Warm Up Your Home Office for Less this Winter

A survey of small business owners by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 35 percent of participants listed energy costs as one of the top three concerns for operating a business. If you work from a home office, the following tips will help you save money while keeping your workspace comfortable.

Home Office

Adjusting for Winter

First of all, it's important to understand how energy prices vary throughout the year. Winter electricity prices?tend to be lower and not fluctuate as wildly as in the summer, according to Power Smart Pricing but winter prices do increase slightly in the morning hours, when households are waking up and businesses are opening.?Prices also change during December and January due to the holiday demand for energy. Decorations, longer retail store hours and additional shopping displays increase usage. Energy prices also can spike in the winter when a sudden cold snap occurs, which forces everyone to turn up up their thermostats.

Preparing Your House and Home Office

While the typical energy-saving tips work for your entire house, you?ll still want your home office to be comfortable to work in. A few adjustments will make both spaces ready for the cold weather.

  • Use a programmable thermostat to keep your house at a lower temperature throughout the day. Make sure you don?t have a thermostat in your office because you?ll be keeping that space warmer.
  • Make sure the windows in your office are well-insulated with no drafts coming from around the frame. Walk around the room and look for potential air leaks. Leaks are typical around the electrical outlets, and insulation can be used to seal them. Put new weatherstrips around your doors to keep the warm air in your office.
  • Electrical baseboard heaters can keep your office comfortable with minimum cost. Though still popular, traditional space heaters can be unreliable and expensive to use on a long-term basis, states Fox Business News. Instead, use modern space heaters that have safety controls in case they tip over and thermostats with timers. You can set the thermostat and timers to warm your space in the morning and keep it comfortable during the day.
  • Install a ceiling fan in your office and reverse the blades to push the warm air near the ceiling down into your space. Make sure there are no leaks around the base plate where the fan connects to the ceiling. While working in the ceiling, make certain you have enough insulation over your office space to minimize heat loss.
  • MSN Real Estate reminds you to keep curtains open in south-facing windows during the day to let in sunlight and closed at night to prevent heat loss. Use a heavier curtain in those windows. Installing a skylight or sun tubes also will let in light and heat up your space.
  • With the shorter days, you?ll have lights on longer in your office. Replace incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with energy-efficient, compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED bulbs. The initial expense to purchase these bulbs is offset by the fact they can use 75 percent less electricity and will last nearly 10 times longer.

Keeping It Separate

If you meet with clients in your home office, you might have a private entrance into your space so clients don?t have to walk through your home. Make sure any doors that go between the office and home seal well to prevent heat loss into the house. If you use a bathroom in the house, use a small space heater to keep it comfortable, so you?re not heating the entire house just to keep a bathroom warm.

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