39 answers

Duct Tape Ok to Seal Windows?

Hi Moms!
We're renting an older home and this is our first funfilled Midwest winter (I thought they were joking when they forecasted 61 degrees in the morning and 16 degrees in the same afternoon! Um...I just realized they weren't kidding!)
Our daughter's room is the coldest in the house (we didn't know this as it was summer when we moved in). I noticed today that the old windows are letting the icy air POUR in...you can feel it! Is there any reason that duct taping around the window/window sill would be a bad idea? It seemed to help a bit. I also added a rolled towel at the bottom of the window (it's a huge double-window). All of the "adjustments" are temporary and can easily and quickly be removed in case we need to open the window in an emergency. I also thought about hanging a blanket over the entire window it this isn't enough. We plan to notify our property manager, but so far he hasn't been very willing to do anything to improve the condition of the house. Any other ideas? Any reason this is a bad idea?
Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

You guys are absolutely awesome!!!!!
Thanks so much! I removed the duct tape this morning...luckily no damage after less than 24 hours!
I bought one of those kits and it seems to help. It was easier than I expected and the hairdryer even helped to keep me warm! HA (And now I want to shrink wrap anything I can get my hands on! LOL). Tonight will be the test as it seems to be getting colder by the minute!
Thank you all for all your help. I'm actually going to keep this in my "favorites" so I can turn to all the suggestions when I need them again!
You all rock! Thanks!
A.

Featured Answers

Hi A. and welcome to the Midwest!! I have friends who live in older homes (IL) and their windows have the same problems. If you go to Home Depot or Lowes, they have clear plastic-ky saran wrap type paper that you can use over the windows to keep the wind out. It doesn't look the best, but keeps it warmer!! You adhere it from one side of the window to the other (not directly on the glass) so that it almost hovers over the window. I would defintely go to Home Depot or Lowes and ask them for assistance! They may have better options too!

1 mom found this helpful

Plastic on the windows. Easy to do and it is made by the duck... the very same company that makes duck tape. But, blakets work too.

this is kinda late - sorry - but, there are window sealing kits at the hardware store they are plastic that you cut to size tape up and shrink with a hair dryer and they WORK!!! Good luck and enjoy the weather:)

More Answers

Go to your local hardware store and buy a roll of clear sheet plastic. I suspect the window in your daughter's room isn't the only one letting in cold air. Sheet plastic is so much more economical that the window kits because one roll should give you enough plastic to cover every window in your house and then some. (I have 21 windows including a sun porch and still had enough plastic left over to cover them all again the following year.) Then go to the nearest Dollar General and buy a roll of clear packaging tape ($1 per roll). Depending on how many windows you have, you may need more than one roll. You'll have to measure the windows and cut the plastic to size but this isn't difficult. Also, I have 3 different sizes of windows and I also cover the attic fan in the winter. The packaging tape comes off the window sill or wall easily and doesn't damamge the finish. The other responders are correct-duct tape will leave a sticky residue that's almost impossible to get off and it will damage the finish. After a couple of years I got smart and instead of throwing the plasic away each spring, I now fold them up and reuse them the next winter. Our rental doesn't have a garage and so I also have cut plastic from the roll to cover our front and back car windows during icy weather. The window kits cost between $5 & $8 for two windows. I paid $8 for one roll of plastic that covers every window in my house (and the windshield and rear windows on two cars).

2 moms found this helpful

Haven't had a chance to read what anyone else has said but, here's what I do. Target, Lowes, Home Depot or any hardwarde store has a box set of plastic and tape. It is a weather proofer. They are usually only a few bucks a set. Use the double sided tape all around the window and place the plastic over it, then use a hair dryer to "seal" it. It's much easier to remove it when you want to open the window and it works wonders. SO welcome to your 1st midwest winter and the old house! Mine is over 100 y/o and many of the windows are original, so I totally understand!

2 moms found this helpful

NO! Duct tape is NOT ok to seal windows. Your landlord will not be pleased with the damage to the woodwork. Bad idea. Also, don't nail or screw anything into the window trim. Trim is expensive to replace. As a property owner myself, I can tell you that is a lousy idea that will probably cause you to lose your deposit. Talk to your landlord. See what he/she would like to do to solve the problem. If nothing else, use real window film that is made for that purpose.

