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33 Expensive Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making Around The House During The Winter

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By Rachel Bar-Gadda

Winter’s arrival can feel like you took a hard and slightly shocking left turn somewhere along the way from summer. You may encounter a higher-than-expected bill from the gas company, electric company, or even the plumber. Every year you may ask yourself: why is winter so darn expensive? But there are simple solutions that can make this time of the year more of a joy and less of a drain on your wallet. These are the 33 expensive mistakes you don’t even realize you’re making (or maybe you’ve simply forgotten) around the house during the winter.

This list will help to specify all those mistakes that result in small and large expenses, that, with the help of some clever products, can be used to save you some major money this winter. The very fundamental mistake of letting precious and expensive heat escape from your home can be remedied with foam weatherstrips or insulation kits for your windows. Or perhaps what you need is a programmable thermostat or thermal blackout curtains to manage your heat wisely. The princely cost of an overbooked plumber can be avoided with the use of a simple heating cable for your pipes. Even your treasured pet will thank you when you remember to use salt-free ice melt this time around.

Make this the year you win the battle over exasperating domestic winter challenges. Use this list to stay one step ahead and be sure to squirrel away those savings into your summer piña colada fund.

1

Mistake: You’re Letting Drafts In Through Doors

Solution: A Door Stopper That Rescues Your Heating Bill

When transitioning from the warmer months into chilly winter days, homeowners can often be faced with the annual “my heating bill costs what now?” dilemma. That’s where this door draft stopper can save you the mistake of letting all that sneaky cold air ruin a perfectly well-heated abode. Available in nine different sizes and eight colors, apply the provided tape to the door to keep the stopper in place, even as the door is opened and closed. On top of keeping cold air out, it prevents dust and light from coming through as well. Hang it by the two hanging loops to store it quickly and efficiently.

2

Mistake: Your Curtains Are Made For Summer Weather

Solution: These Popular Blackout Curtains That Double As Energy Savers

With over 32,000 reviews on Amazon, these blackout curtains not only block out 100% of UV rays, but they also act as energy insulators by, for example, keeping warm air in and cold air out in the winter. Made of triple-weave polyester fabric with thick blackout coating on the inside, these also minimize outside noise effectively. Coming in six sizes to suit a variety of dimensions, they’re available in 21 different shades including stylish lattice patterns, herringbone, and stripes.

3

Mistake: You Didn’t Weatherproof Your Doors

Solution: Caulk & Trim Strips To Seal Drafty Leaks

Extremely flexible and self-adhesive, simply peel and stick these caulk trim strips around floors, windows, or doors for a little extra weatherproofing, thus saving yourself the mistake of wasting precious money on heating. The trim adheres effectively to many different surfaces such as tile, ceramic, wood, and vinyl and can prevent moisture from building up around appliances, as well.

4

Mistake: Not Properly Storing Seasonal Items

Solution: This Clothes Storage Bag To Extend The Life Of Seasonal Clothing

Save yourself the hassle of buying appropriate seasonal items every year by using these large-capacity storage bags. Made of non-woven fabric and PVC, each bag has the capacity to store large items such as comforters, blankets, and pillows, in addition to clothing items such as jackets and coats. With a choice between three colors (blue, black, and gray) and coming in a pack of three, you can conveniently see exactly what’s contained inside, thanks to the clear plastic in front.

5

Mistake: Your Heat Is Escaping Through Your Windows

Solution: An Affordable Insulation Kit For Your Windows

Windows are perhaps the number one culprits for letting chilly air in and warm toasty heat escape. This window insulation shrink kit is a super affordable and effective way to seal in the warmth and keep out the cold. It’s very easy to install: simply apply the tape along the window frame, attach the provided crystal clear plastic film, and dry on high heat with your very own hairdryer. The sheet will dry wrinkle-free and tightly to the window to prevent any sneaky leaks.

6

Mistake: Losing Sleep With Sheer Curtains

Solution: These Blackout Paper Shades To Keep Out The Winter Morning Sun

A very affordable way to block out that way-too-early winter morning light, these blackout paper shades fit precisely inside your window frame to stand alone or function with an existing window treatment. With no tools required for installation, you can custom trim your shade and put it in place using the provided adhesive strip at the top of the shade. Coming in a pack of six, this shade is meant to last and won’t yellow or crack from sun exposure.

