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Topic: Using self stick kitchen plastic wrap as window insulation?

Posted By: Admiral on 12/19/10 10:38pm

I was thinking of giving this a try but I don't think they make it big enough for an rv window w/o using multiple pieces. I have one small window it will fit on and, of course, the little window in the door. Let's hear your suggestions and experiences please.


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Posted By: hershey on 12/19/10 11:10pm

The dollar stores sell some 1/8" thick poster board. It has foam in between the outer surfaces. Its about 3' square and easy to set in the windows when needed and easily stored under the mattress when not. Comes in colors and white.


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Posted By: christopherglenn on 12/19/10 11:12pm

Poor mans double pane windows. Check the hardware store for larger pieces. Use a hairdrier (be VERY careful) to shrink the film after applying (works with the hardware store stuff), makes it harder to see. I have used double sided foam tape + plastic stretch wrap with good results.


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Posted By: skipnchar on 12/20/10 03:52am

I wouldn't think a sheet of a few millimeters thick plastic is going to do much to insulate anything. Might stop a draft if your windows leak but won't do much insulating. Reflextix works reasonably well for the purpose due to the dead air space between it's layers and still allows some light to pass through.


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Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/20/10 05:12am

Lowe's/Home depot sell a kit of sheets of plastic to make temporary storm windows. and the advantage is that they won't cost you $733 apiece to replace them when they go bad.
bumpy






Posted By: blackf3504dr on 12/20/10 05:19am

skipnchar wrote:

I wouldn't think a sheet of a few millimeters thick plastic is going to do much to insulate anything. Might stop a draft if your windows leak but won't do much insulating. Reflextix works reasonably well for the purpose due to the dead air space between it's layers and still allows some light to pass through.


It serves the same purpose as the old storm windows that people had before the advent of double pane windows.


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Posted By: deltamaster on 12/20/10 01:18pm

Wish this subject had come up a few weeks ago. had never considered plastic sheeting over the windows.

I would like to know if sheeting the windows will reduce the moisture that builds up on the inside of the pane?

It is amazing to me how much water collects on the window, in the channel and then runs down the wall!


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Posted By: B.O. Plenty on 12/20/10 01:29pm

We did it! We were staying in our trailer a few weeks ago and it went down to 14 degrees. Kept feeling a draft from the small windows in the bedroom slide next to the bed. Just decided to try it before we went to bed to see if it would help. You bet it did...We also covered the roof vents in the bedroom and bathroom to help seal them. Worked like a champ. Won't travel with out the stuff now.

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Posted By: mikestock on 12/20/10 02:14pm

skipnchar wrote:

I wouldn't think a sheet of a few millimeters thick plastic is going to do much to insulate anything. Might stop a draft if your windows leak but won't do much insulating. Reflextix works reasonably well for the purpose due to the dead air space between it's layers and still allows some light to pass through.


That is the key and I think was the OP's original thought. A dead air space must be established to make a difference.

Cardboard box material also makes a good insulator. I made pieces in the shape of our bedroom windows for insulation and also to keep out the early light. When the temperature drops it really makes a difference. Spray painted them black and pretty much leave them there full time.


Posted By: Gdetrailer on 12/20/10 05:44pm

Might work but with larger windows you would have to piece it together.

A better idea would be packing bubble wrap, gives addition dead air space.

For bubble wrap idea (and many more ideas) check out BUILDITSOLAR.COM


Posted By: tktplz on 12/20/10 05:19am

That plastic wrap stuff that you use for the windows that shrinks when you heat it with a blow dryer is so cheap. $7.00 or $8.00 a kit that in a camper, 1 kit will probably do the windows for 2 winters.


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Posted By: Dutch_12078 on 12/20/10 06:53am

skipnchar wrote:

I wouldn't think a sheet of a few millimeters thick plastic is going to do much to insulate anything. Might stop a draft if your windows leak but won't do much insulating. Reflextix works reasonably well for the purpose due to the dead air space between it's layers and still allows some light to pass through.

The plastic film has the same effect as the Reflectix in that it creates a dead air space. It's the still air that provides the insulation, just as it does in most other insulation.


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Posted By: hitchup on 12/20/10 07:59am

The self-stick kitchen wrap isn't very wide. As suggested by others, look at your Home Improvement store to get better quality.

Years ago, we used standard visqueen stapled over a sliding glass door in our home. Now in our RV, even with dual pane windows, it doesn't block out the cold. We have dual cell blinds and curtains to block out the cold. Together, both help when temps warmed up to 25 deg last night....


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Posted By: Admiral on 12/20/10 11:47am

OP here...I considered the posterboard (can't see out) and have used reflectix (can't see out and NO light comes in) in the past. OK for the bedroom but not in the rest of the RV.

