Working From Home In Winter: Cures For Comfort!
One thing you may have overlooked if you worked in an office, retail location, or other type of group workspace, was that you almost never had to worry about one thing:
While not everyone may have agreed on the optimal decimal value for the temperature setting, chances are that the HVAC system was managed by someone else. Letting you work without a second thought towards your climate comfort.
But now, as many Canadians are finding themselves working from home during another Canadian winter, it’s time to take your comfort into your own hands!
Some Condescension About Condensation
The winter brings the steepest drop in temperature, and is often the time that the difference in temperature between your home and the outdoors is at its greatest.
Because of this temperature difference, your windows (and even some walls or roofs) will build up condensation.
Condensation is moisture that’s liquefied out of the air when the temperature of a surface drops below the “dew point” (the temperature at which moisture in the air will turn into liquid or ice). In this case, that’s your windows and windowsills for the most part. But also your pipes, mirrors, and appliances.
It’s not ideal because that water building up is going to drip down into nooks and crannies in the surrounding building material. It can damage paint, and peel wood varnishes over time.
If the water gets into a crevice that connects to the outside, it could freeze and expand, causing further damage and creating larger gaps for water (and the weather) to pass through.
The worst part is that it can cause mold to grow, which is a significant health risk for you and anyone you live with. Not to mention that bacteria, algae, and allergens grow rapidly in a moist, humid environment.
These things can quickly turn your workspace into a very uncomfortable, unproductive place to be.
What Can I Do?
Excellent question! There are a few things you can do to avoid condensation-related issues. They can help your home feel more comfortable, and make your work more enjoyable!
Older homes have, well, older windows. And as windows age, the seal between the panes can become broken. This creates more opportunity for condensation.
A new window and frame will have air tight plastic barriers that make it nearly impossible for moisture to pass.
Repairing or replacing your old windows will help keep your home and homework more climate-controlled!
Adjust The Temperature
Raising the temperature of your home slightly will actually help reduce condensation.
By heating up the indoors, the exterior-facing walls will not be as likely to drop below the “dew point”.
And did you know that drapes, blinds, and curtains are actually a really effective (and affordable) way to control a room’s temperature?
Choose the right type of drapes to help insulate your indoors. Combine that with a moderate increase on your thermostat, and not only will you be nice and toasty, but you’ll be free of issues with winter moisture!
The name says it all!
Dehumidifiers remove humidity from a space. They wick the water out of the air and help control the moisture levels so those nasty molds and bacterias we mentioned can’t grow.
Be careful not to overuse them, of course. When the air is too dry, it can make us feel itchy and irritated.
In fact, sometimes it’s just about the balance of humidity. Using your ceiling fans to help redistribute the moisture in your home will help it feel consistent and comfortable.
One of the biggest ways for moisture to build up in your home is through cooking and showering.
Having exhaust fans that remove steam to the outside of your house is important for not only your comfort, but improving the longevity of the building itself.
Ensure you have working fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. It’s a good idea to let them run a few minutes before and after you cook or shower, to build up the right amount of air flow.
You can also get air exchangers that will help swap the musty indoor air for fresh air from outside. These don’t need to be restricted to the kitchen or bathroom, either.
Working from home this winter puts you next to some of your favourite creature comforts. But it also makes you responsible for some of the other comfort concerns.
Be sure to winter-proof your workspace so you can spend your time productively, and comfortably!