7

Mistake: Using Regular Ice Melt That Can Be Dangerous For Pets

Solution: A Salt-Free Ice Melt That’s Safer

When the first snow hits the ground, one mistake you’re never going to want to make is to put something on the ground that might cause your pet distress. This salt-free ice melt won’t harm your pets, kids, or plants. Non-toxic and biodegradable, its crystal structure pierces the molecular makeup of snow and ice to break it down and keep it from reforming, all within about 10 minutes.

8

Mistake: Storing Wood Too Close To Your Fireplace

Solution: This Decorative Firewood Rack

Helpful in creating a safe and designated space for your firewood, those blessed with fireplaces will appreciate this elegantly curved firewood rack. Made of heavy-duty and corrosion-resistant steel and appropriate for indoors as well as outdoors, there’s generous space to store plenty of wood as well as a convenient arched base for kindling.

9

Mistake: Letting Your Faucets Freeze

Solution: A Faucet Cover To Insulate Against Winter Freeze

A great product to prevent the mistake of accidentally leaving your faucets to weather the elements, this faucet cover has a durable outer shell constructed of heavy-duty plastic and a thick inner layer of styrofoam to prevent freezing. Using it couldn’t be simpler: loop the cover around the faucet handle, pull the cord away, and slide the lock to stay in place, thus safeguarding your faucets and your home.

10

Mistake: Not Adding Moisture To Dry Winter Air

Solution: This Ultrasonic Humidifier

You don’t have to wave the white flag in the face of winter dryness. This cool mist ultrasonic humidifier can hold up to 2.2 liters of water, and with a nozzle that rotates 360 degrees, will help you feel like a human again. Functioning almost completely silently, it has multiple mist settings so you can adjust how much humidity you need, and includes an automatic shutoff feature so you can set it to run without a worry.

11

Mistake: Leaving The Thermostat On

Solution: A Smart & Programmable Thermostat To Keep Costs Down

This energy-star-certified thermostat keeps you from making the mistake of letting that precious heat run uncontrollably, even while you’re away from the house. With a quick and easy installation, this smart and wifi-enabled thermostat is fully programmable, allowing you to set a flexible 7-day schedule, on top of other features like geofencing, and in-app system usage monitoring. Control it from anywhere with remote access and conveniently use it with your other smart devices such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.

12

Mistake: Having No Backup Light In A Storm

Solution: These Camping Lanterns For Emergency Situations

When those expected winter storms hit and the electricity comes to a shaking halt, don’t make the mistake of being left without a way to function in the dark. These LED camping lanterns are portable and provide extremely bright and long-lasting 360-degree light with the help of 30 LEDs. The lantern collapses down to a footprint as small as your phone and their lightweight design is waterproof and weather-resistant, so you know you can depend on this light source in the fiercest of galls.

13

Mistake: Leaving Cold Floors Bare

Solution: A Soft Faux Fur Rug

This faux sheepskin fur rug offers a sure way to amp up the coziness of your home during winter and also help keep floors warm. Made of incredibly soft Mongolian faux fur and a leather-like bottom, your home will feel instantly warmer when your feet hit its soft texture. Available in 11 different sizes and shapes from rectangular to square to round, you can also choose between 19 different cozy colors like pure white, pink, or frosted bottom coffee.

14

Mistake: Not Insulating Windows & Doors

Solution: This Weatherstrip To Put The Kibosh On Drafts

A fierce fighter of all unauthorized drafty leaks, this weatherstrip adheres easily but firmly with strong adhesive backing and can be used to seal gaps in windows and doors with ease. The high-density closed foam offers not only serious insulation, but also sound dampening, shock resistance, moisture resistance, and chemical corrosion resistance. Choose from 17 different combinations of length and thickness to kick any draft to the curb.

15

Mistake: Leaving Your Stairs Covered In Snow

Solution: Heated Snow Melting Mats

These genius snow melting mats sit atop each step and plug into a standard 120-volt outlet to immediately heat and thus continuously melt any snow, clearly revealing the unobstructed step that may make your life that less treacherous. One 120 volt unit (not included) can power up to 15 mats and they have a textured surface to prevent any slipping. Each mat fits most standard stairways measuring four feet long and 10 inches wide.

