Anyone who has worked in an office has experienced an unexpected draft from time to time an uncomfortable reminder that winter is surely here. It is also a sure sign that there are issues with the office insulation that are likely turning the heat up on the power bill.
Even though winter is in full effect, it is never too late to weatherproof your office and block out the harsh temperatures. The first step is to determine where the air is entering the building. You can do this by wetting a finger and holding it near areas that are suspect to see if you feel the draft. You can also hold a lit stick of incense or a smoke pen near spaces that may allow a draft to enter the office, including doors, windows, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, or an attic opening. If the smoke travels horizontally, rather than vertically, it means there is an air leak.Once you have found the leak, it is time to take action. Following are four simple steps that will safeguard your office and your wallet against the elements.
Install Foam Adapters to Seal Outlets and Switches It is possible that the cold air could be coming in through the boxes that house your outlets or light switches. But fear not; sealing out the draft is cheap and easy. Visit your local hardware store and purchase inexpensive foam adapters that you will install inside of the outlet or switch cover. Make sure to purchase the right size, and all you will need is a screwdriver: remove the cover, place the adapter inside, and screw the cover back on.
Insulate Windows against the Cold Windows are often the culprit for air leakage in buildings and homes, particularly if they are older and boast multiple panes. Loose panes will allow the cold air to seep in, but window film can remedy the problem quickly. It is available at most hardware stores and it is easy to install. While it may not be the best option for an office space bustling with customers, it may just do the trick in offices that have less foot-traffic. Instructions vary by manufacturer, but most are easy to use and require little set-up and only a tool or two.
Solar blinds and heavy curtains are also an option that may provide a more attractive look while they work. While a bit more expensive, installation is fairly easy and they can bring a polished touch to an office, conference room, or waiting area while keeping out the cold.
Replace Weather Stripping to Block the Draft If the draft is coming in from the top or the bottom of a window or door, the weather stripping may need to be replaced. Although there are countless types of weather stripping, some are easier to install than others. For the lowest cost and easiest installation, select a roll of adhesive weather stripping and install using the following steps:
Make sure to remove the old weather stripping first, and clean away any excess debris. Measure the length of the window or door. Unroll the weather stripping to the proper length and cut. Remove adhesive backing and place where appropriate.
Keep in mind that adding new weather stripping may require you to open or remove the windows or doors, so plan ahead and read the instructions on the packaging for best results.
Use Foam Sealant or Caulk for Window and Door Frames If you find that the draft is coming in from the window or door frames, seek out a foam or heavy duty sealant to protect the inside from the cold winter climate.
Insulating Foam: Insulating foam can be purchased in a can, or can be dispersed using a dispensing gun, but either way, it can fill the gap between the window or door frame and the opening. Most foam is made for internal and external use and is easy to clean up.
Caulk: Caulk takes slightly more effort, but yields similar results. Purchase a high-grade polyurethane caulk and use it where the window meets the frame, where the frame meets the wall, and where one section of the window meets the other. Similar steps can be taken with doors.
Insulating your office from the cold weather doesn’t have to be an expensive, laborious project, and it doesn’t require a professional. A few simple steps will increase the comfort level and decrease the energy consumption in your office.
What are some of the other ways you have found to cut down costs while keeping warm at home or in the office?
Post contributed by: Brent Hardy is the driving force for Extra Space Storage corporate responsibility through energy management and sustainability programs at www.extraspace.com. Brent leads a conversation about sustainability at blog.extraspace.com/category/sustainability.