Weatherizing Your Home

Category Weatherizing
Keeping your home warm and dry during the winter months can be a challenge. Weatherizing your home will help you stay comfortable when it is cold out and will save on your heating bill the process. This is a page about weatherizing your home.


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I love my landlord, but he is too thrifty. For just $80.00, he could have stopped up the vent holes in the units the right way. Instead, he had the maintenance man stuff them with wadded newspaper.

Not only does that not work, but the first rain ruined what it did do.

Since I can't drive my car right now, I had to fix it with what I had at the house. That is where my meat trays, millions of plastic bags and some discarded bricks came in handy.

I stuffed some bags into a single bag, then poked a hole in the front so I could compress the bag without it ballooning up. The air escaped and it molded in nicely. Then, I had to trim off the top 1/2 inch or so of each long way on the tray. Then, I simply placed it under the lip of the siding, snuggled it in, and put a brick on it to keep it in place.

Note: This is makeshift for a reason. It's a stop gap between what was done and what should be done. To save $10.00 per four plex, we are all paying more for heat.


Being a diabetic, my circulation is critical and when the floors are cold, it doesn't help. So, my disclaimer is that while this is all I can do, it's not how it should be done.

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

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May 4, 2005
Water System

1. Shut off water systems by turning off the pump or shutting the valve if on city water. Drain the pressure tank.

2. Open all faucets.

3. Break a union close to the valve so water will drain out clear to the shut-off valve.

4. Drain pump and run a second or two to be sure all water is out of lines from the pump.

5. Flush toilets and dip all water out of the flush tank.

6. Be sure to drain flexible spray hoses in showers and sinks.

7. Drain water softeners so water will drain back from soft water pipes and controls. Brine tank will probably not freeze.


8. Drain water heaters.

Heating Systems

Electric heating systems require no maintenance other than shutting off the power to the heating units.

Hot air heating systems:

1. Turn off burner emergency switch which is often located at the top of the stairs.

2. Drain humidifier which is usually located on the furnace.

Forced hot water and steam systems: Drain all water in the system unless the liquid contains anti-freeze. It is wise to have this type of system drained by a plumber unless you are well-informed on the procedures necessary.

Winterize your summer home as you do your winter home. To help conserve energy when the home is not occupied, install a low-heat thermostat. By doing this your home could be maintained at abut 40 F. without a freeze-up, rather than at 55 F. which is the lowest temperature at which most thermostats can be set.


Washer and dishwasher Water left in hoses and internal components can cause damage when it freezes.

Shut off water supply to clothes washer. Remove and drain inlet hoses. Clear water valve by setting timer for fill cycle. Press warm water button and run machine a few seconds. Drain water from drain hose. Disconnect electrical supply.

For a dishwasher, remove inlet and outlet connection to the valve. Operate valve to remove any water. Remove drain hose from the pump and drain. Disconnect electrical supply.

It is also a good idea to clean the equipment and to protect the finish with a coat of appliance polish.

Stored items

1. Remove food, cosmetics, or medicine containers that contain liquid that would freeze from shelves.

2. Food in paper or plastic containers should be put in large metal containers to protect from mice or other rodents.

3. Remove or hide articles in the house that can be sold and converted to cash such as guns, radios, TV sets, tools or other valuables.


Sewage system

1. Force as much water as possible out of traps with a plunger.

2. Add antifreeze to each trap so you have at least a 50% solution of ethylene - glycol and water. Sometimes fuel oil can be substituted for antifreeze.

3. Check for traps in these locations: kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, bathtub and/or shower drains, toilets, washtubs, floor drains and maybe a sump pump.

Keep out animals

1. Cover chimneys tightly so that raccoons cannot enter the house, or birds fall down the chimney.

2. Stop up any places in the foundation or around the eaves where squirrels, chipmunks, mice or other small animals can enter.

This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.

Source: MSU Extension

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December 23, 2004

If you have an older home, consider having it insulated. There are several programs available to help with this, but if you do not qualify for them, it is still something that can be done for a reasonable price and it is an excellent way to save energy.