16

Mistake: You’ve Got The Heat On Full Blast

Solution: This Faux Fur Throw Blanket That Gives Off Chalet Vibes

For those days when going outside is off the table, save on your heating bill and snuggle up in this faux fur throw blanket with full après ski vibes. Available in three earthy neutral colors (alpine brown, gray, and ivory), each blanket is half an inch thick with faux fur on one side and covered in a velvety soft material on the other. These blankets are all individually dyed and therefore no two will look alike, adding a nice unique detail to these otherwise stylish and comfortable throws.

17

Mistake: You’ve Let Your Body Sink Into Winter Fatigue

Solution: A Massage Seat Cushion That Also Offers Heat Therapy

There couldn’t be a better antidote to cold weather-related body fatigue than a seat cushion that’s also a massager. Add to that the possibility of heat therapy, and you’ll certainly be properly rejuvenated to fight another day. This massage seat cushion offers custom vibration settings to target different parts of the body (or all at once!) at different intensities on top of gentle radiating heat to the seat and back. The non-slip bottom and straps help it to attach to a chair or just simply stay in place on the couch.

18

Mistake: Your Heat Is Cranked Up Overnight

Solution: This Heated Sherpa Blanket With Five Heat Settings

This electric blanket has an ultra-luxe and velvety sherpa texture on top of keeping you warm in bed or on the couch with five available heat settings. To allow you to sleep the night in unworried peace, it features a temperature monitoring system that automatically turns off the heating element once it has exceeded a certain temperature. As a bonus, you can easily machine wash this blanket in cold water.

19

Mistake: All Your Devices Run Out Of Battery In A Power Outage

Solution: An Emergency Radio With A Solar Hand Crank

If the power happens to go out, this emergency radio can keep you in the loop with the help of multiple power sources including an extremely handy solar panel and hand crank. Several other methods of charging are included which can even allow you to power your devices. On top of access to seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels and AM/FM stations, this radio also functions as a bright emergency flashlight and loud SOS alarm, to fully prepare you for any emergency that might come your way.

20

Mistake: Freezing Your Hands As You Clear Off Snow

Solution: This Ice Scraper Mitt That Keeps Your Hand Warm While You Scrape

This ice scraper mitt can make those pre-commute winter mornings a little less uncomfortable and get you on the road faster. The mitt is constructed of a waterproof exterior and soft interior to keep your hands cozy during your morning pre-drive ritual. The ice scraper, which slips into the glove, features a foam grip handle and a high-quality plastic scraper with a jaw design to break through the ice surface without scratching your windshield.

21

Mistake: You’re Heating The Entire House At Once

Solution: A Ceramic Space Heater Perfect For Small Spaces

Perfect for those small personal spaces that need just a touch more direct heat, this ceramic space heater has a compact footprint that can fit almost anywhere. Using 500 watts of power, the ceramic coils heat up instantly to give off safe and sustained heat. Match your decor by choosing among black, blue, pink, or white.

22

Mistake: You’ve Got Lightweight Sheets On Your Bed

Solution: These Flannel Sheets That Keep You Sleeping Soundly

These ultra-cozy flannel sheets will make the transition to the winter season all the more bearable. Made of soft and tightly-woven cotton, you can conveniently machine wash these sheets for easy cleaning. With sizes ranging from twin to California king, choose from 15 delightful colors and patterns such as Buffalo plaid, kodiak, and snowdrift.

23

Mistake: Your Pipes Are Exposed To The Elements

Solution: A Heating Cable That Prevents Frozen Pipes

There might be nothing worse than the dreaded frozen pipe and the resulting chaos it can wreak on the homeowner. Coming to the rescue is this wrap-on pipe heating cable that easily wraps around pipes and plugs in to insulate pipes against freezing. There’s a built-in thermostat that turns the cable on at 38 degrees and prevents freezing in temperatures up to minus 50 degrees. It comes available in 13 different lengths and can be used on all rigid pipes.

24

Mistake: Leaving Your Patio Furniture Out All Season

Solution: This Protective Outdoor Furniture Cover

Keep your patio ready for spring or a cozy night by the firepit with this outdoor furniture cover that will protect your 3-seater outdoor sofa from the winter elements. Constructed of woven polyester fabric and laminated PVC coating underneath to prevent any moisture from making its way through, it comes available in several different sizes accommodating a variety of patio furniture pieces. Click-close straps keep the cover in place on even the windiest of stormy days.

