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Question
We were told to use bubble wrap on the windows in the basement to keep the cool air out during the winter. Can you tell me if that really works or if there is a better way to keep the cold air out.
Thank you.

Answer
Hi Cheryl,

People have been using plastic to seal out cold air around windows practically as long as it has been available.  

There are two goals in sealing windows.  The first is to prevent air leaks resulting in cold drafts and chilly areas near the windows.  The second is to provide some insulating value.  Using bubble wrap might possibly achieve both goals if applied well.  

The reason plastic is so often used to seal windows is that it is relatively inexpensive and is easy to work with. It can be taped or stapled over the openings and stretched tight enough to form a nearly impenetrable barrier against air leaks.  I am not aware of any statistics on the insulation value of bubble wrap, but common sense dictates that it would have somewhat higher insulating value than just plastic.  

One potential problem I see in using bubble wrap is not being able to seal it tightly to the windows.  Because of it's uneven surface It will no doubt be much more difficult to achieve an air tight seal.  Another consideration is the cost of bubble wrap itself.

Windows covered in plastic become translucent, allowing light to still enter the room but obscuring the view through the window.  Bubble wrap should have this same affect.  If insulating value is your primary concern, using styrofoam sheets cut the size of the window then covered in plastic may provide more energy savings but will inhibit all light.

Sorry for the delay in replying to your question, but I have been fighting a cold for the past few days.  I hope I have been of some help in this matter.

Best regard,
Tony

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Tony Wood

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding style, function, and construction features on a wide range of windows and doors. I also have extensive experience in the repair and replacement of many types of windows and doors. My expertise also includes carpentry, painting, framing, siding/boxing, decks and screen and glass enclosures. Wood's Home Maintenance Service

Experience

I am a life time resident of North Carolina with over 30 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 23 years I have owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service, providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina.

Organizations
NFIB

Publications
Several Home improvement articles published on Angie's List and other online forums including an interview by North Carolina Homes.

Education/Credentials
High School graduate ~ proficient in CAD (computer aided design), Open Office program suite. I have also successfully owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service for the past 23 years

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