Whether you’re moving into an existing location or are designing a new facility, heat is always a necessity. You need to keep your employees and your products at a comfortable temperature. However, with so many options, it can be hard to determine where to start when it comes to discovering how to heat your warehouse.
Most Common Issues When Choosing A System
When it comes to choosing the right heating system, many warehouse managers have it wrong. It’s no surprise that choosing the wrong heating system can be costly and will require necessary upgrades or full replacement to continue future operations. To help you avoid these problems, we’re going to reveal some of the most common issues that happen when choosing a heating system for a warehouse facility.
- Poor Heat Distribution Throughout The Facility
- Energy Waste Due To Overworked System
- Uncomfortable Employees
Understanding Your Heating Options
There are various commercial heaters for warehouse facilities that fall into two main categories. These are warm air heating and radiant heating. Understanding the pros and cons of each of these heating options can give you better insight into which one to choose to heat your warehouse.
Warm Air Heating
Warm air heating is one of the most popular types of warehouse heating solutions on the market today. This type of system works by having the heaters warm the air inside of the warehouse space. This warmer air then heats the workers and your products to ensure both are at a comfortable level for functioning.
At their most basic level, the best warehouse heaters work by drawing air over a heat exchanger. the heat exchanger heats up the air to the desired temperature. Then, the now warmed air is distributed across the facility space by a fan. In order to maintain consistent temperatures with a warm air heating system, the warmed air has to be distributed evenly throughout the entire facility.
When it comes to choosing a warm air heating system, you have many different options. These can be summed up into three main categories which are direct-fired, indirect-fired, and electric element. Let’s breakdown each of these three options below so that you understand what each option entails.
Direct-Fired Unit Heaters
These commercial heaters for warehouse facilities are powered by either gas or oil. One of these fuels burns within the body of the heater to create warm air. You can think of direct-fired unit heaters as being somewhat similar to a gas grill. The flame comes into contact with the air directly. The air that is drawn into the unit is passed through the gas created flame which warms up the air.
Some of the best warehouse heaters, these can be suspended from the ceiling, stand on the floor, or even be mounted on a warehouse wall. When deciding on the right location to put your heater, it’s important to consider floor space. If you opt for the direct-fired heaters that stand on the floor, you’ll be losing precious floor space that could otherwise be used for other important warehouse activities. Also, you’ll want to consider the maintenance needs of the system and how difficult it will be to assess.
Indirect-Fired Unit Heaters
These heaters work very similarly to a furnace in your home. The gas or oil that powers the heater is utilized to create a flame in the burn chamber. The flame basically heats up the heat exchanger. The air that is drawn into the heater passes over the heat exchanger which warms up the air before forcing it out into the warehouse facility.
An indirect-fired heater can use gas or oil as its sole source of energy. Unlike with the direct-fired heater, the air never comes into direct contact with the flame produced by the heater’s fuel source. These units tend to require floor space in order to be utilized. As some of the best warehouse heaters, these devices can be mounted on the top of the warehouse or outside and vent in the warmed air.
Electric Element Unit Heaters
The electric element unit heater works very similarly to the other warm air heating methods above. It utilizes a heat exchanger or coil that is warmed, in this case, by electric power. The air is drawn into the unit heater and passes over the heat exchanger. The air is warmed during this process and is redistributed back into the warehouse.
Electric element heaters like Reznor’s R7DA can be mounted in pretty much any location that you want them to. They simply require the use of electricity to operate and don’t require you to have hookups to oil or gas for operation. Many warehouse managers opt for installing electric element unit heaters on the ceiling to eliminate the need for precious floor space.
As you have learned, there are three different types of warm air heating systems out there to choose from for your warehouse heating needs. These include the direct-fired heater, indirect-fired heater, and the electric element heater. The ability to install these systems in desired locations and their type of fuel plays a big role in which ones will be most advantageous for your specific warehouse heating needs.
This is a fairly newer heating method that is utilized in some select warehouses. It works by having suspended radiant tubes or plaque heaters that emit infrared radiation. Unlike the warm air heating systems, radiant heaters actually warm the surfaces that it comes into contact with including equipment and employees.
Due to the nature of how radiant heating works, these heaters are often suspended from the warehouse ceiling. This way, the infrared radiation can emit downwards in a triangular expansion. Think of this as a desk lamp. The higher you hold the lamp up, the more light that is going to be emitted on the desk’s surface. Radiant heating works the same way by providing a vast spread of heat in a down and outward direction.
