Going Green in Your Family Room

Going Green in Your Family Room

Whether you refer to it as the parlor, great room, family room, rec room, or just living room, this is the part of the house that displays who you are to the rest of the world. It’s where you watch entertainment, entertain guests, and where you come together with your family and your friends. What better place to show your efforts at going green around the house as well as modeling it for your children. Let’s start with the electronics.

Beware the Phantom Menace

While not every room is going to have a TV or other electronics, to simplify things, we’re addressing all rooms covered by the generic “living room” together. You may have noticed when you turn off your TV, DVD player, or sound system that a little red or blue light tends to stay illuminated. That indicates that your device, while technically “turned off” is still drawing what is called ‘phantom power.’ It’s also referred to as standby power, vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, ghost load, or leaking electricity. In the kitchen, phantom power is used to keep your clocks accurate on the microwave and stove. In the living room, it’s usually to facilitate a quicker start-up process (from back when we had tube TV’s) and to allow the system to be triggered by a remote signal – the one from the remote control in your hand. This sounds great until you realize that convenience costs you an additional 10% on your monthly electric bill. Get a good, surge-protected power strip and plug all the electronics into it. Then, at least when you go to bed, you can shut everything down with the click of a button. You can even find some high end ones that will protect your cable and Ethernet connections on the same strip. By the way, phantom power is also used by your cell phone charger, even if your phone’s not plugged into it. So consider unplugging the little power brick when you disconnect. If you’re still using a desktop that you leave on all the time, consider switching to a laptop that takes less energy to run and shut it down every night or when you’re not using it.

Cut the Junk!

As in mail. Register at DMA Choice and pay the measly $2.00 fee to eliminate most of your unsolicited commercial physical mail, email, and help cut back on phone solicitations for 10 years. Catalog Choice started as a way to eliminate catalogs, but now helps you significantly reduce your junk mail across the board. It also works for deceased relatives. If you’re an iPhone user, you can download the app Mailstop for free, then snap a photo of your junk mail in the app, and they’ll inform the sender to stop trying so hard. For the junk mail you’ve already accumulated, may we recommend recycling? For your printer, buy recycled paper and refill your ink cartridges rather than purchasing new ones. For situations where the back side of the paper doesn’t matter, you can always recycle your own printed documents – just make sure you’re loading them into the printer the right way!

Hot or Not

If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you’re not burning anything. And use matches rather than a lighter to start the fire. Matches are consumed by the flames, whereas lighters just add to the landfill, unless you’re able to refill it. Keep some heavy fleece blankets around in the winter time to cuddle under instead of cranking up the thermostat. Consider upgrading your air conditioner to a more energy efficient model and adding a programmable electronic thermostat – or a Nest that you can control from your smartphone. Even if you don’t upgrade, see if your local A/C company does efficiency checks and rejuvenation cleanings. And shut off your air for a few hours at least once every few months to let it rest. Also, remember to switch your ceiling fans from pushing cool air down to circulating warm air, depending on the season. It’s that other switch on your ceiling fan, and up and down usually match. If you really want to take your green heating and cooling to the next level, upgrade your home’s insulation with our  Thermal Acoustical Pest Control – or as we call it, T.A.P.! TAP is 32% more energy efficient than the other guy’s pink insulation, it adds a sound barrier to your attic, and unlike potentially dangerous fiberglass, the recycled newsprint that’s blown in is safe for your whole family. It also eliminates ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and termites with safe to use Boric acid that’s also fire retardant. Families all up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Parrish to Punta Gorda love having it in their homes. Give us a call to learn more! Click here for more tips on Going Green around your home!

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