Prepping Your Home for Winter/Summer While Saving $$$




About: I like to find out how things work. I like to see if I can learn new things through that.

Usually, during the Cold Winter months and Hot Summer months, the bills for Gas/Electricity in my house jump through the roof. The higher bills, of course, are due to the usage of the furnace (for Winter) or the air conditioning (for Summer) running all the time.

This year, I decided to make a dent in those bills by taking some simple steps to ensure I was not wasting my money.

The following steps are what I did to make my house Winter/Summer ready and thereby save money on bills!!!

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Step 1: Air Duct Cover

If you (like I do) have many empty spaces in your home that are not used (basement anyone?) much, consider a simple seal to the Air Duct Vents. Sealing the vents is much better than just closing them as air will always leak out of the "closed" vents.

To do this, we will need the ladder to reach them on the sealing (no ladder necessary if they are on the floor... jejeje) and we need to take off the two screws usually holding the vent to the ceiling.

Step 2: Air Duct Cover Seal

Now that we have the Air Duct cover detached, we need to flip it over so we see the inside part. We want to grab that plastic bag (it doesn't matter what type as long as it fits the cover) and place it right at the top.

With a pair of scissors or a knife, cut out the piece of plastic that will fit the cover leaving about 1 inch of extra on all sides. Leaving the extra will allow us to push the cover back in place while the sides create the seal we are looking for.

Step 3: Air Duct Cover Replacement

We should now have the duct cover with the piece of plastic on top.

When re-placing the duct cover on the ceiling, make sure that each side of the plastic laps onto each of the sides creating a small "seal" for the part of the cover that goes back in the duct.

Do this for any rooms in your house that you are not using. Closing out these vents allow your furnace and air conditioning to work less to keep the remainder of the house at a cozy temperature thus, less waste of resources converting in $$$ going back into your pocket!!!

Step 4: Air Duct EXTRA - Making a Simple Airduct

Ok, while doing the above steps, there was something I found in my basement which got me by surprise. Above one of my air duct covers, where the air comes out, I had to walls to keep the air from leaking into the floor of the first floor of the house!

I did not have anything to repair this at the time (duct metal is needed and tape to seal) so I made some walls from a box. Being I had an extra box laying around, I measured the cut out of the air duct and the size of the hole on the ceiling. I cut out the shape I needed out of the box (making sure to leave a piece to overlap onto itself) and began to join it together. I kept the top part of the "lids" of the box as those would allow me to duct tape the top to the airduct. Placed it in the hole and taped it up. BAM! Cheap airduct!

This is not a permanent solution or luxurious but, I can tell you it works!

Step 5: OPTIONAL - Sealing Attic Door

If you have an attic, you might already be aware that its one of the places where your house looses a lot of the air generated inside. To alleviate this, I went to the local Hardware store and bought a thin weather stripping sponge with tape to one side.

I cut out the pieces and set them to the inside of the frame where the attic door closes, this way, it is not in the way when the attic door is opened and yet creates a seal when the door is pressed close.

Simple and easy to do! Can you hear the money savings coming in? jejeje

Step 6: Windows and Great Stuff!

On to the windows of your home.

As your house gets older, it settles and the once pristine seals on the doors and windows begin to come apart. There is nothing worse than not being comfortable in your home because the air (hot or cold) is being leaked out due to those seals coming apart.

Great news! Get some Great Stuff! and re-seal your windows!

Step 7: Window Sealing With Great Stuff!

Get your ladder and your can of Great Stuff! and lets do the first window.

You will notice on the outside of the window some gaps to the sides and top, these are due to the house settling for the last few years. You can use caulking to cover these but mine were too big to simply caulk. Get the tip of the Great Stuff and push it in to the crack of the window. With a simple squeeze of the trigger the Great stuff will begin oozing out, remember that this stuff expands as it dries so we don't want to overfill the gap, we want to put down a good line where needed.

To give the Great Stuff time to dry, move to the next window and begin the process again.

Step 8: Window Great Stuff Removal

Now that you've gone around the house sealing all the windows, we should be back at the very first one. Hopefully enough time has passed and the Great Stuff is now sturdy and fluffy. Take your knife and cut out the extra "fluff" that came out of the window seals.

