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Does Office Temperature Impact Employee Productivity?

Can a Comfortable Temp Produce More Work?

If the temperatures in your office have employees donning parkas and wool hats, or stripping down to the bare necessities, it may be time to consider turning the dial on that thermostat. In fact, according to a study from Cornell University, employees are more productive and less distracted when the temperatures in their working environments are better controlled. Overall, it was estimated that a company could save over 10% of their wage costs per worker by simply adjusting their offices’ heating and cooling system. Not only does productivity and communication fail in the face of a poorly regulated environment, but employees make more errors when office temperatures start to dip.

Keep Your Employees Comfortable

Studies show that changes in temperature lead to changes in our perceptions, and even our choices in the words we use. Our exposure to warmth leads us to experience a difference in our social proximity to others and changes the way we interact and regard each other. If the temperature in the office is cold, the chances are good that your employees’ interactions with each other are turning frosty as well.

But alas, we don’t have to turn to studies to tell us that the temperature can have an impact on our emotions. Anyone who has been too hot or too cold can attest to the fact that it can quickly begin to cause notable irritability and impair our ability to interact with our environment in a positive manner. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder also found that 22% of workers that found their environment too hot expressed difficulty concentrating, and 11 percent mirrored that remark in workplaces that were too cold.

Finding the Right Temperature Balance

Although no perfect temperature for the office has yet to be identified, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends temperatures ranging from 68 degrees to 76 degrees Fahrenheit to satisfy the comfort of employees wearing a normal amount of clothing. But the inherent challenge in obtaining a prime office environment can also be attributed to the physical differences between men and women. Current calibrations to determine the standard temperature for offices is only based on the heat production of men. Because the average metabolic rate of women is significantly lower, offices are often regarded by the female workforce as being too cold for comfort.

Although finding the perfect temperature for all employees can be a challenge, identifying a middle ground is in the best interest of every employer in their attempt to bring out prime productivity in their employees. It’s important to talk openly and candidly to employees about the temperature and to try to find a solution together. Have your office HVAC system serviced on a regular schedule to be sure it is working at peak efficiency. Encourage employees to assist in the matter by dressing appropriately for office conditions.

Comfortable Temperatures Keep Employees Productive

Building a good, productive, communicative, and positive office environment requires more than fair work, satisfactory wages, and good policies. It also requires a pleasant physical environment that helps promote our natural instinct to trust each other and share resources when we’re physically comfortable. Just as we keep our homes at comfortable temperatures and stay inside on days that are too cold or too hot, it’s no wonder that we are at our best in an office environment that meets our comfort needs. Bring out the best in your workers and promote productivity by keeping that temperature at an optimal level for employee productivity.

Is A Gas Furnace Better Than Electric?

Gas vs Electric, which to choose?

Choosing the right type of furnace for your home can positively impact the flow of the air in your home and the money of you spend on utility bills. If you find yourself in need of a new furnace for your home, deciding between gas and electric is one of the first choices you will make in the buying process.

So which are better—gas furnaces or electric?

A Look at Electric Furnaces


The first thing you may notice about electric furnaces is that they are less expensive upfront. If you have not budgeted to replace your furnace, the lower price of an electric unit will seem attractive. But in most cases, the long-term cost of operating an electric furnace is higher than a gas one.


Electric furnaces also have the reputation for being safer than gas ones because they do not emit any carbon monoxide. Homeowners do not have to actively check the unit to see if it is operating safely; when something is going wrong with the unit, it is fairly obvious through interrupted service and rarely poses a danger to the people living in the home.


The installation process is easier with an electric furnace, done quickly by a certified professional without disrupting your household too much. Since the lifespan of most electric furnaces is 20 to 30 years, once it is installed it doesn’t need much. There are certainly some maintenance tasks like changing filters and scheduling regular tune-up appointments with a certified HVAC specialist, but altogether, an electric furnace is not difficult to own, have installed, or maintain.


