SOUND VS. PERFORMANCE: GETTING THE MOST BANG FOR YOUR AIR MOVEMENT BUCK
We all love to have our cake and eat it, too. But, as anyone in a successful marriage will tell you, life is about compromise. (Seriously ladies, you can’t have it YOUR way EVERY time!) In the air movement business, a trade-off exists when evaluating a fan’s performance versus the noise level it produces. So how much noise is too much? When is it ok to use a quieter, lower performance fan? How do you strike the perfect balance between necessary air flow and acceptable sound levels? Answers forthcoming!
Before we go much further, let’s talk about the different fan types. High velocity (HV) fans are generally considered high performance – designed to accelerate (or “throw”) air over a distance. For HV fans, airspeed (measured in feet per minute, or FPM) is more important than volume. However, this also translates into slightly higher noise levels, typically measured in decibels (dBA). The other end of the performance spectrum includes cage fans (Strait Talk, October 2015) and ventilation fans (think supply, exhaust, shop floor, etc.). These fans covet volume over speed, and are usually rated in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Are they quieter than HV fans? Absolutely… but you won’t feel their airflow once you move more than a few feet away.
So which fans are right for your facility, and how should they be used? Well… both… and it depends! (How’s that for an answer?!) For an effective overall air movement solution, it is best to incorporate both fan types. For example, use large supply and exhaust fans for cross ventilation, and couple them with HV fans to accelerate air movement from one end of the building to the other. This works particularly well if your aisle ways run parallel to the airflow. If noise abatement is an issue (industry standard tends to put an upper limit around 80 dBA), mount HV fans well above the floor on columns or racks. If small area “spot cooling” is needed, employ one or more shop floor or cage fans – allowing for airflow without violating any noise level requirements.
So… maybe that example doesn’t fit the layout of your facility. Perhaps you’re looking for both performance and low noise? Great! Give Patterson a call and learn more about their new dB fan! It offers the performance of an HV fan, with a 70% reduction in noise level! No matter the fan type, Patterson has the products and the expertise to keep your facility cooler, safer, and more productive!