Expanding spray foam to the rescue in the frugal minute

Frugal Minute – Expanding Spray Foam

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There are opportunities to incorporate frugality every day. This is the first in a series that will introduce a quick frugal hint in less than a minute (or so). Today we are talking about the joys (and pains) of expanding spray foam.

These will be short posts intended to take less than a minute to read. Adjusting your lifestyle or taking action to incorporate this frugal habit may take time. (Change is hard!) But once we get it down together, it should help simplify and frugalify our lives.

Frugal Minute

I’m super excited to learn more frugal living habits this year as our joint income has significantly decreased! So let’s get started!

January’s theme is focused on saving on your electric and heating bills.

(I know, I know, it’s best to winterize your home before January. But we got busy with travel, holidays, and laziness. So we are just now getting around to it.)

The Leaking Window Story

Expanding spray foam to the rescue in the frugal minuteSo, a couple of weeks ago when our well decided to stop working, we realized that, ummmm ,our basement windows were letting the frigid winter air blow (not seep, but blow) into our house. We were flipped switches on the well and noticed the room was particularly cold and breezy.

Well, the culprit was the basement windows, which had settled and a 1/4″ gap was created between the top of the window and the framing around the window.

Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive fix for small gaps in your home:

Expanding Spray Foam

Mr. Kiwi headed out to the hardware store to pick up a can of the amazing expanding spray foam.

Expanding Spray Foam’s Flaw

The annoying thing about the spray foam is that the can is one time use only. Once the foam sets up in the nozzle you won’t be able to get any more out. So when you open and use the can you’ll want to thoroughly insulate every area of your home that is leaking.

The other annoying thing is that if you get any on you, it is a b!tch to get off. So sorry Mara and Mr. Kiwi! Thanks for taking one for the team and losing a bit of hair in the process!

Investigating for Leaks

To find every single place that’s leaking you need to walk the entire perimeter of your home and look for leaks.

Expanding spray foam to the rescue in the frugal minute
The well that stopped working and alerted us to this issue! (Fortunately, we were able to fix the well in ten minutes for free.)

On the exterior, pay attention to:

  • Cracks in concrete walls or the foundation
  • Window and door framing
  • Angles/corners of the building
  • Pipe and vent protrusions
  • Where the roof meets the top of walls

On the interior, pay attention to:

  • Windows and doors
  • Where the foundation meets the wall framing
  • Pipe and vent protrusions

You could note all of the places you want to seal up on a drawing of your home (plan view). Or you can rely on your handy memory or a partner’s memory.


The added benefit of sealing up all the gaps means fewer animals will be able to get in! Yay, no more mice, snakes, or other small creatures.

And I know I live in Michigan, but we (well no me, Mr. Kiwi) did find a snake in the basement. Fortunately, it was cold and the snake was in a Rubbermaid tub, so he was able to carry the tub outside and release the garter back to the wild.

How often should I do this?

Every spring and fall it’s a good idea to walk your perimeter, reinstall gutters, and look for any gaps in need of sealing! But you know, that’s just a goal.

Clearly it had been a while for us, and when we’ve done it in the past we clearly missed this issue! That’s why it’s helpful to inspect the inside and outside of our home. There’s no way we would have spotted this leak from the outside.

It helps protect and maintain your home, plus you save some money on your heating and cooling bills.

Weatherize Your Home Action Plan

Thanks for reading the first frugal minute! Here’s this week’s action plan: Expanding spray foam to the rescue in the frugal minute

  1. Walk the exterior and interior perimeter of your home looking for any gaps
  2. If you notice any gaps, buy 1 can of expanding spray foam (we used this one)
  3. Fill those gaps with spray foam and wipe off any excess!
  4. Enjoy your more climate controlled house

Estimated Time:

20 minutes plus trip to the hardware store (or wait time for the expanding foam to arrive)

Estimated Cost:

$8 for one can of expanding spray foam (but your utility bills will go down!)

Anyone else have a story about a weird creature getting into their home? Any questions about how to do this? Any fun frugal minute ideas?

I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

3 comments on “Frugal Minute – Expanding Spray Foam”

  1. In our last apartment, there was air coming in from the outside and we got maintenance to come seal it with caulk. Would that work as well? Caulk might be cheaper since you can continue to use it . But expanding foam is probably easier to use, caulking requires a steady hand I feel.

  2. Reply

    I did the spray foam thing a few years back. I had two brands and one last super-long and is still holding up today while the other didn’t. The foam from the other brand started breaking down and falling apart after about a year. the problem is I didn’t expect that at the time and didn’t save the cans or make note of the brands, so I don’t know which was which.

  3. Reply

    Oh, this made me think back to the joys of one of our first places we rented. I would be sitting in the living room – and my hair would be moving, from so much coming through the window! No one would come and fix it. We ended up buying super heavy curtains that block out the sun to keep your house cool in the summer…but also prevent cold air from blowing into your house in the winter. It was a cheap fix when we couldn’t modify it ourselves (shakes fist in air at landlords!); we still use those curtains to this day to help control the temp in our home. Good tips for the winter – I never thought of expanding spray foam, as I’ve just used caulking, but I am intrigued now!

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