Keep Your Employees Happy: 6 Tips for Heating Your Warehouse
Warehouse heating can be a touchy topic, if only for the incredible expense and headache of keeping such a large building warm throughout the year. Nonetheless, there are many benefits to heating your warehouse. Not only does a warm warehouse breed happier personnel–which has far-reaching implications for employee longevity and productivity–but it also has the potential to prevent products and equipment from depreciating. Using tips and tricks like window and door modifications, air circulation and zoning can keep your warehouse warm without breaking the bank. Learn more.
1. Insulate Windows and Doors
There is no question that windows and doors are the #1 cause of heat loss in any building, residential or commercial. The large windows and high doors typical of a warehouse facility are especially bad culprits. Not only are they greater gaping holes in the side of a building than your average kitchen window, but warehouse doors are routinely opened and closed for shipments and deliveries, exposing the building to the elements numerous times on a daily basis.
For starters, check the seals on your windows and doors for leaks. Seals can wear down over time, requiring replacement. Second, purchase insulated, double-pane windows where you can. Air itself is one of the greatest insulators in our environment, so trapping a layer between two panes of glass can reap dividends when it comes to preventing heat loss. Finally, install a vinyl strip curtain on your loading dock doors. Doing so will slow the seepage of cold air into the building during extended periods of loading or unloading.
2. Install a Warm Air Heater
When it comes to heating a warehouse, you have two options, a warm air heater or a radiant heater. Warm air heaters heat a space by–you guessed it–warming the air. Radiant heaters heat the people and things around them, but only if they are in close proximity. Warm air heaters are a better option for warehouse heating because of their ability to evenly-distribute warm air in a large space. If you have to choose between a warm air heater and a radiant heater to heat your warehouse, go with the first option for uniform heating.
3. Circulate the Air
It is commonly known that heat rises (though few of us know the science behind this fact). In a large building such as a warehouse with abnormally high ceilings, warm air typically congregates at the top, leaving employees down below in the cold and your pocketbook strained for no benefit. Installing suspended fans throughout the warehouse can alleviate this problem if not solve it, pushing hot air down to mix with the cold so that the temperature of the air is more even throughout the building.
4. Zone Your Heating
If your warehouse contains office space or temperature-sensitive products or equipment, consider a heating solution that creates different climates for different parts of the building. For example, office space (where employees are sitting) should be kept warmer than active loading and unloading zones (where employees are sweating). In addition, keeping products cool to prevent defect or spoiling is just as important as keeping employees at the appropriate temperature.
5. Supplement with Space Heaters
Warehouses that contain office space can benefit from supplementing heat zoning with space heaters, particularly if the office space is small. Space heaters can be more cost-effective than maintaining high temperatures for one room only. Use heat zoning to heat the working parts of the warehouse to a temperature appropriate for employees who are doing physical labor, but place a space heater where office employees work.
6. Manage with a Programmable Thermostat
Unless equipment requires it, there is no reason that a building as large as a warehouse should be heated when employees are out. Programmable thermostats can be set to commence heating the building just before employees are set to arrive for the day, and switch it off as the day draws to a close. They can also adjust to the weather, providing additional heat when it gets cold outside and dialing it back when the weather turns warm.
If you are looking to heat your warehouse but don’t know where to start, consider hiring an HVAC professional. A professional can “audit” your warehouse, looking for leaks, hot and cold spots, zoning opportunities and more, recommending a comprehensive solution that saves you the most money while keeping your employees warm.