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Get a Thermal Leak Detector for $29

If your home has leaks around doors and windows, this little gizmo will help you find them--and potentially save a small fortune in heating and cooling.

You know how President Obama is always talking about making homes more energy-efficient? Here's an affordable DIY solution.
You know how President Obama is always talking about making homes more energy-efficient? Here's an affordable DIY solution.
Black & Decker

It's always great to save money on gadgets, but even better when that gadget helps you save even more money.

For example, the Black & Decker Thermal Leak Detector helps you locate hidden energy leaks in your home. Patch 'em up and you could save a small fortune on heating and cooling.

The gizmo has a list price of $60, but Lowe's has the Thermal Leak Detector for $29 (plus sales tax). The only hitch is that you have to pick it up in-store. (Truck delivery is laughably expensive.)

Update: Apparently this was a regional deal. Although it still shows $29 for me here in Michigan, other folks around the country are seeing it for $39 or even more. If you print this post and take it into your local Lowe's, they might give you the lower price. At least one user said the manager did exactly that for him.

The TLD works by taking a "reference temperature," then detecting variances in that temperature (your choice of 1, 5, or 10 degrees) based on where you point it.

In addition to finding drafty spots around doors, windows, and the like, it can report the temperature of surfaces too hot to touch, confirm refrigerator and freezer temperature settings, and so on.

I haven't found any professional reviews of the TLD, but the 100-plus user reviews on Amazon averaged out to 4.5 stars out of 5. (Lots of informative comments there, so do a little reading before buying.) Apparently it's crucial to read the instructions so you know how to use the TLD properly.

My house is very drafty, so I'm definitely getting one of these (or at least asking Chanu-Claus for one). Admittedly, it's the kind of thing you might use only once, but if it helps you make your home more energy-efficient, it should pay for itself in short order. Plus, there's always regifting...

Speaking of saving money, check out five iOS apps that can help you do just that.

Bonus deal: Amazon has my most favorite iPhone/iPod alarm clock ever, the iLuv Vibe Plus, for $59.99 shipped. The speakers deliver impressive audio fidelity, and when you dock your iOS device, it automatically sets the clock's date and time. (Take that, power failures!) Oh, it has this nifty bed-shaker thing, too.