For homeowners who are environmentally conscious, an electric furnace may not be an ideal choice because it is considered the least efficient way to heat a home. Most electricity is created through the burning of coal, which is a known cause of ozone depletion and other negative effects on human health.

A Look at Gas Furnaces


You will spend more on a gas furnace unit, but lower utility bills will make up for that over the 10 to 20 years you own it. Energy obtained through natural gas is cheaper than electricity. This is a fact that is expected to remain true in the coming decades, with the cost gap likely widening too. Gas furnaces also work more quickly than their electric counterparts and operate with higher efficiency in extreme temperatures.


Any type of gas-powered appliance relies on combustion to operate, and combustion creates carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. Exposure to it causes flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and confusion, and prolonged exposure causes death. Even though this is a scary thought, gas-powered appliances are safe when well-maintained and carbon monoxide is carried away from the home properly. Always have your gas furnace maintained 3-4 times per year, including changing filters, checking for leaks, and making sure the unit is in good overall condition. It is also important to keep all items cleared away from the furnace to prevent obstruction and fires. Contact a professional for help.


Unlike electric furnaces, the installation of gas ones is more complicated and requires the professional eye of a certified HVAC technician.


From an environmental perspective, natural gas furnaces are better for the earth because the fuel needed to create the energy burns much cleaner than the coal used for electricity. Some areas may not have as much access to gas energy, though electric furnaces will work in nearly every home.

The Final Decision

The decision to buy an electric or gas furnace comes down to preference on upfront costs, long-term utility costs, amount of maintenance required, and environmental concerns. You will own your furnace for at least a decade, so really weigh the options before making a purchase.
When you do decide on the unit you want, be sure to purchase it from a reputable HVAC company that will also provide professional installation and maintenance services to increase its lifespan.

How Regular Maintenance Keeps Your Furnace Working Efficiently

Why Maintain Your Furnace?

The furnace is a big ticket item in most homes across the nation. Furnaces are responsible for heating air and distributing it throughout the home, creating a consistent environment that is so crucial for comfortable living, especially during winter months. This means that furnace maintenance and efficiency can make a big impact on the comfort of the home and the utility bill.

How to Measure Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is measured by examining annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE rating is a measurement of how efficient the furnace is at converting energy to heat over the course of a year. This number is measured as a percentage of the fuel used by the system versus the heat produced. For example, an AFUE rating of 90% demonstrates that 90% of the fuel used by the system was converted to heat, and that 10% of that energy was lost, or inefficient in its conversion. This heat loss does not factor in the location of the heat ducts in the home or any other environmental factors.

The AFUE measurement is required to be displayed on modern furnaces so that the buyer can take the AFUE of each model into consideration during the purchasing process. The minimum AFUE rating for a furnace is 75-78% depending on the type of furnace and its intended home use. The overall efficiencies of a furnace can also be determined by factoring in additional features, including whether or not the system has a continuous pilot light, is sized correctly for the home, and whether the system is sealed or relies on natural draft combustion.

How to Maintain Efficiency

The key to an efficiently running system within the home is properly conducting routine maintenance. A properly maintained system will save money and extend the life of its parts. Along with many other home systems, yearly maintenance of a furnace is a must. Proper care and prevention can come at a much cheaper price than repair.


All systems should be checked routinely for signs of needed repair, including the following areas:

  • The condition of vent connection pipes and chimneys should be checked.
  • Heat exchangers should be checked for leaks.
  • Controls should be adjusted to ensure proper water and air temperature settings are configured for ideal efficiency.


Many older systems can also be retrofitted to help increase the efficiency and grant the system additional life. It’s important to weigh the cost of replacing a furnace against the cost to retrofit, especially if the system is already near the end of its life. Retrofitting can improve a system through the installation of programmable thermostats, upgraded ductwork, or zone control.


