In this post, we have brought you some invaluable tips for improving warehouse ventilation in 2022. We will see how to ventilate a warehouse and maintain the air quality optimal and safest. We will also share tips for warehouse cooling systems and how you can maintain a favorable temperature for the workers and stock.
Optimal ventilation in warehouses is of utmost importance to ensure the good health of workers, improve air quality, and protect the stored items from mold and microorganisms. There are dozens of health hazards and problems associated with inadequate ventilation and poor air quality in warehouses, such as high temperature, excessive humidity, and the growth of molds. Employees or workers feel discomfort and excessive sweating due to poor ventilation. They might suffer from various health issues and diseases. Therefore, the owners need to improve the ventilation of warehouses and make them safe places for workers and stored items.
Let’s start the discussion without further delay. Tips to Improve Warehouse Ventilation:
1. HVLS Fans
The most important thing for warehouse ventilation is HVLS fans. These fans are specifically designed to ventilate large areas, such as warehouses, shopping malls, barns, libraries, gyms, factories, airports, and education centers. HVLS fans are quite large; they are about 7.3 meters or 24ft in diameter. There are different variants available, having a diameter range of 5.5 to 7.3 meters (18 to 24 feet). There are commercial HVLS fans that have a diameter in the range of 3 to 4 meters for small areas.
The huge fan blades and powerful motor ensure a high volume of air at a very low speed, which is why these fans are called HVLS—High Volume Low-Speed fans. Any large facility having a roof higher than 4.5 meters is suitable for installing HVLS fans.
You might think installing pedestal fans, and powerful wall fans would be a great idea instead of using HVLS fans, but unfortunately, this is not true. The first benefit of HVLS fans is that a single fan can cover a very large area because it has a high airflow. For instance, one HVLS industrial ceiling fan having a diameter of 24 feet and a 1.5kW power rating can cover an area of up to 1,000 square meters. If you try to cover an area of 1,000 square meters using pedestal fans and wall fans, you will need dozens or hundreds of fans. Consequently, the investment required to buy these fans and electricity costs will increase drastically.
In addition, the dozens and several hundred fans will create noise pollution. On the other hand, an HVLS fan produces a noise of only 43dB, which is close to the noise of a quiet library; 40 dB.
HVLS ceiling fans are quite beneficial for warehouses and other large areas. These are available at a reasonable cost, and the running cost, including electricity and maintenance costs, is much lower than other types of fans.
Moreover, there are other benefits of using HVLS fans. Firstly, its powerful airflow, which is about 13,800 cubic meters per minute or more, can cover almost every corner. The well-aligned wind acts as a breeze and efficiently covers the surrounding area. Another important benefit of HVLS fans is the Wind Chill Effect. It reduces the temperature of the area by about 5-7 degrees Celsius. The wind accelerates the rate of evaporation; therefore, the workers feel a cooling effect in the area.
Humidity is also a big issue for warehouses. HVLS fans can also reduce the humidity of the area to some extent. These fans also assist the HVAC system and make it more efficient. The electricity bill is greatly reduced, and the warehouse remains comfortable for people. HVLS fans also help in destratification. These move the hot air accumulated at the roof to the bottom. Simply put, HVLS fans can improve warehouse ventilation and air quality. It is an all-in-one player that serves as a ventilation fan, dehumidifier, and destratification fan.
2. Turn off Machines and Equipment
Machines and equipment also produce heat, noise, and fumes. Therefore, it is good to turn them off when they are not in use.
What about when they are in use?
Machines continuously produce heat, and this heat accumulates in the area. The area becomes warmer and warmer because of the continuous buildup of heat.
Machines that are running should have an adequate ventilation system. An exhaust fan can be used near machines to take out the excess heat from the area.
3. Exhaust for Heat Removal
An exhaust system is also beneficial. If you do not have an HVAC system in the warehouse, exhaust fans are essential. These fans can be placed near the machines or near the roofs to remove the accumulated hot air in the area.
Exhaust fans must be placed near the roof because it helps in removing hot air efficiently. The reason behind placing these fans near the roof or at the top level of the warehouse is air stratification.
Air stratification refers to the layering of air according to its temperatures. The hot air rises to the top because it is light while the cool air remains at the bottom. Thus, it is a wise idea to place exhaust fans at the top to remove the hot air from the warehouse.
4. Night Air
The temperature falls at night, which is why night air can be beneficial for the warehouse. This air can be used to reduce the temperature of the area. At night, instead of turning on the HVAC or cooling system, the cold air can be used to reduce the temperature of the area and replace the hot air with cold air.
If there are doors and windows, they can be kept open at night to allow cool air. It reduces energy bills as you are using the night air to cool down the space for free. Due to stratification, the hot air rises, so it can easily be taken out using a skylight and windows near the roof. It is a kind of free ventilation idea for your warehouse. The next day, your warehouse will be at a lower temperature and ready to be cooled down using the HVAC system.
