Reviews Tech & Electronics

7 Cool Inventions That Will Help You Save Money on Your Heating Bill

It might as well be one of the laws of nature: As outdoor temperatures drop, electricity bills rise. In much of the country, it takes a lot of energy to keep your home warm during the coldest months of the year, which is why it pays to weatherproof your house with added insulation, weatherstripping, and storm windows. But if you've already employed your regular suite of winter weather tricks to eliminate drafts and wasted energy, but your heating bills continue to rise, check out this collection of genius little gadgets that can help you save money on your bills this year and in the years to come.

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Window Film Kit

Eliminate the chill that occurs right next to your large picture window without tethering yourself to a space heater? It’s possible! A kit like this one (which covers five 3-foot by 5-foot windows) makes it easy: Just tape, cover with film, and heat with a hairdryer. The plastic shrinks to an airtight lining over the window, sparing you from heat loss and general draftiness. Plus, the Duck Brand estimates that sealing and insulating your whole home can save homeowners up to $190 in home energy costs. While window panes are just one location for heat loss, this under-$10 solution is a great place to start. Available on Amazon; $6.79.

Related: 12 Simple Tricks to Stay Seriously Warm This Winter

Heated Mattress Pad

Running your home’s heat all night to keep all corners of the house toasty, keep cozy while you sleep by running a much smaller heater—more specifically, a heated mattress pad. This queen-sized Quilted Heated Mattress Pad from Sunbeam features dual control and 10 heat settings so that both sleepers can get their most comfortable sleep. For extra efficiency, the auto-off feature powers the pad down after 10 hours so that you don’t waste any energy. Available on Amazon; $69.99.

Related: 10 Things to Buy If You’re Always Cold

Eve Door & Window Sensor

By mid-winter, a buttoned-up house gets stuffy and stale, so it makes sense to take advantage of fair weather days to crack a window and let in the fresh air. But if you’re running the heat when you open your windows, you’re letting energy—and money—escape. A door and window sensor, like this one from Eve, will notify you when your doors or windows have been left ajar and allow you to pause your heating system from an app on your phone until you have a chance to close them again and eliminate the draft. Available on Amazon; $39.95.

Related: The 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter

Socket Sealers

Your walls are insulated. All doors to the outside have been weatherstripped. And your double-paned windows are properly caulked. All that, and yet somehow you still feel a draft! Where could it be coming from? One distinct possibility: Cold air may be sneaking into your home through the light switches and electrical outlets on exterior walls. Unfortunately, it’s a common problem, but there’s a cheap and easy, inexpensive fix—Socket Sealers. Available on Amazon; $6.99 per 24-pack.

Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

Smart HVAC Vents

How can a duct vent be smart, you ask? The technology may be complicated, but the premise is pretty darn simple: Products like the Keen Home Smart Vent help homeowners heat and cool their homes room by room. Doing that cuts out the expense (and the insanity) of keeping unoccupied areas of the home as comfortable and inviting as the areas where you spend the most time. In other words, Keen offers a turnkey, affordable alternative to full-on multi-zone HVAC systems that cost a bundle and require pro installation. Available at Amazon; $84.99.

Related: 10 Ways to Warm Up Your Bathroom in Winter

Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool Fan

Rather than cranking up the thermostat to heat up that one chilly room in the house, get yourself a space heater; the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus is the best of the best. The sleek heater has two modes: focused (perfect for personal warmth) and diffused (which can warm up a whole room). Don’t put this space heater in deep storage when the weather turns warm—the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus works as a fan to keep you cool in the summertime. Available from Amazon; $469.99.

Related: The 10 Best Winter Buys for a Happy, Healthy Home

FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera with WiFi

With the FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera you can save a call to the pros to find leaks or other HVAC issues in your house. Instead of paying for a consultation, walk around your house with this easy-to-use camera to identify problems like air infiltration and inadequate weatherstripping. The Hot Spot or Cold Spot feature quickly finds and measures the hottest or coldest spot in the defined area. With real-time image enhancement and Wi-Fi connectivity, you can identify maintenance problems, then save the images for documentation. Available from Amazon; $699.

Related: 10 Life-Changing Buys to Help You Survive Winter Mornings