If retrofitting is not the ideal solution, replacing the system entirely with an updated model can greatly increase the efficiency of the furnace, helping it begin to pay for itself immediately. It can also decrease a home’s environmental impact by reducing its carbon emissions.

If the existing furnace is aged, oversized (as many older furnaces are), or in disrepair, replacing it with a high efficiency model is a great next step. This can be paired with an overall home energy efficiency overhaul, oftentimes allowing a homeowner to purchase a smaller unit and receive the same level of performance and output.

Regular maintenance of a furnace is critical for keeping it running efficiently, prolonging its life, lowering a home’s environmental impact, and maintaining a pleasant home environment. Efficiency of a replacement system can be preserved by taking note of the furnace’s AFUE rating, and also ensuring that the remainder of the home has been evaluated for efficiency prior to new system implementation.

6 Tricks To Stay Warm Without Cranking Up The Heat

How to Stay Warm When Things are Tight

If you’re looking at energy bill with disdain during the winter months and shivering at the same time, you’re probably wishing your home was warmer and your bill was lower. As energy prices rise, adjusting your thermostat comes with more impactful consequences. Fortunately there are other tricks to keep you warm during the winter outside of simply hiking up the heat.

Programmable Thermostats

This can be one of the most impactful changes you make. A programmable thermostat can make the most of your energy by keeping temperatures high during the evenings while you are home and cool during the night while you are tucked into bed, or during the day while you are off at work. Simply cycling your heat can work wonders for your electric bill while keeping you toasty warm when it matters.

Heavy Curtains and Natural Heat

Thick curtains can help prevent heat loss through windows. Swap out those thin panels and replace them with dark, heavy options. You can even opt for curtains with a thermal lining that helps retain heat. Curtains can be used anywhere that is drafty or cold, including in front of doors or to block off areas of the home that are not often used.
But wait! It’s also important to let natural heat in during the day. Move aside curtains during the day while the natural heat can permeate the home and them place curtains back once the sun goes down.

Turn on the Fans

This may seem counterintuitive, but it works! Ceiling fans do not actually cool air, they simply move it around and the breeze is what makes you feel cooler in the summer time. Check your ceiling fan for a switch—that switch will change the direction your fan rotates. Most likely, your fan is set to run in a counterclockwise direction. But if you set your fan to run clockwise, the fan blades work to push warm air that’s hanging out near the ceiling down toward your living space. Just run the fan on low so that you circulate warm air—running it higher than this could create a chilly breeze effect.

Bake Away the Cold

Using your oven can keep your home warm. Move socializing into the kitchen and bake away the colder days near the warmth of the oven. Warm food and a warm room can work wonders for keeping the family toasty warm on those chilly nights.

Cover Up Floorboards

Wooden floors can spell trouble for preventing heat loss. Add runners, carpets, and rugs to floors to help feet stay warm and keep heat from leaching into poorly insulated floors. And it keeps those toes warm and snuggly while you walk throughout the home, too.

Close Doors to Unused Rooms

One of the best tricks to keep the home warm without breaking the bank is to section off areas that you don’t use often. Laundry rooms, guest bedrooms, and the like can be closed to help you retain the most heat in the common living areas. If you have multiple thermostats in the home, consider lowering those in the far reaches of the house. This not only helps the active parts of the home stay consistently warm, but it decreases the energy needed to heat the whole home.

The most important part of staying warm during the colder months is taking steps to keep your body warm. That means snuggling up, putting on warm clothes, putting heavy blankets on the bed, and keeping throws handy. Just making a few changes such as adding flannel sheets, donning cozy pajamas, and brewing some warm tea can make as much difference as cranking that thermostat. So before you reach for that dial, reach for those fuzzy slippers first. Your springtime budget will thank you!

Why Winter Is The Perfect Time To Insulate!

Why Insulate Your Home?

You don’t often think much about insulation until you are in the throes of the colder months, when you desperately need it. That’s why it’s the perfect time to insulate the home: it’s on your mind, and during the winter you are able to reap immediate rewards for your efforts in the form of a warmer home and a lower heating bill.

