Bubble wrap insulation works by placing a layer of plastic and air between surfaces, which helps prevent heat from passing through. Using bubble wrap insulation keeps warm air indoors during cooler months and outdoors during warmer months, reducing heating and air conditioning costs.
Insulating windows with bubble wrap requires a sheet of wrap, water and a utility knife. For the most effective insulation, the window must be free of dirt or debris. After cleaning the window, dampen it with a light mist from a spray bottle, and place the sheet of bubble wrap, bubble side towards the glass, against the window. Cut the wrap with the utility knife along the edges of the window, removing any excess wrap. The water on the window holds the wrap in place, providing a thin layer of effective insulation.
The amount of insulation realized by placing the bubble wrap is significant, raising the R value, a measure of thermal resistance, of the window from 0.8 to 2. This eliminates approximately 50 percent of heat loss through single-glazed windows and as much as 20 percent of heat transfer through double-glazed windows. Bubble wrap with larger bubbles is slightly more effective than bubble wrap with smaller bubbles.