Have you found yourself working from home during this COVID 19 pandemic?
Well, you are not alone. As a surveyor being out and about on surveys during the pandemic (we are allowed to work during the lockdown). I am meeting a lot of people working from home.
Makeshift office spaces in the home are becoming the normal.
With winter now upon us, your heating is running more than when you are typically away, and more lighting too is to be expected as the days are dark and miserable of late.
So, to be expected the utility costs have gone up!
Well, the good news is you are saving more by not travelling to work which is a plus.
However, it is important that you keep your home heated. I have to stress, that living in an inadequately heated home can lead to health problems such as stroke and heart attack. The optimum temperatures for good health are 18 degree C in bedrooms and 21 degree C in main living areas.
An acceptable indoor temperature for office workers is 20 degrees
So how can you achieve this to help keep your utility costs down. If you have TRV (thermostatic radiator valves) fitted to your radiators you can turn down the temperature in the rooms you are not using. This will ensure your boiler is not running to heat all the spaces in your home. This means you will burn less gas/oil. Be sure there is no furniture blocking the radiators. You may have to re-organise your work area.
If you are working in your main living area and have a secondary heating source such as a gas fire, you can use this and keep the central heating off. Try to just heat the space you are occupying. Keep doors closed as much as possible to retain the heat in your work area.
If you are working in an area of the home that has tall vaulted ceilings, try to locate your work space to an area in the home with lower ceilings. You will be heating less volume of space.
Lighting, be sure to use low energy light bulbs, use as much natural light as possible, unless you work at night! Not sure the moon will be bright enough.
Be sure you are dressed warm, unplug any unnecessary appliances, use energy efficient equipment where possible.
You can claim £6.00 a week back on your taxes for remote working. You will just need to complete a P87 form online or paper form.
Change your habits
Regularly boiling the kettle at work or leaving your computer on in the office may not affect you, but the same habits will cost you money at home.
Filling the kettle with the amount of water you need could save around £6 a year and completely switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby could save around £35 annually, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Similarly, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree and wrapping up with a jumper or cardigan instead could save around £60 a year.
This would be a good time to check if your home is properly insulated. If you visit the Energy Saving Trust web site you can find out about grants and local schemes that are running. Insulation is key!
Is it time to change your utility provider? You may be paying too much. If you are having difficulty paying your utility bills, talk to your supplier they should be able to help.
And always remember…
As people work from home more it may become difficult to separate work hours from one’s own spare time.