5. HVAC System or Air Coolers
HVAC systems are crucial for warehouses, especially if the climate of the area is too hot. The workers in the area need a comfortable temperature to work in the warehouse. Otherwise, they might sweat or shiver because of extreme temperatures, and it reduces efficiency and productivity.
The air conditioners maintain the optimal temperature in the area, according to the requirement. But there is a need for a massive HVAC system for a large area. The upfront cost is substantial, and the running cost is also significant. The electricity cost of an HVAC system is much higher. Although it can be reduced with the help of HVLS fans, the running cost is still considerable. However, it is the best way to regulate the temperature of the warehouse.
Another way to regulate the temperature of a warehouse is by air coolers. It is a cost-effective way to cool a warehouse. Industrial air coolers can be used to regulate the temperature of a large area.
Air coolers are better for dry climates and regions. Along with powerful cooling, these keep the air humid and prevent dryness in the air. It also works as a humidifier. The cost of cooling a warehouse using air coolers is about 80% less than the HVAC systems. There is a massive saving in energy bills. It is a good idea to use air coolers with HVAC fans. The fans will help cool the area quickly and throw cool air in every direction. The air and cooler combo work efficiently.
Insulation plays a very important role in maintaining the temperature of the warehouse. Whether it is cold winter or hot summer, insulation plays its part in every season. In winter, the warehouse owners spend on heating units. However, the heating efficiency is compromised if the area is not insulated. The heat might escape, and the loss of heat will increase the energy bills.
The insulation keeps the warehouse warm and comfortable for the workers. All doors and windows should be inspected properly. If there are leaks and openings, they must be closed. Before the start of winter, it is a good idea to check for leaks. It helps in preventing the leakage of hot air.
You need to spend on insulation, but it is worth it. When the area is perfectly insulated, the hot air does not escape. The heating units work efficiently and can even be turned off when the warehouse is comfortable enough; they can be turned on when needed. The insulation is also beneficial in summer. The cool air inside the warehouse escapes from the leaks, so it is a must to seal these areas. When the cool air leaks, the air conditioning system works more. Consequently, the electricity bill is increased.
Air conditioning systems are intelligent; they turn off automatically when the required temperature is achieved. It saves energy and reduces your electricity bills. But when there are leaks and the insulation is poor, the temperature cannot be maintained; therefore, the air conditioning system works continuously.
7. White Roof
The color of the roof is also responsible for heat absorption. Darker colors absorb more heat compared to light colors. Black is the best heat absorber, and it traps heat from the sunlight. Consequently, it increases the temperature of the warehouse.
White is the worst absorber of heat; therefore, it is preferred for roofs. Warehouses should have a white-colored roof to mitigate the heat inside.
8. Cool Roof System
If companies can invest in a cool roof system, it is much better than having a simple white roof. The benefit of having a cool roof is that it reflects solar light, which prevents the heating of the roof. It reflects different types of radiation, including visible, UV, and IR.
The cool roof is made of poor absorbers of heat, so the heat is not absorbed. It helps in lowering the temperature inside the warehouse. Moreover, a cool roof system also helps in radiating the excess heat inside the warehouse. It assists the HVAC system and increases its efficiency. Due to the roof, the temperature inside the warehouse is greatly reduced, so the HVAC system can quickly cool down the area. It also reduces electricity bills.
9. Screen Doors
If owners want to regulate the temperature of the warehouse and throw out the heat, then screen doors are beneficial. These are better than the common doors because without opening them, the passage of air is possible. These prevent birds and other intruders in the area. Due to screen doors, the natural cool breeze comes inside the warehouse and ventilates the area. It is quite beneficial at night as the HVAC system can be turned off, and these screen doors can be functional.
If there is an HVAC system in the area, there is a need for a common door along with the screen door. A common door will prevent the leakage of the cool air from the HVAC, and when it is opened at night, it provides a cool breeze to lower the temperature of the warehouse.
10. Air Purification and Filtration
Air purification is also important to improve air quality. If there are harmful elements in the air, the workers' health will be affected badly.
There are many machines, such as forklifts, that give off harmful fumes. In addition, dust, microorganisms, and mist pollute the air. Therefore, there should be an air purification and filtration system to remove unwanted elements from the air and improve the quality. Good air quality guarantees the health of workers.
11. Humidity Control
Humidity is also an issue if it is not in control. Too much low and too much high humidity is dangerous for workers' health.
In summer, if the humidity is too high, i.e., over 55%, the workers will feel more heat in the area, and they will sweat more. As a result, productivity is badly affected. In addition, high humidity causes mold and mildew in the warehouse. Dehumidifiers must be used to reduce the humidity level of the area. A humidifier is needed if the humidity is low or the region/climate is dry. If there are air coolers, they will do the job of humidifiers. For the productivity and optimal health of workers, humidity control is crucial.
12. Hire an Expert and Maintenance Team
An expert is recommended if you want to improve the ventilation and air quality. You can hire an environmental engineer to ensure the EHS protocols and best practices. Along with that, you need maintenance teams to maintain the HVAC system, air coolers, purifiers, and other ventilation systems in the warehouse.