How to Remedy Heat Loss in Your Commercial Building
Another New England winter is on the way, and with it comes the inevitable need to turn up the heating system in your commercial building. Doing so will increase your operating expenses as you keep your employees and customers warm and dry during the colder months. With your heating system working again for the winter, you’ll want to take steps to avoid heat loss and energy waste.
Sources of Heat Loss
- Heat transmission through walls, floors and ceilings. Heat naturally radiates from a warmer area to a colder area. If the walls, floors and ceilings aren’t properly insulated to prevent this heat flow, warmth from inside your building will be lost through the structure.
- Air leaks and heat loss through openings, cracks, holes and gaps. Any openings that allow heated air to escape can account for significant amounts of heat loss. At the same time, these openings can allow cold air to enter your building. Air and heat loss can also occur around windows and doors and their frames, through constant opening and closing of entrance and exit doors, and in large areas, such as warehouses that require open bays.
- Air and heat loss via exhaust fans, chimneys, and flues. Many commercial operations require extra ventilation, and any building that uses a fuel-burning furnace or boiler will need an exhaust system to get rid of carbon monoxide and other potentially harmful gases. Heat loss can easily occur in these systems.
Problems from Heat Loss
- Unnecessary expenses: When heat escapes from your building, it means that you’ve paid to generate warm air that you don’t get to use. Worse, your HVAC system has to create more warm air to make up for the loss. This drives up your monthly heating expenses significantly and wastes both energy and money.
- Inconsistent heating: Your indoor spaces will be heated inconsistently, resulting in the creation of cold spots and areas that are uncomfortable for your employees and customers.
- Excessive wear on equipment: As your HVAC system works to keep up with heat loss, the equipment will receive more wear than necessary. This will result in more frequent breakdowns, the need for costly repairs and a shortening of the system’s life span.
Solving Heat Loss
Some of the more effective techniques of solving heat loss problems include:
- Having an energy audit performed: A commercial energy audit is an outstanding first step in fighting heat loss. You will be able to find and seal some of the larger and more obvious air leaks without an audit, but an energy audit will reveal the location of even the best-hidden sources of air leaks and heat loss.
- Sealing the building envelope: Seal the building’s envelope by sealing and caulking all gaps, openings, and leaks found during the energy audit.
- Insulating appropriately: Increase insulation in the walls, floors and ceilings of your commercial building. This can include adding more blanket-style insulation between joists and beams in the walls or floors, or putting foam insulation or loose-fill insulation in wall cavities, attics and other areas that are hard to reach or irregularly shaped. With better insulation, heat loss will be substantially reduced.
- Taking care of the ductwork: Make sure all the ductwork sections are in good shape and that they all fit snugly together. Ductwork should be insulated with blanket insulation or rigid fiber board. Make sure duct sections are sealed with mastic, a specialized sealant or with metal tape.
- Installing door closers: Put automatic door closers on entrance and exit doors to ensure they are not left open too long after being used.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on preventing and stopping heat loss in your commercial building, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website.
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