2 moms found this helpful

A.,

I too would go to Walmart and get the kit, they work well to help keep the cold out. I know it can be hard to deal with a landlord who doesn't want to fix things, however there are laws to protect the renter and many people are not aware of this. Look into how to get the landlord to fix things legally as sometimes this becomes necessary and it helps to know your rights. If you need more information let me know and I will look up the name of the book and the phone number.

The electric blanket is a wonderful idea, especially since this is not a small child and it will help her stay warm. Hang in there with our wonderful weather this week.

2 moms found this helpful

Other than damaging the paint, it will work. I would buy one of the kits like the pp was describing. Our house is not super airtight either and you can really tell this time of year. A good way to keep her comfy without breaking the bank on your heating bill is a heated blanket - we use one through the winter. Even if the room never gets completely warm, she will sleep well.

Good luck.

ETA - I just thought of this - could you use painters tape to put up lightweight plastic sheeting? That way the paint is not damaged?

2 moms found this helpful

The residue left behind will be a nightmare to clean off and will pull the paint off. You will have to redo it or lose all your deposit. They have window kits you can get at WalMart to cover either the inside or the outside. I would suggest that.

1 mom found this helpful

You can buy plastic to put over the windows, they install with a hair dryer and work great.
I have it on ny unheated back porch and it really helps keep A/C in during summer and much warmer in winter.
Hope that helps

1 mom found this helpful

I heard this on the news last week. They said use a cheap plastic see thru shower curtain. It will keep out drafts but let the sun light thru.

I haven't personally tried this, I use the plastic kits everyone has suggested they work great.

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning A., Duct tape it fine also you might try a sheet of plastic to cover the window also, on the outside. Then Put the blanket over it inside. Anything you can do to stop that wind is definitely a great help. They have the large rolls of plastic at Lowes'

Been there done what you are doing. Our kids are doing it now too. It's 6 dg, with wind chill of -13 here in Benton, ks this morning. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

God Bless and stay warm. Keep hounding your prop manager.
K. Nana of 5

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not sure I would use duct tape because it is so strong it might be hard to get off in an emergency. I see alot of people suggesting window plastic. It is a good idea and works if you have the patiences to put it up and it does leave just as much sticky residue as duct tape. Last year I found that I want to be able to open my windows on nicer days. (You can't do that with plastic) so I used cheap packing tape. It worked just as well left hardly any residue and was cheap enough that I could peel it off on nice days to open the windows and retape around them when it got colder.

1 mom found this helpful

I would agree that older homes have their own set of problems, you may actually add to the problems by using duct tape. The tape going on will be fine, coming off will be the problem. If you and your husband are willing to repair the damage, then go for it, but it will probably cause some damage. You may be looking at paint coming off with the tape, if the walls are platered it may take some of that as well. You could also cause some of the older wood around the windows to come off as well.

There are different types of weatherizing kits you can get, they work very well. There is a way to do something without getting too complicated if you would like. You mentioned putting a blanket up over the window. You can take a small decorative blanket, such a baby blanket with a cute little animal or soemthing on it. Place the blanket over the window. You may want to go around the edges of the window with plastic or towels first to block as much air as possible. You just use thumb tacks or pushpins to hold the blanket in place. This blanket, preferrably a quilts, is easily removed with a simple yank if needed. It adds a little bit of something to the room and allows for the window to be completly covered on every side.

If you daughter is young and you are concerned about using thumb tacks or push pins, you may want to use a small nail which will not easily fall out, or even go around it with a stapler. Just remembe to keep the holes small, they will be much easier to fill when you need to.

1 mom found this helpful

I would stick with the plastic window kits - although you can get the ones that you use a hair dryer on to make them really tight. (Make sure you get the kit that specifies this!! It doesn't work on all of them - the plastic could melt!) We used these in our first apartment and our first home - if you get the regular ones and the draft is really bad, you have to listen to the plastic move all winter as the "breeze" goes in and out - by the middle of January you will be crazy!! :)

The kits that you use the hair dryer on are a little bit more expensive, but VERY well worth the money. (I think we used the 3M brand.)

Welcome to the Midwest - and our crazy weather! :)

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

I agree with all the other entries about the window film. If by chance you have used duct tape some place in your rental home and need to remove the sticky film use peanut butter on it. I know, it sounds stupid but it really works. My husband uses peanut butter to get duct tape up off floors at work. Put a dab of peanut butter on a soft rag and rub it around and around the area until the sticky stuff begins to roll off. Just FYI> Happy Holidays!

