The chill is in the air, and it could very well be a very long and cold winter. Your apartment isn't exactly warm unless you crank up the heat, but heating costs are also going up (natural gas, heating oil, electricity), so it might be a good idea to explore options that won't cost you much. Have you ever considered installing window insulation film yourself? First of all, you need to know if it even works. 

window film installation

Having a beautiful view from your apartment windows is great, but when it comes to cold weather, glass isn't exactly great at insulation (unless you have new, triple-pane windows, that is). Especially if your windows are old and the seals aren't as good as new, a window insulation film kit could make a huge difference. We'll help you decide if it's right for you and your apartment this winter. 

Do Window Insulation Film Kits Even Work?

window film

Your windows' ability to retain heat and insulation is measured by what's known as an R-value. The lower the R-value number, the better the insulation. If you take a temperature gun (even a kids' thermometer gun) and aim it at different parts of the window (especially where there's a draft), you can see where heat is escaping and cold air is coming in. Window film actually increases a window's insulation ability and lowers the R-value, as a result. It's all about creating pockets of air between layers. If installed properly, window film actually creates an insulating layer where cold air doesn't infiltrate the interior of your apartment and warm air stays trapped inside. 

How Hard Are They To Install?

window film tape

While it's important to note that window film isn't exactly flattering in its appearance, you don't have the luxury of having your landlord replace your windows with new ones, a prospect that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Window insulation film kits are a quick and affordable way to solve the heat loss problem. Most kits cost between $10 and $40, depending on the size of windows you have. Most kits include film and adhesive mounting tape. You'll need to provide gloves, isopropyl alcohol, scissors or a utility knife (sharp), a cleaning cloth, and a hair dryer. Here are the steps:

  • Clean your window frames and let them dry. Remove debris and make sure all surfaces are free of dust.
  • Take out the mounting tape from the window film kit and make sure you have enough to cover the entire perimeter of the window(s) you are insulating. If you need more, contact the manufacturer. Don't use regular double-sided tape. 
  • Attach the tape to the frame evenly and without any bumps or gaps. Use a dry cloth or a bunched-up piece of paper to make sure the tape adheres firmly. Remove the plastic cover from the facing side of the tape to expose the adhesive that will attach to the film. 
  • Remove the film from the kit and apply it to the tape as cleanly as possible without any bunching. Use a clean cloth to adhere the film to the tape. 
  • Cut the overlap or overage of the film with scissors or a utility knife. 
  • Use a blow dryer to make the film as taut as possible. Make sure you don't hold it too close or the film may melt or warp. 


Which Kits Work Best?

There's no question that there are a lot of options out there, but not all kits are created equal. Here are our recommendations for the best window insulation film kits that will ship to you very quickly so you don't have to wait to start warming up your apartment. 

3M Indoor Window Film Insulation Kit

3M is the benchmark for window film kits, and it comes in a variety of sizes for just about any window. It includes the film and the kit, and 3M makes some of the clearest film in the industry, as well as excellent Scotch mounting tape. 



Duck Brand Indoor 10-Window Shrink Film Insulator Kit

This kit gets great reviews on Amazon and comes with enough plastic film and mounting tape to insulate ten 3' x 5' windows, which should be more than enough for your apartments' exterior-facing windows. 



Frost King Patio Door Kit 

If your apartment has patio doors, you'd be wise to take care of these, as well. This kit will cover 84x110", which should be enough for two patio doors. It comes with film and mounting tape.