While these commercial heaters for warehouse facilities provide many unique benefits on their own, they can be combined to create the ultimate warehouse heating system. When you know what the best warehouse heaters are and how they effectively operate, you can better determine which ones are going to work best for different zones of your warehouse. Don’t be afraid to combine both warm air heating commercial heaters for warehouse facilities with radiant heating to achieve the heat you need for your facility at a reasonable cost.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Type Of Heating System
Now, since you know your heating system options, it’s time to think about which system is going to work best for your facility. In doing this, there are a few different things you’ll need to take into consideration. Let’s take a look at the most important factors that you need to consider when choosing the right commercial heaters for warehouse facilities that you operate.
- Heat Distribution
The first factor that you’ll need to consider is heat distribution. Take a look at your warehouse and determine if there are any major obstructions in the ability of the heat to be distributed evenly throughout the space. You may notice that objects like racking can hinder the distribution of heat. You must, therefore, take this obstruction into account when designing your heater placement. The objective should be to have heat distributed evenly across the entire facility.
Racking is a common piece of equipment used in many warehouse facilities. It allows you to easily store your products so that they’re out of the way and you utilize less floor space. The problem with racking and trying to heat your facility is that it can block the distribution of heat throughout the warehouse.
It’s important to realize that radiant heating only heats what is in its direct line of sight. If the infrared heat emitted from the heater is unable to directly contact the racks or things shaded by the racks, it can’t heat that area. If you have a lot of racking in your warehouse facility, you may want to opt for warm air heating. These commercial heaters for warehouse facilities are better able to heat the air surrounding the racking than radiant heat.
- Floor Space
The floor space of your warehouse is very precious. You only have so much and you want to ensure that you’re utilizing it to the best of your ability. As you learned above, some of the heating system options require necessary floor space to operate. If you’re already having trouble finding floor space for your operations, you’re likely going to want to opt for the best warehouse heaters that are able to be mounted on the ceiling or the wall. This way, they’re up and out of your necessary workspace.
Most warehouses are designed with high roofs so that the building naturally provides more space for work and storage of products. With high roofs, it becomes inevitable that heated air will be drawn to the top of the building. Since it’s very unlikely that your employees will be working that high up, you’ll essentially be wasting energy heating the top of your warehouse. To fix this issue, you need to employ the simple concept of destratification.
Destratification is essentially recirculating the warm air from the roof of the warehouse structure to the occupied floor space of the building. This can be easily done by installing suspended fans on the roof of the building. This way, they can force the warmed air created by the heaters back down towards the floor level where it will heat your employees and products.
Tips For Keeping Heating Costs Reasonable
Investing in commercial heaters for warehouse facilities is a small expense compared to the cost of running those systems. Unfortunately, high energy costs are just accepted as a necessary part of running a warehouse. However, they shouldn’t be. There are various practices you can employ as a warehouse manager to keep your heating costs within a reasonable range throughout the entire year.
Pay Attention To Work Zones
It’s a good idea to take some time to identify just how your facility operates. Take notice of where your staff members spend most of their time throughout the day. Breakdown their employee locations by zones and mark which one are utilized most often. You may find that there are some specific zones of your facility that are utilized less frequently than others. This is key information when it comes to buying the best warehouse heaters for your facility.
These areas of occasional use can be beneficial to saving your warehouse money on your heating bills. Some of the best commercial heaters for warehouse facilities allow you to turn the temperature down in specified zones like these as staff members won’t be spending a lot of time there. This way, these unoccupied spaces won’t waste unnecessary energy being heated when they’re not really being utilized all too often. Some of the best warehouse heaters can allow you to digitally alter the temperature so you can find the exact setting that fits right for every zone in your warehouse.
Install Timed Controls
Some of the best commercial heaters for warehouse facilities allow you to program in timed controls that turn the heating system on and off. If your facility is one that isn’t in operation around the clock, then you likely won’t need a lot of heat during the non-production hours. A timed control can be the perfect solution to help your warehouse facility be more energy-efficient.
The best warehouse heaters will allow you to set hours of operation where the temperature can be in a more comfortable working environment. For example, you may set your heater to return to the ambient temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit about 30 minutes before the first employees arrive at the warehouse. This way, it’s heated up and comfortable to work in. Then, you may have the heater turn off about 30 minutes before the last employee leaves. Timed controls can be a great benefit for controlling unruly heating costs in the dead of winter and are only found on the best warehouse heaters on the market.
If you’ve been tasked with the job of finding the best warehouse heaters for your facility, it’s not an easy feat. There are various commercial heaters for warehouse facilities that you have to choose from. By understanding what these options are and how to properly determine which ones are best for your warehouse facility, you’ll be able to appropriately set up your heating system to work effortlessly. Be sure to avoid the most common mistakes that warehouse managers make when picking out a new heating system and always employ the energy-saving tips above to ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of your new heating system.