1. You can mimic the effect of radiant heated floors with the compact Area Rug Warmer, which spot-warms a selected location like a bathroom or bedside floor or a cold space in front of your favorite armchair or under your desk. Less than a quarter of an inch thick and 4 feet 6 inches by 3 feet 6 inches, you just slip it under the rug and plug it in. It is supposed to use about the same energy as three 100-watt light bulbs. It costs $199 at warmlyyours.com.
2. A major cause of bone-breaking falls is ice-covered entry steps. You can eliminate that hazard with HeatTrak's electrically heated rubber mats, which keep steps dry and safe. Slip-proof backing grips the concrete, brick or wood steps, and built-in grommet holes add additional protection when used to fasten the mat. Modular design (each mat is 11 by 36 inches and costs $140, and mats can be plugged together in series) enable use on up to nine steps. Larger sizes are available at warmlyyours.com.
3. Put an end to long waits for the cold water to turn hot when you open the faucet. Dornbracht, the kitchen and bath fixtures company, recently launched a new line of energy saving Hot Water Dispensers that deliver near-boiling filtered water instantly. The architectural silhouettes in traditional or contemporary styles are available in polished chrome or platinum matte finishes. Some models come with dial-up temperature features. Prices start at about $800 at Davis & Warshow, 222 Rt. 109, Farmingdale, 631-391-9506, or at dornbracht.com, 800-774-1181.
4. Why step out of a hot shower and shiver in a cold towel when you can wrap up in a seductively warm one? The stainless steel Classic Freestanding Towel Warmer with an oil-rubbed bronze finish, 24 inches high by 12 inches wide, will plug into a standard outlet. Its toggle switch control makes operation simple. $89.95 at signature hardware.com; 866-855-2284.
5. "A radiant heated walkway is less a luxury than a safety feature," says Gil Tastrom, owner of Airborne Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. in Shoreham (631-744-6598). A new walkway fitted with an underlayer of heated piping will melt snow as it falls, leaving the walkway dry and navigable without shoveling. Existing walkways must be removed for the installation of the piping. Nontoxic antifreeze circulates in the piping, eliminating the chance of frozen pipes. Piping installation costs $10 per square foot. The same method and pricing applies to installation of radiant heating in driveways.