Climate Control Tips for Your Warehouse
Climate Control Tips for Your Warehouse
As a warehouse owner or manager, your first priority is the safety of your employees. And your second most important priority is probably making money. But there is one thing that jeopardizes both of those priorities: the weather.
The Importance of Climate Control
Although heating and air conditioning is a staple in most modern Canadian homes, not all businesses and warehouses have the same luxury. Buying inventory and investing in sturdy warehousing equipment is expensive, leaving some warehouse owners with few resources for climate control. However, climate control is an investment that will always pay you back.
Climate controlled warehouses are less likely to lose money on inventory damaged in dangerously wet or hot conditions. By neglecting climate control, your products might melt, decay, or develop mold. Further, climate controlled warehouses experience fewer worker accidents. Without climate controls, your employees might suffer a heat stroke or even develop frost bite.
So how can you keep your employees safe during the heat of summer and the dead of winter? Is it possible to run your warehouse efficiently even when extreme temperatures set in? The answer is: yes! Keep reading to learn how.
Withstanding the Summer Heat
Although Canada isn’t known for its sweltering summers, the constant hustle and bustle produces a lot of heat. Here are a few ways to help your employees, equipment, and inventory brave the summer heat.
- Paint your roof white. White reflects the sun’s rays and reduces the amount of heat that drifts into your warehouse.
- Place ceiling and floor fans around the warehouse. Fans don’t actually cool the air around you, but they do keep the air moving. Air circulation is vital to a safe, comfortable environment. Stagnant air fosters heat, which in turn leads to worker fatigue and equipment complications. Consider investing in industrial ceiling fans, which use high volume and low speeds (HVLS). These fans are perfect for warehouses whose doors are often opened and closed.
- Prepare your conveyor for heat. Conveyor systems contain several friction points, all of which produce heat. Add this heat to the heat of summer, and you put your conveyor system at risk for malfunction or complete failure. Luckily, it’s easy to protect your conveyor against the heat.
- Watch for signs that the motor is overheating—overheated motors might spark or spew steam.
- Check the system’s bearing seals once or twice a week.
- Examine the reducer oil more frequently than you usually would.
- Keep an eye on conveyor belt—the hotter it is, the more likely the belt is to slip off its track.
- Install high speed doors inside your dock doors. A lot of heat enters the warehouse through your dock door. You can easily remedy this problem with high speed doors, which allow easy access to the warehouse while also keeping hot air out.
- Keep extra respiratory equipment around. Extra dust and pollen particles floating around the warehouse can create breathing issues, so make sure to protect your employees.
- Encourage employees to drink more water. Remind employees that they shouldn’t wait until they’re thirsty to take a sip of water. Warehouse workers should strive to drink about 20 oz. of water per hour during the summer.
Braving Frigid Winter Conditions
Temperatures often reach around 1℃ (33℉) in Delta and -6℃ (21℉) in Edmonton. When snow and wind roll in with the brisk temperatures, you’ll want to be prepared.
- Check your building’s insulation. This is important during the summer, but is even more so during the winter. Examine your building’s insulation for holes, as well as wear and tear. Fix any flaws you see before the cold comes.
- Look for cracks around doors and windows. Cracked panels and hinges allow hot air to escape your warehouse, increasing your heating costs. Fill any cracks or holes you see with caulk and sealant.
- Close doors and windows. Heat retention is imperative to a safe, efficient warehouse during the winter months. Remind employees to keep doors closed as much as possible to prevent heat loss. Also, consider installing vinyl strip doors. As mentioned above, they’ll help keep unwanted air out of your warehouse.
- Maintain air circulation. Just like air circulation is imperative during the summer, it’s also important during the winter. Because warehouses are so large, they often experience uneven heat distribution. In fact, the temperature on the warehouse floor might be 10 degrees cooler than it is on the ceiling. The large HVLS that keep air moving during the summer will also distribute heat throughout your warehouse during the winter.
- Store temperature-sensitive items in the middle of your warehouse. Anything stored on the warehouse floor will likely lose heat through the floor. That’s why you should keep sensitive materials several shelves off the ground. This cuts down on the temperature transfer and helps keep your inventory in great shape.
- Install windows or skylights. Natural light goes a long way during the winter. By installing a few windows or skylights around your warehouse, you’ll rely more on the sun’s energy and less on your furnace for heat.
- Remind employees to dress in layers. It’s common for body parts, especially the hands and fingers, to become numb in the cold. When this happens, your employees will perform less effectively and might even cause an accident. Encourage employees to wear several layers of clothing, as well as thick gloves and socks.
Use these tips to keep your employees, inventory, and equipment safe in all kinds of weather. Be sure to contact a material handling solutions provider in your area to learn more about running your warehouse safely and efficiently.