6. Seal Your Vents

Why Now: For most birds, breeding season begins as early as mid-March and lasts through August, and any opening, such as a dryer vent or bathroom-fan vent, is a potential nesting site. Seal these up to deter birds and other unwanted critters that can set up house or sneak into your living spaces.

How To Do It: Replace builder-grade aluminum vent caps with a vent seal that remains closed when the appliance is not in use. Designs range from a floating shuttle (Lambro 289W Vent Closure, about $10; amazon.com) and a double-door model (P-tec Products Inc. No-Pest Vent, about $12; sears.com) for the dryer to a roof-mount steel hood with a built-in backdraft damper and bird screen (Broan Steel Roof Cap, about $30; lowes.com) for bathroom and
kitchen fans.

The Payoff: Avoid shelling out hundreds in pest-removal costs. And prevent up to 4 percent of your home's conditioned air from leaking out.
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