VOILA! You have now sealed your windows!

You *MAY* have to touch up the window paint if the color of the Great Stuff you used shows up too much or becomes an eye-sore.


Also, remember:

If your refrigerator is almost empty, add bottles of water to it, cold water maintains the temperature inside.

Add ceiling fans to the rooms in your house which you frequent most for better air circulation.

Add a programmable thermostat so you can set a range for the temperatures when you are home and away.

These are, of course, just a few ways to keep your house at a comfortable temperature during the year WHILE saving yourself some $$$. There are more things you can do but these entail the steps I took in my own home.

Step 10: ENJOY!!!

Sit back and relax, compare last months bill with this month. Compare last years bill for the same month and see the impact you are making on your monthly bill!! Take a look at the picture and see the actual savings by making these changes. We were able to save almost HALF our bill compared to last year!!!

I hope you enjoyed my instructable and can find it beneficial for your home this winter and the coming seasons! Please VOTE for it at the top right of the page if you found it useful!

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    15 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    You're welcome. glad this was of some help to you.

    Logan Hanssen

    4 years ago

    in the hot summer, wake up early and open a bunch of windows and get some air flow. then when the day starts to heat up close all the doors and windows. this traps all the cold mourning air in to cut down on air conditioning cost.

    2 replies
    teaMJPxLogan Hanssen

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    That my friend, is a great idea. I am usually at work by 06:00 but I might sacrifice a little of my sleep time to try that next summer.



    Reply 4 years ago

    terrible idea. when you open windows you let in tons of humidity then when you switch back on your ac, it works harder to eliminate that humidity. I am an HVAC contractor

    One thing to be wary of if you're shutting off the vents in winter to your basement are where your water pipes are. If they're in close proximity to the HVAC in the ceiling you're good to go, but if they rely on the heat coming up through the ceiling from the basement to remain free-flowing and you've shut off the heat going there you can see where that becomes an issue.

    1 reply

    You are correct. If you live where the heat from your house keeps the flow of water to your piping I would not recommend doing this, at least not unless you can wrap your pipes in good pipe insulation rated for rough winters and even then I am unsure how that would hold up.



    4 years ago on Step 10

    This is great! Sealing all the gaps really does make a difference.I need to figure out what to to with some ducts that I want o be able to open and close without disassembling but stop the leaking. You'd' think they could make those more efficient! Geez! This is why I love our community here! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    you're welcome! I enjoy saving money and it was easy to do this. I would love •sealed• vents too but until they make them, this will work fine.



    4 years ago on Step 3

    I do the same thing - shut off and cover up all vents in rooms not used.

    But this past year of doing so, I noticed something and had to wonder if doing so was really saving me all that much.

    For example - I use a spare bedroom for a storage and craft room.

    I keep it closed off, so vents are also..closed off.

    But during summer months - (also applies to cold and winter months) I noticed the much warmer (or colder) air in the room was leaking into the general part of the house.

    Whenever I need to go into that room for anything, there is a large exchange of heated (or cold) air from opening and closing that door.

    So in reality, this is still making the furnace or AC work as it did before closing off vents.

    Those rooms will and do get very warm (almost stifling hot) and pretty cold.

    So unless someone can totally seal off said rooms and not use them at all - is it really making that much difference?

    I even sealed around the door but interior doors are so thin and cheaply made that I can still feel the temp difference walking by the doors.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with you, when you walk past those rooms you can feel the difference when you are right next to the door. Luckily, doing this to a basement is usually not bad since heat rises and cold falls therefore keeping the basement as one of the *cooler* spots in the house on any season. I do this on the rooms which I don't plan on using much if at all.

    But as far as making a difference, it does. Check out the last picture from last years bill for September and this year. I'd say it definitely makes a difference, of course results vary but even when its a small difference, that's money in your pocket. jejeje



    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is great. Just before the winter months I use plastic film to seal several windows, and especially my patio doors.

    This has a downside where depending on how the blinds are setup they could prevent you from opening them during the winter months.

    After installing them there is a noticeable difference in the room temperature.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, there is definitely a NOTICEABLE difference in room temperature when sealing air leaks. I had not thought about actually sealing some of the windows with plastic film... I will definitely have to try that out.

    Thank you!