I'm spending a lot of money heating my building this winter. Anything I can do?
- Joe M, NV
“Warm air rises and cold air sinks” – anyone who’s taken a middle school science class has probably heard this fact at one time or another. For now, we’ll skip over the details as to why this happens, because really, who wants to relive those awkward middle school years?! But all jocularity aside, it’s this concept (commonly referred to as thermal stratification, or simply stratification) that’s straining the budgets of organizations like yours each and every winter. Why?
Regardless of how you might heat your facility, the sad truth is much of that heat is lost to the ceiling space. Because of this, heaters are forced to run more often in order to maintain their thermostat set points. The colder it gets, the more they run, and the more you spend. The end result is an uneven temperature profile (or gradient), whereby warmer air becomes trapped at the ceiling and the cooler, denser air sinks to the floor. Depending on ceiling height, the temperature difference, floor to ceiling, can be as much as 15-20°F!
So now that we’ve identified the problem, can anything be done, and if so, how? Thankfully the answer is yes, and the solution is Patterson’s High-5 HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) fan. Think of this fan like the ceiling fans in your home, but on a much, MUCH larger scale.
The idea, known as de-stratification, works like this: strategically place a number of High-5 fans throughout your facility, and turn them on at a slow speed in the FORWARD direction*. The fan should move air, but not create a breeze you can feel (a bit of experimentation will help you find the “sweet spot” for your building). This will facilitate a mixing of warm and cool air in a vertical, circular pattern. Over time, a continuous mixing of air will promote a more uniform temperature profile from floor to ceiling.
So how does this lower energy bills? The key is the redistribution of warm air from the ceiling. More warmth at the floor level means thermostat set points are maintained for longer intervals. Heating cycles shorten in both frequency and duration, adding dollars back to your bottom line. Realized savings could be 25-30% or more**!
Have more questions? Want to learn more about the concept of destratification? Contact the air movement experts here at Patterson Fan – The Authority in Air Movement! With more than 25 years of fan experience, we’ll deliver a tailored High-5 solution that meets both your needs and your budget!
*Best results are achieved with the fan running slowly in the forward direction. A common industry misconception is that these fans must be run in reverse for destratification. While air mixing will occur in reverse, it is much less efficient.
**Actual savings depend on heating costs, size of facility, number of fans, and other factors.