Does putting cling film on your windows save on heating bills?

It may seem unusual, but could putting cling film on your windows help with your heating? We investigate whether this is a top tip, or a load of hot air.

With winter upon us, we’re starting to feel the chill. But with energy prices still unaffordable for many households, more of us are looking for alternative tricks and hacks to heat our home.

One question that often comes up is whether there’s any benefit to putting cling film on your windows? It might sound odd. It’s certainly a lot more Blue Peter than doing an energy comparison to find a better deal, or insulating your loft from scratch, among other energy saving tips.

But does it work? Will it actually save you money? We look at whether putting cling film on your windows really can lower your energy bills, along with other DIY options.

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Will cling film on your windows save on heating bills?

To keep costs low, it’s a good idea to start thinking about ways to make your home more energy efficient, which could include loft and cavity wall insulation (which you may be able to get subsidised under the Great British Insulation Scheme), as well as quick wins such as using cling film. 

Cling film isn’t only useful for wrapping leftover food. It can also be used as a form of insulation, helping provide a layer of protection against cold draughts coming in through your windows and entering your home. 

The idea is for the cling film to reduce heat loss through the windows, so less energy is required to heat a room.

It’s an easy hack to insulate your home using cling film, and can work, although it depends on the condition of your window. And it won’t be as effective for everyone. 

If your windows are single glazed, you’ll be able to tell a big difference when you put cling film on your window. About 7% of homes in the UK have no double glazing, and single-glazed windows lose heat twice as fast.

As windows account for a significant portion of heat loss, any measures you can take to prevent this happening are worthwhile to help save on your energy bills.

According to a spokesperson from the Energy Saving Trust: “Taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of your windows will reduce your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint.  

“Investing in energy efficient glazing is one the most effective ways to reduce your home’s heat loss and prevent cold spots. Energy efficient glazing covers both double and triple glazing. These are windows with two or more glass panes in a sealed unit and normally need to be fitted by a professional.”

What is a better alternative to cling film?

The Energy Saving Trust says: “For a lower cost solution, consider buying a DIY kit using polycarbonate or acrylic sheets and magnetic or clip-fit mounting systems.

“These can make a substantial difference and can be removed and replaced as required. Heavy, lined curtains, hollow blinds or sealed shutters will also help to cut draughts and keep heat in for longer.

“If you have single glazed windows, a thin film – such as cling film – stuck to the frame may provide some limited improvement at low cost, but is unlikely to last long.”

Do you need help with your energy bills?

Finding DIY solutions such as insulating film over windows is all well and good, but it’s important to seek help if you’re struggling. For example, you may be eligible for the Household Support Fund. This provides vulnerable people with grants and funding for everyday necessities, which includes energy bills. You can see if you’re eligible via your local council. Find its website at GOV.UK.

In addition, look into the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments to see if you’re eligible for support. And you can find out numerous ways in which  help may be available with your energy bills, such as hardship grants for those in energy debt.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, don’t suffer in silence. Seek support, and speak to your energy supplier. You can also get free advice and support from debt charity StepChange.

Other ways to keep the heat in your home

Reducing heat loss is a good way to keep energy bills down while still keeping your home warm. We’ve got a comprehensive list of useful energy saving tips to help with this.

And here are a few other DIY tips to help save on energy bills.

Check what time you put the heater on and how often

A lot of households want to know when the best time is to put heating on. We answer the questions of how economy 7 tariffs work, costing you different amounts at different times.

We also answer whether it’s better to leave your heating on low constantly, or use timed bursts.

Look into insulation grants

Insulation is one of the best bets to keep the heat in your home in an energy efficient way, and at a lower cost too. There are government grants available for loft and cavity wall insulation, among others, under the Great British Insulation Scheme.

Trade in your boiler

Grants of £7,500 are available for upgrading your fossil-fuel powered boiler to work with a heat pump. Check if you’re eligible for the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme. It could also save you hundreds on your bills too.

Draught-proof strips for doors

Heat from your home can be lost through the door, even when it’s shut. But you can get draught-proof strips to put in between door frames from the inside and outside of your home. 

At the time of writing, a 10-metre roll of draught excluder tape costs £6 at Wickes. If you find there’s a lot of heat loss at the bottom of the door, you can get draught excluders to eliminate this for around £10 to £20. 

Bleed the radiators

It’s important that the radiators are working properly so they can heat up to their full potential. If you feel the top of the heater is cooler than the bottom, that’s a sign it needs bleeding. All this means is there is air trapped which needs releasing.

Find out how to bleed your radiators.