25

Mistake: Letting Lint Build Up In Your Dryer

Solution: A Dryer Vent Vacuum Attachment

Making the mistake of leaving lint to build up in your dryer could not only cause your dryer to work less efficiently (therefore costing you more money) but could even run the risk of fire. This vacuum hose attachment functions to go deep inside to that hard-to-reach part of your dryer to remove accumulated lint. It measures 33 inches long, has two suction control settings for lighter or heavier work, and also includes a guidewire to help control the path of the hose.

26

Mistake: Making Too Many Trips To The Market

Solution: These Food Liners To Extend The Life Of Produce

Preserving the life of your produce can give you a self-satisfied sense of “see, I am an adult” in addition to the fact that it saves you from making continuous trips to the grocer in bad weather. These food liners are made of high-quality foam that allows air to circulate and also absorbs moisture, preventing spoiling, rotting, odors, and bruising. BPA, PVC, and phthalates-free, these liners are safe for food contact and will be sure to save you precious money on the next trip to the market.

27

Mistake: Your Rugs Are Slipping & Sliding

Solution: A Rug Gripper To Keep Things In Place

These nifty rug grippers function as an extremely easy and low-profile way of keeping rugs securely in place. Great for outdoor mats during the winter months as well, you simply peel the adhesive backing off the gripper and attach it to your rug. Using vacuum technology, when pressure is applied air escapes creating a low-pressure area that seals the gripper to the floor (much like a suction cup). Helpful in creating a safe environment for kids and pets, the grippers can remain adhered to the rug, even through a cycle in the washing machine.

28

Mistake: Calling For A Plumber In Midwinter

Solution: This Clog Remover That Dissolves Blockages

No one wants to call a plumber out in the dead of winter, so having this clog remover on hand should give you some peace of mind. This powerful and efficient drain opener works to dissolve any buildup of hair, soap, paper, and grease to get those pipes running smoothly. It works quickly by lowering the pH levels in the drain to remove any obstacles and the thick formula coats pipes to keep things free and clear.

29

Mistake: Scratching Wood Floors By Moving Chairs Around

Solution: A Set Of Chair Leg Covers That Protect Floors

For those festive gatherings on chilly nights, you may need to do some moving around of chairs to make your guests comfortable, and these felt-bottom chair leg covers will protect your floors from any potential scratches. Made of a transparent silicone that effortlessly stretches to fit over square or round legs, they will appear nearly invisible to your guest. With a choice between five different sizes and a number of different color options, know these won’t fall apart with use due to the fact that the felt and silicone are fused as one piece.

30

Mistake: Letting Your Outdoor Cat Rule The Roost

Solution: These Cat Scratch Deterrent Shields

Perfect for your normally-outside cat who is opting to cozy up inside over the winter, these cat scratch deterrent shields protect your furniture from your pet who is taking their restlessness out on your sofa. Made of strong scratch-resistant material, the transparent shields quickly stick to polyester, cotton, acetate, or vinyl with the use of a peel-off adhesive and have a concealed look. With custom configuration in mind, they come in a large sheet so you can cut them to whatever dimensions you need.

31

Mistake: Putting Up Festive Lighting Unsafely

Solution: A Power Strip With Surge Protection

Don’t put yourself in a Clark Griswold holiday light scenario and protect your hard-won decorations with this power strip with surge protector. With seven provided outlets, this power strip features auto-switching technology with a user-adjustable current-sensing circuit and a 15 Amp circuit breaker. With the cable stretching to three feet, there are both ground and surge protector indicator lights also included.

32

Mistake: Having To Replace Scratched Furniture

Solution: These Wood Markers To Disguise Furniture Scuffs

When the heavy winter gear is brought out that can also mean the possibility of sturdy boots running into sturdy furniture and leaving a few scuffs in their wake. These genius wood markers come in a set of six shades of different wood finishes such as walnut, oak, and cherry as well as six touch-up wax sticks. Use these to spruce up nicks and scratches on tables, beds, desks, cabinets, or anywhere your steel-toed boot has made a friend.

33

Mistake: Letting Winter Take A Toll On Your Carpets

Solution: A Versatile Steam Cleaner To Keep Carpets Clean

This steam cleaner will keep those carpets fresh and clean no matter how much errant snow and debris is brought in by accident. On top of its power as a steam mop, it also includes a built-in handheld steamer for use on furniture as well as a flexible hose to steam clothing or curtains, for example. You can use it on hardwood, vinyl, and tile flooring in addition to carpet, and with three adjustable modes, it’ll prove to be a dependable way to keep your house looking neat and tidy.