By Robin

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December 23, 2004

One of the quickest, best ways to save money is to weather-strip, caulk, and seal all of the seams and cracks in your home. Reducing air leaks can save you 10% of more on energy costs. By Robin

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May 2, 2005

You can weatherstrip your doors even if you're not an experienced handyman. There are several types of weatherstripping for doors, each with its own level of effectiveness, durability and degree of installation difficulty.

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September 18, 2004

One of the best ways to prepare a home for the winter weather and high energy costs is to take time now, before winter arrives, to do some simple home maintenance.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I have a 1/2 French door (only one side opens) going out to my back porch. I would like to have ideas on how to eliminate air coming in around it. I have tried weather stripping, but it falls off or the dogs tear it away from the side.

By nonniebeth from Rome, GA


September 22, 20110 found this helpful

You could try hanging a heavy curtain or blinds over the part of the window where the air comes in. Or You can put some foil or clear, wide packing tape over the drafty areas high enough so the dogs can't reach it.

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September 24, 20110 found this helpful

There is a metal (copper usually) weather stripping that is flared or 'v' shaped so the flared part is compressed to the existing width when the door is shut. It has no vinyl or foam and it nails to the opening which eliminates the tear off as you walk by. It is the best weather strip I have found.

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October 8, 2008

When weatherizing windows is it best to put plastic on the inside or outside of the house?

TJ from Murphysboro, Illinois


November 1, 20080 found this helpful

3M has wonderful kits you can buy that double back tape the plastic to the inside, then literally "shrink wrap" the plastic to the window with a hair dryer!

If you put them on the outsides, be sure and use thick strips of cardboard or thin molding. Wrap the plastic several times around the trim that you choose and staple or tack to the frame. This will keep the plastic from splitting in the wind.
Shower curtains from the dollar tree are a cheap source of plastic for smaller windows, as you can often double up on the thickness.

Also, Walmart has rolls of 60" wide plastic in varying thicknesses, that you roll out how many feet you want the they cut it for you. It's in the craft/fabric section.

Keep in mind that most of your heat loss will go through your windows. But insulation in the attic is even more important, since heat rises. Another thing that will keep your feet warmer and your pocketbook fatter is to block any crawl space vents with the styrofoam blocks. If you can't afford them, block them with wadded fiberglass (gloves!!) insulation, very small packing peanuts in double bags sealed really tight and then block them with a board and a cinderblock.
After living in AK for 5 winters, I learned how to stay warm!!!

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 30, 2008

I have a question about plastic on windows. Can you put in on both the inside and out?



Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

They have some plastic for the outside and the inside. I am going to do the inside this year in my sun room where it is BRRR in the winter! Walmart has a package (near the weatherstripping stuff) for $10 that does 10 windows. (10/08/2008)

By Susan

Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

I put Clear plastic on my sliders that face the open field on the out side in the fall. As the weather gets colder I take the same clear plastic from a role to make plastic drapes, one rod pocket on top for the rod. To make the pocket I use double back tape, old washers for the weigh at the bottom. I also used clear plastic shower curtains on the smaller windows inside double back tape joins the curtains seams together on the sides. I hang them the same way you do for a shower using the shower rings. I used a curtain rod instead of a shower rod. The same rods that I use for the sheers in the summer months. I still get the light, I can see out and I block the cold wind from the field. I have used some over & over, other are reused for what ever I need a piece of plastic for. I buy my clear shower curtain at the Dollar store a few at a time in the warmer months. I even used them in my shower after using them on the windows. This has worked for me for years. (10/09/2008)


Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

Usually it is easier, and nicer to put it just on the inside, and you can get it nice and snug so that it doesn't obstruct your vision. However, I remember my dad putting it on the outside when I was a kid. He made frames, like temporary storm windows, with fiberglass pink insulation along the edges. We were not concerned about the look of the house in those days! I am sure you can put plastic on the outside, although you may have to use more tape than the double sided that comes with the kit. Perhaps there are outside kits available. (10/09/2008)

By Louise B.

Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

The more plastic you put up the better. (10/10/2008)

By Janet

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