Selecting the Right Heating Solution for Your Facility
For facility managers and business owners, production and services don’t stop when temperatures drop. While it may be chilly outside or snow on the ground, individuals still must commute to work and operate inside buildings. For warehouses, greenhouses or auto repair shops, regular heating is required for these facilities to operate at maximum levels. While there is a plethora of options available to provide proper heating, it’s important to choose the right solution for your facility. Picking a solution that isn’t right for the space could result in inefficiencies that could cost the facility more money just to heat the space.
There are several things to consider when selecting the right heating solution for your facility. The first is: What are you looking to heat? Are you looking to heat an entire facility or a particular space inside the building? Another factor is what the different solutions look like and what type of space you have to house the equipment. The answers to these questions will differ depending on your facility, but the ultimate idea is to understand your facility and its needs. As long as you have a firm understanding of that, you will be able to find a solution that suits your situation.
Unit Heaters and Commercial Spaces
When it comes to manufacturing facilities, warehouses or any other production-style buildings, space can be a major concern. These facilities need space to develop, manufacture or store products. That means there is a limited amount of space available for heating solutions. In these facilities, unit heaters are an excellent solution. In many cases, unit heaters are designed to be hung up off the floor and out of the way. These compacted “boxes of heat” are permanent heating solutions that can maintain the temperatures desired by facility managers. It is also possible to install multiple unit heaters throughout a space for an extra piece of mind. If one unit heater goes out, you have other ones that will keep the building warm while the faulty unit is being repaired.
Auto repair shops also benefit from unit heaters. With bay doors constantly opening and shutting, heat can quickly be lost. With unit heaters, heat can be recovered quickly. When the door comes open, the unit heater will kick on to ensure an excessive amount of heat doesn’t escape through the bay door. In addition, as previously noted, they are smaller in size, allowing more room in the space for equipment and employees to work. It’s a win-win situation for smaller, confined spaces.
The universal nature of unit heaters makes them optimal choices for manufacturing facilities, warehouses, auto repair shops and multiple other commercial facilities.
Hydronic Unit Heaters for Boiler Systems
For facilities that utilize a boiler system, there are unit heaters designed specifically for those as well. For example, hot water unit heaters coupled with boiler systems provide heat to spaces. For areas that use radiant heat, such as residences that use boiler systems, a hot water unit heater that is tied in with a boiler has the ability to run the fan even when the boiler isn’t running. This creates air movement and makes it easier to circulate the hot air throughout the space. In addition, as is the case with unit heaters in general, they are smaller and can be tucked up and out of the way.
Spot Heating and Infrared Solutions
If the need for widespread heating isn’t a necessity, a spot heating solution, such as an infrared heater, may be the right choice for your facility. With infrared heaters, they are designed to heat objects as opposed to spaces. It’s very similar to when a person walks out in the sun and feels the warmth. For example, if you managed a warehouse facility where only 20% of the building was being used for employees, you could install an infrared heater to only heat the area where the employees were working. This would save a lot of money on fuel because you’re not heating the air. Restaurants are big benefactors of infrared heating as well. Because of the solution, they’ve been able to install infrared heaters on patios to extend the outdoor seating season for customers.
If your facility has a need for spot heating over whole facility heating, an infrared heating solution could be optimal for you.
Electric Heaters for Commercial Facilities
For commercial buildings with low ceilings, a horizontal electric heater (HER) could be an optimal selection to heat your building in the winter. HERs are typically recommended for these facilities because the airflow can be adjusted either up or down thanks to the horizontal air deflector blades. These units are typically placed around the perimeter of the building to ensure the air stream from each heater blankets the walls to produce warm air along the building’s outside walls where heat loss is greater. If needed, these units can also be mounted to the wall.
Another alternative for loading bays and other hard-to-heat areas is high-velocity horizontal unit heaters. These are ideal for areas that require a greater heat throw than that generated by other heating solutions.
Staying Warm With the Right Heater
There isn’t a universal heating solution that works for every facility. Each facility has different heating needs based on a variety of factors like size and space. If you want to find the right solution for your facility, it’s important to have a firm understanding of your facility’s heating needs. If you are looking for a heater for an entire manufacturing facility, it may be great to consider installing multiple gas-fired unit heaters. On the flip side, if you need to heat a small area like a docking bay for unloading trucks, installing an infrared heater would save money and energy. It all depends on your facility’s individual needs. If you understand that, you are well on your way to selecting the perfect heater for your situation.
Jamie Tuinstra is a product manager at Modine Manufacturing. He has been in the heating and cooling industry for 25 years and with Modine for 16. At Modine, we are engineering a cleaner, healthier world. Building on more than 100 years of excellence in thermal management, we provide trusted systems and solutions that improve air quality and conserve natural resources. Modine is a global company headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin (USA), with operations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.