man inserting inflatable draft dodger in fireplace

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 a year on home utility bills of which almost half goes for heating and cooling.

If your home has a fireplace with a flue that is not adequately “weatherstripped,” it’s like leaving a door or window open. You’re losing expensive warmed air in the winter and cooled air in the summer. Today’s first reader has a terrific recommendation for how you can easily take care of this problem and pocket some serious energy savings in the process.

man inserting inflatable draft dodger in fireplace

DRAFT DODGER. Last year I bought two Battic Fireplace Plugs. They look a lot like little life rafts. You insert them up against the flue (when the fireplace is not in use) and inflate them to keep warm air from escaping through your leaky chimney damper, sealing out the draft. The difference in our heating bill the month after installing them was astounding. Flues rarely fit snugly and so much heat is lost up the chimney. I have no affiliation with the company, but I certainly have not been shy about recommending them to my friends. Chris

AUTOMATIC SOCK MATCHER. You need: A box of safety pins and a container to keep them where you take your socks off. Remove socks and join together with a safety pin. Socks will remain together in washer and dryer. Remove from dryer and your socks are ready to go into the sock drawer already matched and they don’t get lost or attached to other items. Think of all the time you’ve wasted matching socks!  Jeanne

CARPET REPAIR. I have repaired small damaged places on my carpet using this technique: I cut out the damaged area of carpet including the backing. Then I cut a piece of matching carpet the same size, including the backing. Glue in place. I can’t tell where the repair was made. Fortunately, this was carpet we had installed so had a scrap piece to get my repair plug from. Audrey

TIMERS SAVE ON STANDBY POWER. I use appliance timers to limit standby power. I have a timer on my home computer, printer, router and other peripherals. I have the timer set so that these machines are off when we are not home or we’re asleep. I figure the timer uses less energy than if all the other units are on standby. Glen

DISAPPEARING ACT. I use KIWI Brown Paste Shoe Polish in the tin can to hide scratches on wood furniture. Just apply with a soft close, rubbing against and then with the grain. Allow to dry and buff. Works really well! Cathy

FROZEN MILK. Living alone, I was constantly throwing away milk because it spoiled before I could drink it. I decided to fill empty eight-ounce water bottles with milk and freeze them, following these guidelines published by the Dairy Council of California. It works great for me. Annie.

LAUNDERING DOWN PILLOWS. I have had very good luck machine washing my down pillows at home, adapting your guidelines for How to Wash a Down Comforter. Drying requires extra time in the dryer but they come out nice and fluffy, every time. Doris.

Got a great tip you’d like to share? Please do! Send it to me and if promises universal appeal, watch for yourself in an upcoming post.

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