In Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), energy-efficiency and reliability are two critical requirements for attaining a long-term stable communication performance. Using error control (EC) methods is a promising technique to improve the reliability of WSNs. EC methods are typically utilized at the network-level, where all sensor nodes use the same EC method. However, improper selection of EC methods on some nodes in the network-level strategy can reduce the energy-efficiency, thus the lifetime of WSNs. In this study, a node-level EC strategy is proposed via mixed-integer programming (MIP) formulations. The MIP model determines the optimum EC method (i.e., automatic repeat request (ARQ), forward error correction (FEC), or hybrid ARQ (HARQ)) for each sensor node to maximize the network lifetime while guaranteeing a pre-determined reliability requirement. Five meta-heuristic approaches are developed to overcome the computational complexity of the MIP model. The performances of the MIP model and meta-heuristic approaches are evaluated for a wide range of parameters such as the number of nodes, network area, packet size, minimum desired reliability criterion, transmission power, and data rate. The results show that the node-level EC strategy provides at least 4.4% prolonged lifetimes and 4.0% better energy-efficiency than the network-level EC strategies. Furthermore, one of the developed meta-heuristic approaches (i.e., extended golden section search) provides lifetimes within a 3.9% neighborhood of the optimal solutions, reducing the solution time of the MIP model by 89.6%.