Not that I'm nosy but I do like to see what's going on if for nothing else, security while traveling, that's why I was considering the clear. I'm going to look into the Home Depot stuff.
Thanks for the responses


Posted By: eto1 on 12/31/10 04:48pm

I'm in South Dakota for the winter and have single pane windows. Without insulation, I was getting sheets of ice on the inside of my windows when it got down into the single digits. I bought one of the plastic shrink wrap kits from Wal-Mart and installed them and the difference is night and day. No ice and I still get to keep my view. It's currently -1 degrees and they seem to be working fine, so fingers crossed.


Posted By: JBarca on 12/29/10 06:31am

FiverDragger wrote:

Here is something to try for interior storm windows. Make the windows as you said with a wood frame to fit with plexglass panel. Rout a dado in the wood frame for the window frame so the wood sit tightly against the wall and also the window frame. Put a strip of stick on magnetic gasket material on the aluminum window frame and the wooden storm window frame. When needed stick storm window to the frame. When not needed pull it off and store until next winter. If we full timed this is what I would do.
Ron


Ron,

H'mm OK I'm following right there with ya. I like the magnetic idea [emoticon]

I just have to figure out in my case how to apply the magnetic strip concept. I suppose I could make the wood frame wide enough to 1st bottom out on the wall to seal off then maybe do something on the aluminum frame with a nice looking metal (iron) insert. Embedded in the wood would be 4 , 6 or 8 rare earth magnets or the magnetic strip to line up with the metal strip on the aluminum. Or just move the whole thing slightly outboard of the window frame and put the nice looking metal inserts on the wall. Like 4, 6 or 8 round nice silver dots of steel.

I like it. Will refine the idea between now and when ever I make it to the construction phase. Thanks a million of the idea!!

John


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Posted By: FiverDragger on 12/28/10 07:31pm

Here is something to try for interior storm windows. Make the windows as you said with a wood frame to fit with plexglass panel. Rout a dado in the wood frame for the window frame so the wood sit tightly against the wall and also the window frame. Put a strip of stick on magnetic gasket material on the aluminum window frame and the wooden storm window frame. When needed stick storm window to the frame. When not needed pull it off and store until next winter. If we full timed this is what I would do.
Ron


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Posted By: JBarca on 12/24/10 04:19pm

I have used the shrink wrap kit with good results, but some things learned as well.

Here is the stuff
[image]

Here it is installed. I put it in the 1/2" wide aluminum channel so it is not sticking it to the walls.
[image]

Here is the back windows, but we have done the entire camper. NOTE: The windows are much more clear. However when I was doing this and taking the picture there was moisture on the windows that later evaporates off.
[image]

Some learn'ings.

1. This for sure helps, a good 90% better. If done air tight there is no sweat on the glass.

2. It's cheap, about the cheapest one can do this for.

3. Apply the windows treatment before it gets cold. If not the 2 sided tape has a hard time sticking to very cold aluminum.

4. Each spring remove the plastic and clean off the metal flange so the double sided tape does not weld itself on.

5. Metal sweat, the aluminum edge still sweats. Each morning I go around with a dry dish cloth and wipe up the excess. Not that bad to do but should be done so the water does not drop off and soak something. Be care full and just lightly press the cloth to not accidentally pop the shrink wrap off.

See here for metal sweat
[image]

Now to combat the metal sweat I have tried this. I insulated the space between the wall frame and the aluminum. Here is one window.

[image]

Cut the insulation to the width needed and inserted into the air space
[image]

The holding flange off showing the large hole. CAUTION when you remove this flange. It is what holds the window into the camper.
[image]

Used pipe insulation to fill that space
[image]

And put the flange back on.
[image]

Results, well not at all what I was hoping for, it helped maybe 10% better on the metal sweat. So from this thought I figured out the problem. While the shrink wrap helps keep the window dry and stops the heat leaving and cold coming in, the metal frame conducts heat and cold in this case. Since the metal is cold from the outside the moisture inside condenses on it. Not that someone did not discover that moisture forms on cold surfaces when it is warm inside eon's ago but it now dawned on me how to help it once I understood the problem. Just stop the cold conduction problem.

So I made up an insulating gasket for the flange and the screw heads.

As a test for the 1st one used a white piece of construction paper board.
[image]

[image]

Made up gaskets for the screw heads too
[image]

[image]

And the one test window all done. This also had the pipe wrap insulation in the air space.
[image]

So I used the shrink wrap over this as before. The result.

Well this did help, at least a 75% reduction in metal sweat over not having it. The bad news that was a lot of work to still have 25% left... The gasket I used was not effective enough to stop the heat conduction.