Energy Efficiency:

One of the most important reasons to insulate your home in the winter is to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Insulation helps impede the flow of heat. This means that it keeps your heat from seeking out cooler areas both within and outside your home—think unused attics or drafty doors that lead outside. Good insulation allows you to hold onto more of your precious heat.

Sound Buffering:

Insulation also provides sound buffering to help reduce noise throughout the home. Noise control can help create a more enjoyable atmosphere, especially if there are children or roommates about.


Insulation can also increase the value of a home. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market in the spring, insulation is a great way to include value that you can also enjoy during the months you need it most.


Insulation helps prevent temperature swings. This keeps a home predictably comfortable, and keeps your other appliances and home systems from having to run in overdrive.

Moisture Barrier:

Insulation also helps keep the dampness of the outdoors outside where it belongs.

Where to Insulate Your Home

Proper insulation from the roof on down to the ground is important, and it is most important in those areas where heat is most at risk for being lost. This includes unfinished spaces such as attics, areas around floor joists, and access doors to attics, garages, and basements.

Anywhere that air flows between walls, floors, and ceilings are important places to install insulation to help keep heat from being lost. Exterior walls and areas around doors and windows are also incredibly important areas to insulate. Sealing and insulating ducts can also go a long way toward saving heat.

Ducts that run through unconditioned spaces can cause heat to be lost on its way to its destination. Floors above unheated garages are also key areas to insulate, along with your foundation. A properly insulated foundation can help prevent more than heat loss: foundation insulation can also help prevent unwanted moisture from seeping into the house and can deter insects.

How to Choose the Best Insulation

There are many types of insulation products, including: cellulose, fiberglass, cotton, wool, foam, polyurethane, and polystyrene. It’s always important to read product labels and ensure that the product is indicated for your intended installation.

One of the most important factors in choosing insulation is the R-value of the product. The R-value is an indication of a product’s thermal resistance. The higher the R-value of a product, the better it is at its designated job.

But the R-value is not the only factor that you should pay attention to when installing insulation. Insulation must be installed correctly as well. Ensure that in addition to choosing quality products, you also choose quality installers who are familiar with your type of home and have a great reputation. Your installers should be able to provide product details and indications before installation and also be able to answer any questions you may have about the product and its eco-friendliness, effectiveness, and cost.

3 Tips For Keeping Your Heating Bills Low in Winter

How to keep warm and save money

When it comes to colder months, those ominous heating bills can really sneak up on you—sometimes even doubling during the winter. Heating bills account for over 50% of the energy used in the average home. That means that personal finances can really take a punch during this time. Fortunately, with a little strategizing and some simple tips that have been gathered over time, you can keep that heating bill from becoming a burden.

1. Make Little Changes for Large Results

Just a few small changes can make a big difference in your bill. Making these minimal adjustments can help you see a big difference over the course of the season.

Turn down your thermostat. Although you may be hesitant to do so, you’ll save money on every degree you can spare. So pull out those festive sweaters and bury yourself underneath a warm blanket. Set your thermostat back during the night as well—you won’t miss those degrees as much when you’re sleeping.

Turn down your hot water heater. Heating water costs more than you think. So take a few degrees off the heat dial and shorten those showers.

Turn on the fan! Ceiling fans are conventionally used to cool down, but they actually do not change the temperature of the air. Their cooling effect can be contributed to the breeze they create. But during warmer months, you can mix warmer air near the ceiling with cooler air near the floor and help the entire room feel warmer.

2. Make Maintenance a Priority

A lot of energy can be saved simply by ensuring that the maintenance of major appliances is up to snuff. Clogged furnaces can prevent proper airflow and lower efficiency. Replacing furnace filters and tuning up your furnace so that it runs efficiently can save you up to 5 percent in heating costs.
Replace old appliances with ENERGY STAR® versions to increase efficiency, lower your environmental impact, and save you money.