J. N.

1 mom found this helpful

You can get a kit at most home improvement stores that has double stick tape and plastic. It is super easy to use, remove, and surprisingly is barely even noticeable. We did all but one window (completely forgot about it somehow) and have noticed a HUGE difference. The wind this weekend reminded us of the window we'd forgotten and could not believe the difference it made when we did put the plastic on it. I want to say it was like $5 or so for the kit and like i said, it was really easy. Sissors and a hairdryer were the only "tools" we needed.

1 mom found this helpful

Duct tape will leave a sticky residue on the frame and may even peel off the paint when you remove it. Your blanket idea is probably the best bet. You could stuff it with newspaper and tack down the edges. The best thing is one of those plastic window kits. You put the tape around the edges and apply the plastic, then take a hair dryer to shrink it down to a tight fit. It is removed in the spring time. They range in price from maybe $5 and up. Good luck and stay warm! :o)

1 mom found this helpful

I have done this & duct tape (especially when exposed to the sun light) can not be removed after a while. It can physically be taken off, but the residue can not be removed by anything but scraping it off. You need to get plastic window things from Wal-mart or Home Depot. You can see through it & it keeps the cold out. Our house is 60 some years old & we have had to do this for years.

God bless & Merry Christmas!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A. and welcome to the Midwest!! I have friends who live in older homes (IL) and their windows have the same problems. If you go to Home Depot or Lowes, they have clear plastic-ky saran wrap type paper that you can use over the windows to keep the wind out. It doesn't look the best, but keeps it warmer!! You adhere it from one side of the window to the other (not directly on the glass) so that it almost hovers over the window. I would defintely go to Home Depot or Lowes and ask them for assistance! They may have better options too!

1 mom found this helpful

They have Plastic that you can cover the whole window, its call Plastic window winterizing kits. You can get them at Home Depot, Walmart. The duct tape will leave alot of sticky residue behind and may have to repaint come spring.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I don't recommend duct tape if you want your deposit back, over time it will leave a sticky residue that is nearly impossible to remove without removing the finish from the window and the sill. The sell weather stripping at most hardware stores that sticks to the window, but the adhesive doesn't melt and leave a residue like duct tape. Good luck with the cold and the property manager!
M.

1 mom found this helpful

I would tend to avoid duct tape as it may not leave the woodwork in very good condition when you take it off in the spring...and then that rental agent is going to be after you for the expense to repair it.
I would go to Lowes or Home Depot...and get a plastic winterizing kit...as the other mentioned you can get the ones that shrink to size or the regular ones. I would be tempted to put one inside AND outside on the window...if you can get to the outside without climbing a ladder in this ridiculous Kansas Weather. My daughter also uses blankets to close off rooms that she isnt using...so I would think a blanket on the window would be great...exceot if course you would be closing off any sunshine or view!! Anything you can do throughout the house to keep the warm air in and the cold air out will certainly pay off in your heating bills!!!
Good luck...arent Kansas winters fun?????

1 mom found this helpful

I think duct tape would be hard to get the sticky off after a few months. There is plastic you can buy that has double sided tape you put on the edges of the window sill and put the plastic up then take a hair dryer and blow on it until the plastic is tight. It is very simple to put on and works really well at keeping the air out. We used it on a big picture window and kept it up year round as you couldn't tell there was plastic on the window and looked really great. Also helped on the air conditioning in the summer and would be easy to remove if you needed to for fire emergency. This would keep the air out a lot more than just putting tape around the edges as it traps in the whole window and if you do it nice and tight it looks like the window. I think you can buy it at Wal-mart or Home Depot.

1 mom found this helpful

Go to Walmart and pick up one of the window kits that seal your window temporarily for the winter. I don't remember what they are called but have seen them in the home improvement section. They don't cost much and I believe they use a hairdryer to seal. I wouldn't use duct tape because it will leave a residue that is really heard to get off. We used duct tape in New Orleans during hurricanes and removing it is a nightmare. Good luck and God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

Welcome to misery..oops I mean Missouri-lol. I understand your pain, we actually have an older home and tend to have the same problems with a few of our windows. You should buy some plastic and place it around the outside of the window. My husband does this and usually staples it to the outside frame, that way the wind does not get through. You won't be able to see out of the window but it really helps us. You can buy a roll of plastic at Lowe's, Home Depot or Wal-Mart may even carry it.
I hope that this helps and welcome to your first Missouri winter. It is true what they say if you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes...good luck.

