Cozy and Clever Energy Savers. Here’s how to create a brighter and warmer home without using more energy or cranking up the thermostat.
The Warm and Cozy Home
By: Deirdre Sullivan
Green Living Saving Energy
We’ve got more than 9 moodlifting ideas to make your home more welcoming and
efficient this winter. The dark days of winter can really do a number on your wellbeing. Shorter days trigger the blahs; freezing temps spark the sniffles. So we put together a list of ideas that’ll turn your home into a comfy haven.
1. Clean dirty light fixtures and dusty bulbs to make your home appear 30% brighter
without turning on more lights.
2. Seal sneaky air leaks. It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t
forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a
lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy
3. Replace your traditional gas or wood fireplace. Why? Both suck out heated indoor air
and send it up the chimney. A gel fireplace insert is an ecofriendly option that produces a
burning fire without gas, wood, electricity, or even a chimney. It’s also smokefree and emits
fewer allergens than a wood fireplace; some options crackle like the real thing. A basic
model costs between $100 to $210; custom models go up exponentially from there. A case
of gel fuel comes with 12 cans that burn for three hours each (about $35).
Immunity Boosters - You’ll feel coziest in a healthy indoor environment that keeps allergies at bay and reduces your chances of getting sick.
4. Get plants. Some indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly
adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and
dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.
5. Vacuum while your thermostat is set to “fan on.” This helps filter dust that gets
kickedup while cleaning. Just leave the fan on for about 15 minutes after you finish
vacuuming and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all
6. Change your HVAC filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent
excess dust from circulating.
Tip: Combat superbugs with copper. If you’re planning to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom
fixtures, consider classic and homeylooking copper or a copper alloy like brass. A threehospital
study in 2011 found that bacteria can only survive on copper for a few minutes, but
germs can live on stainless steel for weeks.
Lack of natural light can trigger a mean case of the winter doldrums — or worse, moodaltering
seasonal affective disorder. Maximize daylight and make rooms feel warmer by
adding the following to your yearly fall maintenance checklist.
7. Make your windows panefully clear. Clean glass not only lets more natural light into
your home, it’s a feelgood task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute.
When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows”
made the top five above a “spotless sink.”
8. Ditch your window screens in the fall and winter. They trap dirt and can make your
home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too.
9. Add an interior window to a room next to a sundrenched space to take advantage of
natural light. Tip: Paint chilly rooms, especially northfacing walls that don’t typically get sunlight, in reds,
oranges, or yellows — cozy colors that can actually help the room feel warmer, according to
a Michigan State University study.
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