3. Close Up Shop

It may already seem intuitive, but we often forget that we can keep out the cold by simply making sure it never gets into the home in the first place. There are even small changes that can help us stay warmer.

Rearrange. Rearrange rooms to put furniture near interior walls that stay warmer. Cover windows with heavy drapes, and try to block drafts with some carefully crafted Feng Shui.

Check for drafts. Leaks around windows and drafts under doors can do more to lower your efficiency than you would think. Caulk leaks around windows and check door jambs to ensure you aren’t letting your heat leak out. Window film can also help. This film is translucent and helps reduce heat loss—especially if you have older windows.

Use the fireplace. A fireplace is another area where you can lose heat. Close your fireplace dampers when there is no fire going. If you do have a fireplace, use it! This is a great, low-cost way to help heat your home.

Seal leaks. Seal up any leaks around pipes, vents, air conditioners, or any electrics that run from the inside of your home out.

Close off areas. If you still find that your bill is unwieldy, consider keeping closets closed and closing the doors of rooms you don’t need to heat. Note: this doesn’t mean you should close central air vents in rooms you don’t need to heat.

Keeping heating costs down can take nothing more than a little bit of mindful direction and some routine home maintenance. If you’re in the San Diego area, call Bob Jenson for routine maintenance and repairs to keep your systems working efficiently.

Turn Up The Savings: Reducing Heat Loss In Your Home

Technically it’s winter here in San Diego, but don’t be fooled, colder, wetter weather will come and we’ll all be reaching for our thermostats to take the chill off. When we do we might notice our heating just doesn’t cut it or it runs all of the time. We might wonder where all of that heat goes? In our latest infographic we show how and where heat loss occurs and what you can do about it to save money on your heating bills!

An infographic about reducing the  heat loss in your home

10 Simple Ways Homeowners Can Save Money

How to stop wasting your cash on energy loss

Some of these ideas require little more than lifting your finger. Who knew saving money could be so easy? If you care about the little things adding up to big savings, check out these 10 easy ways to fatten your wallet.

1) Rent tools

When you have a small job to complete at home, look into renting the tools you will need instead of buying them all new. Some tools are smart investments, like hammers, screwdrivers, and levels. But when it comes to power tools or those that are specific to a certain job, it’s less expensive to just rent them, especially if you only plan to use them once.

2) Close closet doors

This cost-free energy saving idea just makes good sense. When closet doors are open, you are paying to cool or heat the square footage inside them. Make a conscious effort to keep them closed in order to save money on your energy bills.

3) Replace air conditioning filters

This is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to keep your air conditioning unit in top working order, yet it is often neglected. A good rule of thumb is to go ahead and change your air conditioning filter the same day of the month each month. This will keep your air conditioning unit running at top capacity and prevent expensive repairs down the road.

4) Consider a time-of-use budget plan

Call your electric and water companies and find out if either offers special rates for using electricity or water during off-peak times. Do the bulk of your high-energy tasks like laundry, showering, or watering the lawn during a cheaper time of day.

5) Unplug cords

Did you know that power cords are still using energy, even when they aren’t in use? The cord for your laptop, tablet and cell phone still racks up energy costs when it is not actually charging anything but is plugged into the wall.

6) Shop in the off-season

When possible, wait and buy household items when they are technically off-season. This could mean buying gardening equipment in late summer/early fall to keep for the following spring, or holiday decorations when they go on sale directly after the season.

7) Use ceiling fans

This may seem like a good way to spend more energy, but it can actually help you conserve it by allowing you to run your air conditioner or furnace less. The ceiling fans helps to circulate and maximize the cool or hot air, keeping your rooms temperature controlled more quickly and easily.

8) Never skip a HVAC tune-up

The best way to prevent costly repairs on your air conditioning and heating systems is by maintaining them with regular professional tune-ups. Have one just before the summer season starts and have one before the fall season.

