If you're looking for novel ways to make your home cozier while making it more energy-efficient, these simple fixes will have your house sealed against drafts and less reliant on central heating systems.
Many of these additions and fixes are simple to complete yourself. From installing a fireplace TV stand for space heating to adding heavy drapes to insulate the room, you can spruce your place up while reducing your carbon imprint.
Here are some more ways of reducing your impact on the Earth while adding to your home's charm and energy-efficiency.
Model Energy-Efficient House
1. Install Ceiling Fans
A lot of energy goes into making your AC unit pump out cooler air in the hot months; you can avoid skyrocketing utility bills by relying more heavily on your ceiling fans.
Traditional Living Room Design
A ceiling fan rotates, pushing air around the room and generating a very slight breeze. Using a ceiling fan creates a chilly wind effect, cooling you down instantly. In the winter, reverse the rotation on your ceiling fans to push hot air down for more efficient heating.
You can cut down on your cooling costs and make your home more energy-efficient by keeping the fans on when you're in the room. Remember to turn them off when you leave as fans cool people, not rooms.
2. Use a Tankless Water Heater
Since tankless water heaters work on-demand, meaning they only provide boiling water when you need it. This means they don't spend extra time and energy heating an entire tank of hot water.
It takes energy to keep water hot. Using a system that can give you scalding water only when you need it, you save on the electricity it usually takes to keep that tank hot in traditional models.
3. Invest in a Fireplace TV Stand
An item that perfectly combines form and function is a fireplace TV stand. This piece of furniture does double duty as it holds one of the most popular appliances in your house---the TV---and has a gorgeous fireplace display on the bottom.
Whether it's forced air or infrared, this fireplace insert puts out a good amount of heat, so you don't have to rely on your heating system as heavily.
If you are only using a fireplace insert as an aesthetic focal point of your living room, you can disregard the insert's wattage and BTUs. Here's a little more about the different fireplace inserts:
With infrared bars that emit 5,200 BTUs of heat, using 1,500 watts in a standard model. This is an impressive output and can warm 1,000 ft² of living space. This usually means that an infrared heating insert can provide heat for both the kitchen and the living room in an open floor plan.
Fireplace TV stands are a smart alternative to a central heating system, especially for those trying to reduce their carbon footprint by living a more sustainable life.
Manufactured Wood TV Stand Fireplace
The other type of fireplace insert that comes with certain TV stands pushes 4,500 BTUs of hot air into the room. These inserts use less wattage, typically 750 to 1350 watts, and so cost less to run.
If you don't have to worry about heating an extensive amount of space or if you have a closed floor plan, then a forced-air insert will work perfectly to warm up your room using only minimal wattage and money.
4. Pull Your Curtains or Drapes
Using drapes and curtains can help seal your rooms at night, avoiding heat leaking out into the colder atmosphere in colder climates.
There are curtains with thermal linings customized to insulate a room, but if you're looking for a low-tech option, very thick drapes that fall well past any windows will do the job well.
Living Room With Gray Decorations
If you love to DIY, you can insulate the curtains you have by backing them with a cheaper alternative material, like fleece or plastic shower curtains.
And it's not only the windows that leak heat in the winter but doors too. Hanging curtains over doorways is a surefire way to keep your abode cozy and leak-free. Or, for a more discrete option, use a double-sided door stopper or attachable door sweep on the bottom of the door to keep out drafts.
5. Check Your Lighting Options
Different light bulbs burn energy at particular rates. Since 2014, 75- to 100-watt bulbs have been phased out, and 40- to 60-watt are on their way out.
This doesn't mean you have to live in the dark, though. LED, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and halogen bulbs useless energy to illuminate your interior. An average household has around 40 bulbs in it. Check your lamps to make sure that all the sockets have a greener bulb in them.
6. Turn Off Heated Dry
A very simple way to reduce your carbon imprint is to turn off the heated dry on your dishwasher and dryer. Heating air to dry your dishes takes a lot of energy, and your tableware will be none the worse for wear if it's air-dried instead of heat dried.
Your dryer is also a major energy consumer in your house. If possible, switch to a more energy-efficient method, like a portable electric drying rack or air-drying your clothes on a line.
Clothes Hanging In A Garden
7. Unplug All the Chargers
When you're not using them, plugged-in chargers are what electricians call energy vampires because they suck for your electric bill. One or two won't make a huge dent in your electric usage, but a whole nest of chargers, all plugged in, can make up to almost 10% of your monthly bills.
Make it a habit to unplug your charger when you're unplugging your phone after a charge.
There are a lot of little things that you can do in your home that will add up to a significant reduction in your carbon footprint.
Using drapes to curtail drafts, a fireplace TV stand to decrease your reliance on your heating system and installing ceiling fans to cool you in hot months all help your home become more energy-efficient.