The expert guide on how to heat warehouses and industrial buildings.

Responsible for producing and storing a wide variety of products, from pharmaceuticals to raw materials, industrial buildings and warehouses are core to modern commerce world.

However, this crucial role can be compromised when the temperatures inside plummet to unsafe or impractical levels for both the staff and the products they are storing.

In this blog, we discuss the importance of heating these spaces, the challenges associated, and which heaters are best suited for warehouse and industrial heating.

Why is it important to heat warehouses and industrial buildings?

Keeping industrial spaces and warehouses warm and comfortable is crucial. For your teams, your products, and your machinery, maintaining ideal conditions during the winter months is key to upholding performance and quality.

First, inadequate interior temperatures create uncomfortable or unsafe environments for employees. At best, this makes routine tasks harder and limits productivity. At worst, it can present a serious health hazard, patches of ice can raise the risk of accidents, while prolonged exposure to the cold increases the likelihood of illnesses.

Because of this, many countries have strict recommendations on legal working conditions. The UK, for example, advises indoor temperatures to be kept at 16°C or above – 13°C if the work involves physical effort. Failing to satisfy a region’s health and safety criteria can result in fines, disqualification, or legal action!

Excessively cold temperatures do not only impact employees and their performance, but it can also negatively affect certain products, such as fruit and vegetables, reducing their shelf life. Metallic items can also begin to corrode when exposed to adverse conditions.

Many warehouse spaces and industrial properties rely on critical equipment to fulfil their duties. And, if temperatures are too cold, systems such as forklifts, ovens and conveyor belts can become damaged or break down entirely, disrupting operations and resulting in costly repairs.

Why is it difficult to heat warehouses and industrial spaces?

Warm air heating is essential to overcome cold warehouses and industrial buildings. However, keeping these spaces at the ideal temperature year-round has its challenges. This is because:

 

High ceilings trap heat.

The average warehouse can be as tall as 14m at its highest point. This presents a problem, as warm air naturally rises, causing pockets of heat to linger near the roof and away from the spaces where it is most needed.

Doors constantly open and close.

Warehouses and industrial buildings often have people, items and machinery moving in and out during all hours. When loading bays, doors and windows are opened, warm inside air can easily escape.

These environments have flexible heating demands.

Not every warehouse and industrial hall will need consistent temperatures year-round. Often, heat output is required in specific zones, for a certain period of time, adding to the complexity of industrial warehouse heating.

As an example, more heat may be needed in areas with less insulation. Well-insulated spaces, on the other hand, retain this valuable energy for longer.

Warehouses and industrial buildings are getting bigger.

The average size of European logistic facilities is increasing. Growing spaces add to the cost and difficulty of warehouse heating, as bigger floor areas need more warm air, as well as dedicated solutions to guarantee even heat distribution.

Industrial spaces are poorly insulated.

The EU is home to more than 12 million commercial buildings, approximately 50% of which are over 40 years old. With potentially millions of warehouses and industrial spaces relying on decades-old insulation, warm air may be difficult to retain in these dated facilities.

How to heat warehouses and industrial buildings.

Establishing the ideal climate in warehouses and industrial settings is difficult. However, by using professional portable heaters, commercial facilities can unlock a number of key advantages:

  • Protects employee health and productivity.
  • Preserves processes and products.
  • Supports the longevity of critical equipment.
  • Maximises building health and integrity.

Understanding the Requirements.

Before diving into specific heating solutions, it’s crucial to assess the requirements of your warehouse or industrial building. Consider factors such as:

Size and Layout: Determine the square footage and layout of the space to understand the heating load requirements accurately.

Insulation: Assess the level of insulation in the building. Proper insulation can significantly impact heating efficiency and energy consumption.

Usage Patterns: Consider how the space is used. Are there specific areas that require higher temperatures? Are there fluctuations in occupancy or activity levels?

Budget: Evaluate your budget for heating system installation and ongoing energy costs. While investing in energy-efficient solutions may have a higher upfront cost, they can result in long-term savings.

Heating Options.

Several heating options are suitable for warehouses and industrial buildings. Each comes with its own set of advantages and considerations:

Radiant Heating: Radiant heating systems emit infrared radiation, which directly heats objects and surfaces in the space. This type of heating is highly efficient and provides uniform warmth without the need for ductwork. Radiant heaters can be installed overhead or underfloor, depending on the layout of the building.

Warm Air Heaters: Warm air heating systems distribute heated air through ducts or vents, raising the ambient temperature of the space. These systems are versatile and can be powered by gas, oil, or electricity. Warm air heaters are particularly effective in buildings with high ceilings or uneven heat distribution.

High-Intensity Gas Heaters: High-intensity gas heaters use infrared radiation to heat specific areas within a warehouse or industrial building. These heaters are ideal for spot heating or providing supplementary warmth in colder regions of the space. They offer rapid heating capabilities and are often used in conjunction with other heating systems for comprehensive coverage.

Heat Recovery Systems: Heat recovery systems capture and recycle waste heat generated by industrial processes or equipment. By harnessing this heat energy, these systems can supplement primary heating systems, reducing energy consumption and operating costs.

Selecting the Right System.

When selecting a heating system for your warehouse or industrial building, consider the following factors:

Energy Efficiency: Choose a system with high energy efficiency ratings to minimise operating costs and reduce environmental impact.

Compatibility: Ensure that the chosen heating system is compatible with the building’s infrastructure and layout. Consider any modifications or upgrades that may be required for installation.

Maintenance Requirements: Assess the maintenance needs of the heating system, including regular servicing, filter replacements, and troubleshooting procedures.

Size: It is also important to consider the heating capacity required. Does a small staff room need warm air? Are there sizeable zones in the manufacturing process that demand high temperatures?

Select a unit able to meet the precise demands of your space. A warm air heating system too small may require multiple units to produce the desired temperatures, reducing efficiency. Conversely a solution that’s too large can overheat spaces, compromising comfort and energy usage.

Safety: Prioritise safety features such as automatic shut-off mechanisms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire suppression systems to protect occupants and assets.

Regulatory Compliance: Verify that the selected heating system complies with relevant building codes, safety standards, and environmental regulations.

Final Thoughts.

Heating warehouses and industrial buildings requires careful planning and consideration of various factors, including size, layout, usage patterns, and budget constraints. By understanding the specific requirements of your space and exploring the available heating options, you can choose a system that delivers optimal comfort, efficiency, and reliability.

Whether you opt for radiant heating, warm air systems, high-intensity gas heaters, or heat recovery solutions, investing in the right heating system is essential for maintaining a productive and comfortable working environment.

Remember to consult with heating experts and professionals to assess your needs accurately and determine the most suitable solution for your warehouse or industrial facility. With the right heating system in place, you can ensure efficient operations and create a conducive environment for employees and equipment alike.

If you’re looking for a company that offers Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning maintenance, design and installation services across the West Midlands, London, and surrounding areas, contact Mid-Tech Services today.

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