9) Comparison shop

Take the time to research the large and small household purchases you make, from light bulbs to wood flooring, and find the best value. This doesn’t mean to always go with the cheapest option, but it means to take the time to find out which items are of the highest quality for the smallest price.

10) Replace your furnace or water heater

This is perhaps a little more expensive than some of the other items on this list, but it will end up saving you money in the long run—through efficiency and tax credits from the federal and state government. The money you will save on fuel over time also makes either of these upgrades, installed by a professional, a great investment.

6 Things You Should Never Do When It Comes To Your Furnace

Furnace No-No’s to keep in mind

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the heating and cooling systems in your home, despite the fact that they account for up to 54 percent of total utility costs. When these systems are working well, you don’t need to pay attention to them, but if you ignore them completely, you could be asking for a ton of trouble down the road and some unexpected expenses, too.
Let’s take a look at some basic no-nos when it comes to furnace installation, maintenance, and repair that every homeowner should keep in mind.

1. Neglect filters.

Like most expensive investments, furnaces work best when they are properly maintained. Something as simple as changing a filter on a monthly basis can make a huge impact on the overall efficiency and health of your furnace over time. Basic furnace filters last about a month, while high-efficiency models will last closer to three months, but always check the packaging for instructions. Set a recurring alarm on your phone, tie a string around your finger, or write it on your family calendar for the entire year so that you never forget.

2. Ignore strange noises.

It is normal for furnaces to make noise as part of their normal operations, but if you notice that those sounds are getting louder, it may be time to call a professional for an inspection. Some specific warning sounds to heed include scraping metal, whining or squealing, and a distinct bang or pop when the furnace starts up. These signs point to loose, broken, or worn-out parts that will need to be replaced to help your furnace operate correctly. Ignoring these noises could result in even more damage and costly repairs. As a good rule of thumb, if a noise is noticeable to you, it is probably worth getting checked out.

3. Put up with discomfort.

If you are spending more time fiddling with your thermostat and moving from room to room to stay warm, you should call a furnace professional to inspect your unit. The problem could be as simple as a malfunctioning thermostat, which is definitely not worth being uncomfortable over. You pay a lot to keep your family warm and comfortable, so make sure your furnace is working properly to live up to that monthly investment.

4. Underestimate importance of scheduled maintenance.

Changing your filters is a good start, but there are other maintenance details of furnaces that deserve attention, too. In lieu of obtaining your own furnace repair license, research and retain a professional contractor or company to make scheduled visits to your home to perform a checkup on your unit. The best part: these companies take the guesswork out of scheduled maintenance for you by calling or emailing you reminders when it is time to have them back. These professionals will also give you a heads up for likely repairs in the future and a timeline so you can prepare financially.

5. Wait too long to shop.

The basic lifespan of a furnace is 16 to 20 years, but you should be pricing them out well in advance. If you wait to look for a replacement when your furnace finally quits, you will be in a hurry and may not end up with the right model for your home’s needs. Shopping early also gives you some time to save up for the upfront funds that go into purchasing an energy efficient model, saving you a lot in utility costs over its lifespan. When given the opportunity to shop around for a home or car, you certainly take advantage of it. Apply the same concept to a new furnace.

6. Install furnaces without professional help.

The furnaces that tend to last the longest, offer the best efficiency, and need the fewest repairs are usually installed by professionals. These experts know how to position and hook up furnaces so that they will operate optimally while also providing safety and reliability for your family There are really too many hazards associated with DIY furnace installation to list, but they include everything from disconnecting the old one, performing some heavy lifting, and hooking up the vents incorrectly. Save yourself the money and some peace of mind by calling a furnace installation expert to do the job for you.

Homeowners today often take the basic systems of their houses for granted, heating and cooling included. Having a temperature-controlled home is a basic right of homeownership today but should be treated as a privilege. Proper care and maintenance along with guidance from a trusted furnace professional like Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating will keep your furnace running safely and smoothly for the duration of its lifespan.

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