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10 Tips for Managing Your Heating Bill This Winter

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During the cold winter months, many companies see a spike in their energy bills. With the heat running high, it's hard to avoid these increases entirely. But, by taking these 10 simple steps, you can help keep your bill as low as possible.

1. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans throughout the office, instead of keeping them turned the same direction they flow in the summer months, reverse them! Hot air is lighter than cool air, which means that it will rise toward the ceiling. Operating your fan at low speed in a clockwise direction will help push that warmer air down from the ceiling and keep it nearer the space in your office that you actually use. This won't just keep everyone in the office feeling warmer. It will also make sure that your thermostat reads the warmer air, reducing your heat use throughout the winter. Most fans will have a small reverse switch located on the body of the fan that makes it easy to make the switch. Just make sure that you swap them back again when warmer weather returns!

2. Use Thick Curtains

A large portion of the energy used to heat your building is lost through glass windows. While windows can offer a great deal of light during the summer, they can also lead to loss of energy throughout the facility. Instead of letting your heat go flying out the window, purchase thick curtains, especially if you have many windows throughout your office or you have large windows that cover a significant portion of the building. Those thick curtains will help hold heat inside, ensuring that your staff stays warmer while lowering energy use.

3. Use Draft Excluders

Air escaping through cracks under the door or around windows can quickly create a cold, drafty work environment - not to mention raising your electric bill substantially. Instead of sitting around shivering while your heat slips out the cracks, purchase draft excluders. Available for both doors and windows, these simple additions will block drafts and keep your warm air inside your building. Note that in order to be effective, draft excluders should block the entire length of doors and windows.

4. Check the Position of Your Furniture

During the winter, it's important that you take the time to look at where your furniture and other items throughout the business are located in relation to your heating unit. Your heating unit should remain unblocked and, ideally, in an area where it allows air to circulate freely throughout the room. This allows heat to move evenly throughout the room rather than being blocked off, which will ensure that your heating unit isn't working twice as hard. You should also check to make sure that the thermostat isn't blocked, since this could prevent warm air from reaching the unit and lead to your heating unit running unnecessarily. 

5. Close Off Unused Rooms

There are times when you find that you don't actually need to use every room in your facility. If you have offices or other spaces that are sitting unused throughout your facility, go through and close the vents in those rooms. Depending on the unused space throughout your business, you may find that this simple cost-saving measure makes the savings add up quickly! If you do have to enter these rooms during the winter months, make visits quick and close the doors again when you leave. Keep in mind that rarely-used rooms can be warmed fairly quickly if they do need to be used. If you have conference rooms or other areas that are used infrequently, it's okay to shut them up until it's time to use them. 

6. Add Carpet 

Take a look at the flooring throughout your business. If you have only tile or stone, you may be losing a significant amount of your heat through the floor. Investing in carpeted floors can lead to big savings throughout the winter. If you don't want to add carpeting throughout the entire building, adding rugs to common workspaces can help block heat from being lost through the floor. 

7. Heat What You Use

Do you use a comparatively small percentage of your building? Instead of using a heater designed for industrial-strength use, shut off your heating unit and try using individual space heaters instead. Space heaters are also a great way to solve the age-old thermostat debate. Employees who prefer a warmer work environment can easily heat their personal spaces, while employees who prefer things cooler can enjoy that temperature in peace. If you're struggling with your energy bill over the winter months, try using space heaters for your heating needs instead. 

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  • 8. Install a Humidifier

    Humidifiers have several advantages during the cold winter months. Naturally, they restore much of the moisture lost to the cold winter air and the heating process. But, using a humidifier can also help reduce your heating costs. Moist air retains heat better than dry air, which means that you'll be able to use your heating energy more efficiently. 

    9. Have Your Heater/Radiator Serviced

    One of the best ways to keep your heater or radiator running efficiently is to have it serviced annually. Service technicians will be able to detect potential problems, clean out the vents and ensure that everything will run smoothly throughout the winter months. This will mean more efficient heating. Technicians can also detect problems that might make your heater or radiator run too hard, which will lead to increased heating costs throughout the fall and winter. 

    10. Try a Programmable Thermost

    How many hours a day is your facility actually in use? Unless you have 24/7 operations, chances are, there are hours when you're paying to heat your building when no one is actually in it. While you won't want to turn the heater off completely when everyone leaves for the day--that can lead to frozen pipes and a host of other problems--you can significantly reduce the inside temperature when no one is in the building. A programmable thermostat will automatically lower the temperature at the end of the work day each day, then bring the temperature back to a comfortable level before anyone arrives to start working the next day. These thermostats can also be overridden if someone is working at an odd time or you need to come into the office over the weekend unexpectedly. 

    While it's impossible to completely eradicate heating costs tin the winter, you don't have to sweat over your energy bill. By implementing these key tips, you'll discover that you can enjoy significant savings on your energy bill, enabling you to designate those resources to other things that are more important.

    How will your energy bill fare this winter? This five-question assessment shows where your business could be losing energy and provides actionable ways to make improvements.

    Posted: November 07, 2017