them. Instead, what a lot of people do is head over to Home Depot and buy the window insulator kits where you take a blow dryer and seal plastic over the windows. A typical kit costs $5 and is good for 2 windows depending on the size, and it claims that you will save $190 in energy costs or $18 per window.

Well, who wouldn’t want to do that instead of replacing the windows?

“These companies, they just create these gimmicky products to sell to homeowners who have these needs,” said The Men With Tools Owner John Kolbaska. “It doesn’t cut down on the energy costs, you’re still getting drafts even through that plastic.”

The commercials are even laughable. They show you how to apply the plastic to the window when it’s clearly spring. At least film during the winter with the snow falling when people are running out buying the product.

Plastic is a Band-Aid

Bottom line is these are Band-Aids, plus it looks ridiculous. Plastic on the windows doesn’t do much and really, what a lot don’t realize is in the summer when many take the plastic off, that hot humid air is seeping into your home by the gallon. That’s going to constantly trigger your central air or AC unit making your energy bills soar.

“A lot of times with these older windows that are 15 years or older, the glass packs — the double-insulated units — they’re clear, so they didn’t have any Low-E film that deflects the sun’s rays — the solar heat gain coefficient (shgc),” John said. “They didn’t have any argon gas in the double panes inside the glass unit itself, so it’s not insulating the cold. The cold is escaping right through. By putting a little piece of plastic, it’s not doing anything.”

‘But Why Are My Newer Windows Drafty?’

Say your windows aren’t 15 years old, you’re probably thinking, ‘So, why are my windows drafty? They’re practically brand new.’ There are a few reasons. The most common is how the windows were installed. Some contractors simply take the old window out, pop the new one in and add caulk to the interior and exterior, and they’re done. They aren’t insulating the windows with spray foam or flashing and capping them to prevent air from leaking in. You also could have just bought a cheap window altogether thinking you were getting a deal on a trade-in special.

If you moved into a new construction home development, it’s very likely you have builder grade windows, which are made from low-quality materials and not installed by the proper technicians. Contractors purposely do this to save money. They skimp on the window plus the installation, so that’s why you’re having draft issues.

Stop putting off the bigger issue with Band-Aids and nip it in the bud by replacing your windows. You’ll thank yourself later enjoying no drafts and lower energy bills all year round.

Are you in the market for replacement windows? Check out The Men With Tools on Staten Island, NY who won’t caulk and walk and will give you a fair price. Call us today at 347-815-4151 for a free estimate.

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