Bubble Wrap Insulation: Does It Really Work?

Bubble Wrap Insulation: Does It Really Work?

Bubble wrap covering a window for insulation with a city skyline in the background

Bubble wrap is the hero we don’t deserve. Is it the key to solving all of life’s problems? Probably not. But on top of being fun to pop and great for packing, bubble wrap also works as an environmentally-friendly way to insulate your windows.

How does bubble wrap insulation work, and what do you need to do it? Let’s break it down.

First, bubble wrap insulation is exclusive to windows. While it isn’t a great option for windows you need to see through (it makes things a bit fuzzy), the insulation still allows plenty of light through.  What, technically, does it do? If you’re interested in insulation terminology and math, keep reading. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead.

Bubble wrap works as insulation because it raises your windows R-value. An R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow through a material’s thickness. The higher the R-value, the less heat escapes. A single pane window has an R-value of .8. Adding a strip of bubble wrap raises this value to 2. According to Build It Solar the math works out like this:

Heat loss w/o wrap = (7000 deg-day)(1 ft^2) (24 hr/day) / (1 ft^2-F/BTU) = 168K BTU per season

Heat loss with wrap = (7000 deg-day)(1 ft^2) (24 hr/day) / (2 ft^2-F/BTU) = 88K BTU per season

Ah, math. For those of you who skipped ahead, welcome back. To summarize, bubble wrap cuts the amount of heat that escapes through your windows by half. If less heat escapes, you need less heat from your furnace. Ergo, bubble wrap saves you money on your heating bill. Neat, right?

Now onto the fun part: how do you set up bubble wrap insulation?

The installation process will take you fewer than 60-seconds per window. All you’ll need is a spray bottle, a X-Acto knife, and, of course, bubble wrap.

Start by measuring the width of your windows. You’ll need this when you purchase your bubble wrap, as it comes in varying widths and lengths.

Once you’ve measured and have your bubble wrap in the correct size, fill your spray bottle with water and lightly mist your window. Push the bubble side of the wrap against the window. It may feel like you need glue or tape, but trust us, the water will hold the bubble wrap to your window all winter long.

Lastly, cut away any excess bubble wrap with your X-Acto knife to ensure a snug fit. And just like that, you have bubble wrap insulation!

While bubble wrap insulation works to keep heat inside, it doesn’t help create it. If you’re experiencing a chilly streak, there may be a problem with your furnace. But don’t worry, FH Air Conditioning is here to help. Schedule a service today.