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.
Step 9: OTHER SAVING TIPS
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!