As a business owner, you know how important it is to keep your employees happy and comfortable while on the job. You probably spend a lot of time nurturing relationships and taking the time to recognize your employees when they do a good job. But you may be overlooking an important aspect of human comfort, the physical environment. If your place of business is cold and drafty in the winter, your employees will be uncomfortable and may think you don't care. Here's how to keep your busy office warm this winter.
Get Regular Furnace Maintenance
The obvious first step to ensuring your business is warm and comfortable is to have your heating system serviced by a professional before the heating season begins. Make sure the technician changes both air filters and fuel filters, cleans and lubricates all moving parts, and makes any necessary repairs. Getting optimal performance from your furnace depends on regular service calls.
Check the Duct Work
You can do this yourself, but letting the professionals handle the job might be more effective. Your HVAC contractor can check for air leaks and repair or replace old or worn sections of the duct work. They will check that all joints are sealed properly and that everything is secure. Loose joints and holes in the duct work can cause warm air to leak out of the ducts before it reaches its destination.
Beware of Unheated Rooms
It may be tempting to close the vents to storerooms or unused rooms to conserve energy and reduce the cost of heating your business. While this makes sense on the surface, it can often backfire on you. According to Angie's List, closing vents to rooms won't save energy and may even increase your energy use. Because the rooms where you close the vents also have cold-air returns, having closed vents creates negative air pressure in the room. When this happens, cold air will be drawn in through cracks around windows and doors. Closing the vent does not force the warm air to other rooms; closing the vent often forces air back to the source or leaks out into crawl spaces and into the empty spaces in the walls. If you do not want heat vented to some areas of your business, talk to your HVAC contractor. They can make recommendations for zoning the heat so that it will be distributed properly.
Dress Office Windows
If your office has a lot of windows to take advantage of natural light, you may also be losing heat during the winter. To compensate for the heat loss, install solar curtains that allow light into the room but prevent heat from escaping. These curtains reflect the heat back into the office without cutting down on natural light. As an alternative, install heavy curtains or shades and open only those on south-facing windows during the day. If closing curtains and drapes makes the office dark, consider adding supplemental lighting.
Take Control of the Door
If your office is open to the public and has a steady stream of customers coming through the doors, you may be letting warm air escape and inviting cold air in every time someone opens the door. To solve this problem, install storm doors or add an entryway to your business so that the outer door closes before the inner door is opened. Other options include installing a divider between the door and your work areas or rearranging office furniture to avoid cold drafts where you employees work.
Explore Other Options
If these solutions do not solve your problems with cold or drafty areas in the office, talk to an HVAC contractor such as Robinson Heating & Cooling Inc about other options. They may recommend heat pumps, supplemental heating sources, or a more efficient heating system.
A few years ago, I could tell that we were having serious furnace problems. In addition to dealing with a house that was constantly too cold or too warm, we were also plagued by a noisy, smelly furnace that seemed to have trouble on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about furnaces at the time to spot the problems quickly. One day, the entire system died, and it was beyond repair. After having that experience, I learned a lot about HVAC systems, so that I could troubleshoot future systems. This website is all about teaching you what you need to know so that you don't end up in the same situation.