Tips For Warm Home Office In The Winter
Winter months are a challenge for older houses, older people, and older wallets! It’s important to keep your home warm so that your office is a comfortable and productive place in which to work, a place where you will avoid chills and colds, and maintain a consistent temperature, letting your body ease into getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to help you do that.
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat then consider having one installed. Throughout the day, when you’re going about your various tasks, 60°F should suffice. The same for those sleeping hours, when your body goes into a lower temperature. For a few hours in the early morning, and when you’re watching TV or reading a book in the evening, it should be at around 68°F. A programmable thermostat will help you achieve all of this; you can tweak it for different times in the year, and for when on vacation (the recommended temperature is 55°F, not 0°F), in order to protect the piping and plumbing of your house. Baseboard heaters will help move warm air from the bottom of the room up when set to the right temperature, especially on an air mattress.
Sunlight is nature’s helping hand. Ensure that you’re encouraging as much of it as possible into your house. A greenhouse is a construction that maximizes this approach; you can use that principle to your advantage in your home office with your office chair, even in those austere wintry periods; by keeping your home office door either closed if it gets sunlight or opens if it doesn’t (to encourage warmer airflow in); it’s also a free option.
Curtains are not just for privacy but for warmth retention. If you for some reason you didn’t have them you’d certainly feel the difference, particularly in winter. You can actually put up thicker curtains in the winter and lighter curtains during summer months. The amount of energy you’ll save in winter will make it absolutely worthwhile.
While natural, wood-burning fireplaces or electric fireplaces look good, they can actually end up drawing in cold air from around your home, due to the ‘stack effect’. Make sure you get some form of glass fronting to surround your fireplace once the wood or coal has been consumed so that the warm air doesn’t get evacuated out of the chimney. Keep the flue closed when it is not in use, otherwise, it’s like having a window open during those frosty, wintry months.
5. Ceiling Fans
Did you know that most ceiling fans have a ‘winter setting’, in which the blades rotate clockwise rather than in the more usual counterclockwise motion, pushing the room’s hot air downwards? Try it at a slower setting to see what effect it has. Many have benefited from such a technique.
6. Don’t Block Vents
Ensure that no furniture is left right next to heating vents; these are designed solely to allow heat in and encourage convection, so let them do their job!
7. Avoid The “Stack Effect”
Also known as the ‘chimney effect’ the principle is that cooler air rises up through your house, seeking a way out as it ascends. In summertime it’s fine; an open window even maximizes airflow to good effect. In wintertime it’s not so good; you need to prevent heat escaping by sealing any gaps, so make sure windows are properly caulked or use weather stripping while ensuring that doors have ‘door snakes’ to prevent draughts from developing, or ‘door sweeps’ if they’re constantly being opened and shut.
8. Space Heaters
Space heaters work really well; just make sure you’re using them safely because they apparently cause a third of all house fires, or at least those relating to heat-production. A space heater is a potential fire hazard so you should keep anything flammable well away from it. Don’t leave it on overnight and opt for a model that has timer settings and that automatically shuts down if tipped over.
9. Heat Pumps
The optimal weather in which to run a heat pump is moderate rather than extreme weather. This is due to the way in which it converts heat into energy and the series of piping which must work very hard in more extreme conditions. A secondary system may actually be required during those peak times of extreme coldness, which can defeat the purpose of having a heat pump in the first place. However, there are different models that have different strengths, so it’s worth doing your homework.
Overall, you’ll want to keep your home office as warm as possible in the bleak midwinter. Perhaps the most obvious way of doing this is through layering up, ie. having multiple layers of clothing on, which increases the amount of warm air being captured within your clothing. Another consideration is where to set up your home office. Hot air rises, so you may want to strategically have your office as high up in the house as possible. If you’re fairly flexible and minimalistic, you could shift your office downstairs in the summer months when the heat becomes your problem, not your friend.