Running a business in the winter adds some extra duties to your task list. Depending on where you’re located, you might need to salt the sidewalks and driveway, shovel snow, or blast the heater inside.
Throughout the year, you may have rearranged your store to look a certain way, but had to block your heating vents to make it work. You should always keep things away from the heating vents, even when the heater isn’t in use. However, that’s not always practical. You might have furniture in front of floor vents or signs hanging in front of ceiling vents.
Preparing for winter means making all of your heating systems safe and ready for use. Here’s how to do that without sacrificing your interior style.
1. Get an electric fireplace heater for small areas
An electric space heater that looks like a fireplace will keep a small space cozy and stylish. Some electric space heaters have wheels, while others are designed to be mounted on the wall.
Electric space heaters are perfect for businesses with a lobby. For example, you’ve probably seen automotive repair businesses use a portable space heater in the lobby. Space heaters that look like a fireplace can add plenty of style to any business.
2. Get a genuine wood burning stove
If you want to go completely retro and still maintain style, get a wood burning stove for your business. When your patrons see a wood burning stove, it will bring back memories of camping trips, and staying with relatives for the holidays.
Using a wood stove will save you a ton of money on your winter heating bill and will keep your business warm. The best part is you can control the intensity of the fire by using the damper, so you can keep a low-and-slow burning fire when you don’t need much heat.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to check with your city to make sure you can legally install a wood stove. You’ll also need to install safeguards like cast iron railings to keep people from coming near the stove. You may also want to keep an employee on duty next to the wood stove at all times just to make sure nobody wanders too close.
3. Insulate your doors and windows
If you’ve rearranged your store and have items blocking heating vents, you may not want to move anything again. That’s understandable. You may decide to use space heaters instead of doing a complete redecoration required to make your HVAC vents available.
In either case, the best thing you can do is insulate your windows and doors. If it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your insulation, get a professional out to test for drafts and leaks. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 25-30% of residential energy bills come from heat loss through uninsulated windows. Unless you’re running a large department store, you can expect about the same amount of heating loss.
During the winter, wind can blow the rain right through windows that don’t properly channel the water to the outside. Extremely high winds can blow water past those channels and into the building.
If your business is in an area that gets harsh wind and rain, you’ll have an easier time keeping your store warm by insulating your windows and doors.
4. Install a vestibule and heat the space
A heated vestibule with a revolving door is a great way to eliminate heat loss when patrons enter your building. There are companies that will build custom vestibules on site or ship you a pre-made kit that you can install yourself.
The best way to set up a heated vestibule is to have the heat blow directly on top of your patrons’ heads as they walk inside. In the winter, it will probably be impossible to keep that space heated all the time like you would heat a normal room. However, the blast of heat coming from the top will make patrons feel more welcome.
5. Use radiant heating for your floor
Radiant floor heating uses tubes filled with hot water or electric wires that are hidden underneath the floor. As the heat radiates out and up, it heats everything it comes into contact with. Your floor and some of the surrounding walls and objects stay warm, which will help keep your patrons warm.
Radiant floor heating is more efficient than a forced-air heating system, and combined with an electric fireplace heater, you won’t have to sacrifice an ounce of style.