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frostkingwindowinsulationkitI covered my windows in clear plastic against the cold of winter. No matter how tightly you close the windows, cold air still comes through – more than you think!

I went to Home Depot and found a kit that does the trick: it comes with sheets of clear plastic and a roll of tape that sticks on both sides. The plastic is thin  but the tape means it can be airtight.

Putting it up sounds easy, but it is one of those things where practice makes a big difference. My first few windows look terrible, but my last ones look great.

I am writing this down because by the time I need to do it again I will forget what I just learned.

Here is how to cover a window:

  1. Put the tape all the way round the window frame (inside the house).
  2. Pull off the backing of the tape.
  3. Cover the window with the plastic, sticking it onto the tape.
  4. Cut away plastic hanging over the edges of the frame so it looks nice.

The idea is simple but it takes practice.

Here are some tips:

  1. Measure your windows in advance. They may not be the “standard size”. Mine were not and, on top of that, they came in four different sizes.
  2. Make sure the plastic in the kit is wide enough for your windows and can be cut into the right lengths.
  3. You will need:
    • a box cutter,
    • a Phillips screwdriver (to take down curtains),
    • a pair of scissors (to cut the plastic),
    • a staple gun (to take care of mistakes),
    • a step ladder,
    • a hair dryer (to smooth out wrinkles)
    • and, for work like this, I need music and tea.
  4. Cut the plastic into the right lengths before you unfold it.
  5. Make sure the window is closed as tight as possible.
  6. When you put the tape on the frame, you must put tape all the way round – so the cold air has nowhere to get through.
  7. Use a box cutter to help you take off the backing of the tape.
  8. When you put up the plastic, centre it and stick it to the top of the frame, pressing it firmly onto the tape. Then stretch out the plastic, making it almost tight, and smooth it lightly onto the tape on the other sides of the frame. If it looks good, then press it down firmly onto the tape with your finger.
  9. The bottom of the frame is where you run into trouble:
    • If you stretched the plastic too tightly, it may not reach the bottom tape without coming loose somewhere else.
    • If you stretched it too loosely, then you will have more plastic than tape and it will not be airtight. You will need to staple it.
  10. When you are done, you will have plastic hanging over the edges of the frame. Tearing and cutting that away takes practice. You have to be slow and patient otherwise you will tear off the tape.

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