How HVLS Fans Can Help HVAC Systems

By Mark D’Agostino, Contributor

HVLS fans can work with an HVAC system to better control the climate of a warehouse; they can mobilize and de-stratify large volumes of air, enabling HVAC systems to operate more efficiently. (photo courtesy Hunter Industrial)

If you operate a large-scale facility, you’ve likely received an electricity bill of similar scale. Aside from common HVAC issues (lack of maintenance, dirty or clogged filters, etc.), using an HVAC system alone for temperature control can be considerably costly, inefficient and hazardous for your workforce.

Fortunately, high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans can work with your HVAC system to better control the climate of your workspace. The fans can mobilize and de-stratify large volumes of air, enabling HVAC systems to operate more efficiently—while also optimizing comfort and health in unconditioned environments.

Uneven Heating/Cooling

Solely relying on an HVAC system prevents air from properly circulating throughout the entire space. Since industrial buildings contain ceilings up to a hundred feet high, heating and cooling can be tricky. Most buildings require more than just an HVAC system to properly circulate the air as “stratification” can pose a significant challenge. Stratification occurs when warm air rises to the ceiling while cooler air remains at the floor level. Because of this imbalance, the thermostat to your HVAC system at ground level is inaccurately reading a different temperature than what exists.

To “de-stratify” the air and achieve a more uniform temperature throughout an ample space, you might consider installing an HVLS ceiling fan. Industrial ceiling fans do what typical residential fans cannot do in such extensive facilities, which is push the air trapped at the ceiling down to the floor for complete temperature control.

Destratification allows HVAC systems to work more efficiently, potentially saving up to 30% on energy costs. One such customer reported his facility’s heating bills had been reduced by an average of $2,500 annually, compared to before the fan was installed.

Unreliability

If an HVAC system is out of service for any amount of time, industrial ceiling fans can make a difference in temperature control during those tough situations. (photo courtesy Hunter Industrial)

At some point, most owners have experienced issues with their HVAC system being unreliable, whether it’s inaccurately taking the temperature of a room, or malfunctioning and requiring maintenance. Relying solely on an HVAC system to cool your facility in the summer can be risky. If an HVAC system goes out in the heat of the summer, employees may be susceptible to fatigue or, even worse, heat exhaustion.

In one instance, a facility manager at a warehouse in the Nashville region fell sick from the heat and was not able to return to work. The facility itself was forced to close its doors during the hottest portion of the summer. The installation of two, 14-ft HVLS fans, which generate a consistent breeze throughout the warehouse, resulted in an immediate notice difference in temperature. Since then, the warehouse has remained open all year long, with a constant rate of productivity. What’s more: The workers have indicated the warehouse can be a more enjoyable environment than other sectors of the facility.

If your HVAC system is out of service for any amount of time, industrial ceiling fans can make a difference in temperature control during those tough situations.

Employee Comfort

As stated earlier, HVAC units alone do not provide a comfortable temperature for your workforce. We’ve already discussed how the air gets trapped at the ceiling; therefore, employees won’t effectively feel the heat during the winter nor the cold air during the summer. This places a burden on employees who might be forced to wear an excessive number of layers or risk heat exhaustion, depending on the season.

One manufacturing and logistics customer has experienced many benefits after installing seven, 24-ft HVLS fans in the company’s 300,000-sq ft warehouse. Keeping their HVLS fans running 24/7, the company’s vice president of supply chain noted, “HVLS fans provide uniform comfort year-round for our nearly 230 employees, which has in turn increased worker productivity…They are essential in creating an optimal, healthy environment in our facility, from ceiling to floor.”

Efficiency

Stratified air can be a severe problem across many different facilities that have higher-than-average ceilings. Whether you own a manufacturing facility, airplane hangar, restaurant or retail store, relying on an HVAC system alone for temperature control can leave your wallet hurting.

If your facility doesn’t have HVLS fans, your HVAC system may have to work harder, leading to a variety of potential issues. HVLS fans, however, can stir the pot, circulating air so that warm air trapped at the ceiling level is cycled down to the floor. This allows HVAC systems to work more efficiently and effectively. By combining HVLS fans with an HVAC system, you can cut costs by a significant amount—by working smarter, not harder.

HVLS Fan Solution

If you’re using your HVAC system alone for air temperature control, chances are you’re spending more money than necessary. HVAC systems have many obstacles to properly heating and cooling large spaces, but there is a solution. When HVAC systems are combined with HVLS fans, you can decrease energy costs and increase employee and even customer satisfaction. WMHS

About the Author

Mark D’Agostino is General Manager and Senior Vice President of Hunter Industrial; to learn more or to receive a free fan estimate, contact www.hunterfan.com/industrial or call 844-591-3267.