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Is Your Small Business Ready for Winter?

Winter is just around the corner, and for small businesses – where every cent is vital to survival – that means increased utility bills as temperatures plummet. Paying higher he…

Winter is just around the corner, and for small businesses – where every cent is vital to survival – that means increased utility bills as temperatures plummet.

Paying higher heating bills is bad enough, but having higher bills because cold air is leaking into your workspace through gaps in windows, doors and electrical outlets can be remedied.

You could hire a professional to come into your business and do an assessment. Or you could do it yourself.

First, take a good look at the caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors. BFS Capital said identifying bad caulking and worn-out weather stripping can save money in both winter and summer. If your caulking or weather stripping needs replacement, the fix is relatively inexpensive. Small Business Trends reported plugging these gaps could help reduce consumption between 5 percent and 30 percent.

If you really can’t tell if your weatherproofing is in good shape, pick up some incense sticks. Houselogic.com suggests an air-pressure test. Here’s how that works:

  • Seal the building by locking all doors, windows and skylights.
  • Close all dampers and vents.
  • Turn on all kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
  • Pass a burning incense stick along all openings — windows, doors, fireplaces, outlets — to pinpoint air rushing in from the outside.

Once identified, the leaks can be stopped with caulk, weather stripping or insulation.

Another way to prevent increased heating bills is to change your furnace filter. Energy Star recommended changing the filter every month in winter, but at the least the filter should be changed every three months so your furnace and operate most efficiently.

 Another tip is to install a programmable thermostat that lowers temperatures at night when the business is vacant. The U.S. Department of Energy  said you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back by 7-10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat means you won’t have to remember to do that.

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