Now to the next option that I feel (hope) will solve the issue. Make interior storm windows. They will have a thin wood frame that will be glazed with thin Lexan or plexiglass and the storm outer frame will go over the entire inside metal flange area and rest on the camper wall. May need to put some type of gasket on the storm frame to softly seal to the wall. This will then an be easy on and off storm window. No more stretch wrap and no more metal sweat.

Yes it may take some time building storm windows but it is therapeutic for me and one set will last the life time of the camper.

So if you want the cheap way out, use the shrink wrap and wipe the metal edge each morning.

Hope this helps and if anyone has made storms for a camper, I be glad to see how you did it.

John

* This post was edited 12/24/10 09:08pm by JBarca *


Posted By: Wife'nHubby on 12/24/10 08:31pm

John,

Very well documented! Thank you!

Do you think very thin rubber gasket material would work better than the construction paper you used?

Shari


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Posted By: smthbros on 12/24/10 08:33pm

Hope this helps and if anyone has made storms, be glad to see how you did it.

Aluminum storm window frame kits are available at some home centers.


Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/25/10 04:56am

excellently done JBarca
bumpy


Posted By: JBarca on 12/25/10 10:25am

Wife'nHubby wrote:

John,

Very well documented! Thank you!

Do you think very thin rubber gasket material would work better than the construction paper you used?

Shari


Hi Shari

Thank you. Rubber will work too however I do not know if I can find white and the type of rubber that will not crumble over time in the sun. H’mm maybe a clear vinyl sheet to cut it out of? Never thought of that. Thanks for the inspiration!

Part of the issue I was working thru is the thickness of the gasket. Thicker will provide more insulating effects even if made from paperboard. Sort of like the thickness of the backing board on a pad of paper. However when I go thicker it also changes the metal flange clamping tightness to the inside wall preventing the window from falling out. I could create a thick gasket both in the joint where the flange joins to the window frame and then also where the metal flange presses against the wall. That way the clamping distance to hold the window in is the same. This then means 2 large gaskets per window. And in my floor plan I have 16 windows….

These windows are not made to be winter windows that is for sure. The gasket test on the one window helped show me the problem I was up against. Even if I went the gasket route I still then need to deal with the shrink wrap each year. Which is doable. I have sort of resided to making inside storm windows and then can take them on and off at a moments notice. We leave the window film on some times a pretty long ways into the season. And last year thru the summer as well as it keep the AC in better as we went from winter to full on summer….. If I ever buy another camper it will have insulated windows on it.

smthbros wrote:

Aluminum storm window frame kits are available at some home centers.


Thanks smthbros. Didn’t realize that. I’ll look next time I’m there to see what they have to work with.

Bumpyroad wrote:

excellently done JBarca
bumpy


Thanks Bumpy. Figured the pics would help show what you and the other folks where talking about with the shrink wrap. Pics go a long way on these kinds of things.

John


Posted By: ralexis on 12/23/10 09:07pm

Wally-World sells a film kit made just for what you want to do. Just use the included double-stick tape and adhere the film to it. Then heat it with a hair dryer till it's tight. We did this to ours four years ago and it's still as good as new. It's like having double pane windows. Cheep too!


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Posted By: ralexis on 12/24/10 09:12am

deltamaster wrote:

ralexis wrote:

Wally-World sells a film kit made just for what you want to do. Just use the included double-stick tape and adhere the film to it. Then heat it with a hair dryer till it's tight. We did this to ours four years ago and it's still as good as new. It's like having double pane windows. Cheep too!


I will check out the Hardware department at Walmart on your suggestion. Thank you.


Only bad thing is that this will not prevent the window frame from transfering cold inside. The aluminum frame will still become cold.


Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/24/10 09:31am

that reminds me. years back I had a house with slider windows and aluminum frames. I just glued wooden screen door? molding on them to insulate them and to prevent condensation.
bumpy


Posted By: deltamaster on 12/24/10 02:20am

ralexis wrote:

Wally-World sells a film kit made just for what you want to do. Just use the included double-stick tape and adhere the film to it. Then heat it with a hair dryer till it's tight. We did this to ours four years ago and it's still as good as new. It's like having double pane windows. Cheep too!


I will check out the Hardware department at Walmart on your suggestion. Thank you.


Posted By: Alpenliter on 12/20/10 09:03pm

I used the Frost King kit on my windows first thing this fall. Before installing, I could feel a draft near my window and had lots of condensation. After installing the kit, no drafts, no condensation. It's certainly worth the price, about $8 and getting rid of the condensation is a bonus.


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Posted By: Alpenliter on 12/29/10 07:31am

Many of these ideas have merit. But remember if you are a full timer, you have to have someplace to store these frames when not needed.


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