How to Make Your Home Office Energy Efficient
When The Severn Group first started, we were experts in residential HVAC services. As we grew, we saw the need for better HVAC for large facilities, from hospitals to office buildings – and everything in between. While residential and commercial HVAC is very different, the basics of HVAC remain the same. One of the fundamental aspects of HVAC systems is making sure they are energy efficient. Business owners and homeowners alike don’t want to spend more than they need on heating and cooling their space. And now, with a large part of the workforce working from home, we wanted to speak to homeowners on how you can make your home office energy efficient. Well, not just your home office, but also general tips to make sure your whole house is working the way it should.
Your Whole Home
As a homeowner, you are already aware of the regular maintenance needed on your HVAC systems. The main go-to is making sure your filters are cleaned and changed out at regular intervals. (The standard is every 60 days, but with pets or more people in the house we recommend checking every month.) Other things to consider that you might not have done in a while:
Clean Your Ducts
If you notice more dust on furniture and you are changing out your filter frequently, it might be time to get this done. As you and your family members are home a lot more now, this is important. Dust and debris isn’t the only thing that can collect in your ducts. Mold can also live in your ducts. It can compromise your air quality. But, if you are unsure, consult a professional.
Check Your A/C
If you are in Maryland like us, you probably aren’t using your A/C yet. Which is perfect. This is a great time to get it checked out by a professional before you need it. Maryland weather loves to go from winter to beating hot summer in a matter of days. It should be getting serviced at least once a year. So, if you haven’t done it yet, don’t wait.
Update Your Thermostat
Nothing like being home all day to notice that your old thermostat isn’t measuring up. If you don’t already have one, you need a programmable thermostat. Many utility companies, like BGE, offer incentives for smart thermostats. You can get a rebate and save money long term. Make sure you speak to a professional before buying as some older systems don’t work with newer smart thermostats.
Your Home Office
This might be your kitchen, or if you are lucky, a spare room. However, with many kids working on computers, and you also needing your space, HVAC can get complicated. Some like it warm, some like it cold. The old office thermostat debate just might make its way home with your new co-workers. Here are some tips for controlling the temperature in a specific area or room:
If the Room is Too Warm
- Try making your workspace in a room that doesn’t have direct sunlight.
- Close the blinds on all windows in that room if possible.
- Install a ceiling fan or get a small fan for your desk.
- Open the windows if it is cooler outside, and shut the door for that room.
- Turn off the lights or any extra electronics that might give off heat.
If the Room is Too Cold
- Work in areas that have direct or heavy sunlight.
- Get a space heater but make sure you use it safely.
- If you have hardwood floors, consider adding a rug under your desk.
- Wear thick socks and shoes/slippers. We lose a lot of body heat from our feet.
- Check your windows for leaks and make sure the walls have proper insulation.
Some of these changes will depend on the weather. If it’s hot outside, you might not want to open those windows (if you are too hot). Also, check your windows and insulation is always a good idea no matter what the temperature. These help climate control within the house.
Energy Efficient Habits
Okay. So, we have talked extensively about what you can do for your home and office, but what about energy efficiency? We haven’t forgotten about that. You might have already noticed that the energy bill, with everyone being home, is much higher. Overall, there are ways everyone can help with this:
- Use laptops versus desktops. Laptops are more efficient. However, if you can’t or don’t have a laptop, here are some more factors to consider to reduce the use of energy on a computer.
- Replace your light bulbs. It’s a simple way to reduce your use. Not only do they use 25-80% less energy, but they can also last 3-25 times longer.
- Already replaced light bulbs? Try making sure you turn them off. As people are going in and out of rooms frequently (the kitchen right?) make sure everyone remembers to turn off the lights.
- If your office is the only cold area, consider a space heater instead of turning the thermostat up. There are many energy-efficient space heaters you can choose from.
- Avoid printing if you can. This is within reason, but if you can read it on the computer, do that. It not only saves paper but it’s less energy being used.
- Put your computer to bed. Well, sleep. Having set sleep modes can help save energy. Also, make sure to turn your computers off if you aren’t using them.
Share Your Experience
No matter if this is a short term home office or you work remotely all year long, these are great tips to keep your home and office efficient. Most importantly, please make sure you consult a professional HVAC technician before doing any maintenance on your HVAC system. When not done correctly, it can be costly and harmful. Also, if you have tips and tricks to keeping your home office energy efficient, share your ideas on our Facebook page.