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How to Reduce Heat Loss Through Windows This Winter

Written by The Plastic People
18/08/2022 10:34:56

How to Keep Your Home Warm and Lower Your Energy Bills banner

If you have old or badly installed windows the likelihood is that your home will be very inefficient and wasting a lot of energy. This means that heat loss through windows could be costing you much more than it should do to heat your home.

With energy costs reaching unprecedented levels, taking measures now to insulate your windows could save you money. But how much, exactly?

It's estimated that between 12 and 30 percent of your yearly heating bill goes to make up for heat loss through windows. 

With UK energy bills forecasted to rise to around £5500 per year, with a good [ercentage of those costs attributed to heating your home, there are noticeable amounts of money to be saved.

Properly insulating your home can reduce a heating bill by up to 25 percent, the U.S. Department of Energy notes.

There are a few choices to help reduce heat loss from around your windows: double glazing, secondary glazing and shutters, blinds and curtains. The choices vary widely in cost and ease of installation - here's more detail to help you decide which option might be best for you.

cat keeping warm by the radiator

How to Stop Heat Escaping Through Windows and Lower Your Energy Bill


Double Glazing – an effective, familiar and popular choice.  

Already in place in most new homes, double glazing is a permanent solution.  It is effective when the gap between the panes of glass is airtight and filled with an inert gas (or a vacuum) creating a thermal seal.  

As it sounds, installation is not an easy DIY task.

A company will need to come around to your house and measure up and produce the windows specifically for you which can be messy and disruptive.

Which have a helpful guide to choosing a double glazing provider.

The associated cost of double glazing also may mean you wish to consider other options before deciding.  

For some homeowners in conservation areas and in listed buildings, double glazing may not even be an option because of planning requirements.  

With the October energy costs rises due, if you decided to swap all your single glazed windows in an average three-bed home, you could expect to save about £350 a year on your heating.

UPVC double-glazing units should last around for 20 years or more, so your payback is relatively slow, but eventual!

man installing double glazing windows

Secondary Glazing – not as well known as double glazing is secondary glazing.

In summary, secondary glazing is the addition of another 'second' window pane to your existing window. This is often a removeable plastic covering for windows in winter.

It works along the same lines as double glazing in that the secondary glazing panel provides an immediate insulating barrier, blocking draughts and preventing heat from escaping.

Secondary Glazing also helps to reduce noise intruding into your home at the same time.

One of the benefits of secondary glazing over double glazing is that it is reversible - secondary glazing can be easy to remove during warmer months, depending on how it is installed.

You can choose an organisation that will send a sales representative to advise you or you can choose to fit secondary glazing yourself. 

It can be a simple process - watch our video demonstration on how to make single glazed windows warmer here.

Choosing to fit secondary glazing yourself makes it a very low cost choice - a fraction of the cost of double glazing. It is a great option for those looking to insulate single glazed windows.

Despite its low-price tag, a discreet, unobtrusive secondary glazing system will not look cheap and competently installed neither will it detract from your window features which may be a special concern for those with sash windows, stained glass and leaded windows.  

Secondary glazing window panes can easily be lifted out as and when necessary, especially if a magnetic fixing system is used rather than screws or adhesive systems.

For those renting a cold property, secondary glazing can be an ideal option.  

Secondary glazing is also an ideal solution for those in listed buildings or living in conservation areas facing planning restrictions which prevent double glazing. 

Accurate installation is key to secondary glazing success. 

With the October energy costs rises due, adding secondary glazing to existing single glazed windows could save you about £250 a year on energy bills.

So, not as much as you would expect with double glazing but overall a quicker payback since the secondary glazing system will be considerably cheaper.

renting a cold property, secondary glazing is a great option graphic

Secondary glazing panels are often made from acrylic - here's what you need to know:


  • An acrylic window pane will typically be cheaper in comparison to the same size glass counterpart.
  • Acrylic panes can do the same job as glass but at a thinner gauge
  •  Acrylic is lighter and easier to deliver to your home. Meaning you can simply order acrylic online and have it safely delivered.  It won't break or shatter like glass.
  • You can install acrylic windows easily yourself because they are so light and safe to handle - saving on installation costs. Glass installation is time consuming and because it is heavier in weight needs extra and careful handling.
  • Acrylic is 3 to 8 times more thermally insulating than regular glass windows.  Meaning, your room will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer
  • Acrylic panes will also help with sound control.  Testing has shown that adding acrylic window panes are especially effective n 1000 Hz range which are the lower frequencies associated with vehicles driving by.  The STC rating improves from 18 to 28 when an acrylic sheet is added to a single window. The decibel reduction is around 19.2, that is an effective reduction of over 70%!
  • Acrylic windows can be ordered easily.  You will need to measure up the window panes that you want to secondary glaze. 

Shutters, blinds, thermal curtains and thick curtains – can help prevent anywhere from 50% to 20% loss of heat.  But, given they block out light and views we think they make a better night time option!

A combination of the above may be your answer. 

Next Steps

You can find out more about our magnetic secondary glazing solution by clicking one of the below links:

Secondary Glazing Buyers Guide - ideal for pre-sales questions

Secondary Glazing Help Guide - this shows you how to measure up your windows and order and install our DIY secondary glazing solution

Secondary Glazing Products - you can browse and buy our secondary glazing solutions from this page

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Secondary glazing adds an additional layer of protection for you and your home by placing an insulation barrier between your home and the window. By adding this extra layer, secondary glazing keeps the inner panel warmer and reduces condensation formation.
Published 29/04/2024 15:36:12