Not sure about the duct tape but another idea that a friend suggested to was bubble wrap. I used the larger bubbles. You just spray the window with water or wipe it down with a very wet cloth and press the bubble wrap on the window, bubbles to the glass. We tried it in our bedroom that has a slider (it always gets so cold in winter) and it has really keep it warmer in there this year! It is a cheap fix and it's great because it's not permanent. You may have to re-wet areas from time to time (ours more so with the slider being opened and shut. Good luck!

Another idea is a plastic shower curtain taped over the window.

You also might want to think about those cold nights have her co-sleep in one of the warmer rooms.

I think duct tape is going to leave a very ugly residue behind when you remove it. They make window sealing kits. We get them every year for our windows. It is just hard to keep that cold air out. I also find that just pulling the curtains also helps as another barrier. They also make thermal curtains that look nice, but aren't exactly cheap. They would be permenant fixtures. You will find the same thing happens in teh summer - your cold air escapes and it costs a fortune to cool your house.

When we were growing up, We always put plastic over the windows....It can go inside or out. We would cut cardboard and use it to seal the window and the plastic to the window. They sell the plastic in hardware at walmart, and its not real expensive. If you dont want to put it on the inside due to the posssibility of your little girl tearing it or getting harm to her...put it on the outside. it makes a tremendous difference. Hope this helps.....

Buy the plastic that is taped to the window an using a hair dryer to shrink it tight. They have the kits all over home depot walmart even. That is the best to use for the winter.

Duct tape shouldn't hurt, but the most effective thing would be to get some plastic sheets from the hardware store, cut them and put them over the whole window from top of the wood fram to bottom of the wood frame, next duct arond the edges of the plastic. That will create a good seal around the window area, keeping most of the cold air out. Good luck.

this is kinda late - sorry - but, there are window sealing kits at the hardware store they are plastic that you cut to size tape up and shrink with a hair dryer and they WORK!!! Good luck and enjoy the weather:)

There is this awesome stuff that I just used. I cant remember what its called but you can get it at Walmart. Its a film you put over your windows with double sided tape. Take a blow dryer and blow it over the film and it shrinks to make the film firm that covers your windows! Its a bit time consuming but I saved 10 bucks off of my 70 dollar gas bill from the previous month which was actually warmer than the month I saved the money on! Good luck! Hope this helps. Oh, its pretty cheap too. Under 10 bucks!

Duct tape is a mess to clean up and will take off paint. Try the window sealing kits available at most stores like Walmart, K-mart, etc. They are inexpensive and use double sided tape around the window frame. That seals all leaks from the window. You can then use a hair dyer to take out the wrinkles and make it crystal clear like glass so you don't lose the view out your window. I've used them on very drafty window and they work. Also, try closing the vent in the warmest room to force more heated air into that bedroom

I am wondering how easy it is going to be to get all the tape glue off where it is located after it has frozen there all winter. I would recommend buying a bunch of that yellow tack stuff that can just be pulled off any surface, and cover the window with plastic. Some of the kits have their own tape of sorts, but you may have the same problem. The only real problem is that children are notorious for putting holes in the plastic, no matter how much you try to explain to them not to do that. :)

A. I live in a 100 yr old house with 43 (yes 43) 6 foot windows...come winter, you'd never think the darn things were painted shut! We use the shrink wrap every year, BUT you may also want to consider getting some thermal curtains. I have those for the bedrooms and combined with the shrink wrap tend to help quite a bit!

they do have plastic that will cover your windows from the inside. you may want to check your local hardware store. we used this in the past and it worked(until our cat used it to climb on)

Plastic on the windows. Easy to do and it is made by the duck... the very same company that makes duck tape. But, blakets work too.

Hi A., We also have a VERY old home. Back before we got new windows, we would have to buy that serian (sp) wrap type stuff. It's made by a company i believe called duck or duct (it has alittle duck on the front of the box) Anyway, you put this on your wondows and some of them you heat up with a blow dryer and it REALLY does make a big difference!!! Good luck with it, i was SO excited when we wer FINALLY able to get rid of those old things and upgrade to new windows! They we very much so worth the investment!! Merry Christmas!

I would suggest going to Home Depot/Lowes - because they sell plastic sheets + tape for that specific purpose. We just put one up on one of our windows and it was very easy. Duct tape can be tough to take off when it's been sitting on something for a while.

I am sure the plastic over the windows work. If there is air infiltration around the trim itself, caulking around it will help somewhat. Also, there is a putty, rope caulk weatherstripping that you can use around the edges of the double hung window. It can be taken down when you want to open the windows and reused the next year.

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