What Size of Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Warehouse

Comprehensive Guide

5 Jun
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Having the proper amount of cool airflow throughout your warehouse is imperative for many reasons. Not only to keep workers, event attendees, and personnel safe but also to provide adequate working conditions and keep materials at the proper temperature.

When you are looking to cool your warehouse, it can be a challenge to understand the exact dimensions and power you need. As you are wondering what size of air conditioner do I need for my warehouse, there are several things to consider, as we highlight in this article.

Square Footage

The first bit of information you need when planning for air conditioner size is the total square footage of the space you want to cool. If your warehouse is all one open area, you must account for it all. However, if you want to utilize an air conditioner for just a closed-off section, you can measure the square footage of that space.

Knowing the total square footage will help you to narrow down the various units to ones that only serve the capacity you need.

Determine the Insulation Level

Another critical aspect to remember when looking into air conditioning for your warehouse is the amount of insulation in place. If your space is well insulated, the cool air will stay trapped for more extended periods. Therefore, your air conditioner will operate more efficiently.

However, if the space in your warehouse where you hope to add air conditioning is not insulated, the probability of cool air escaping is more prevalent. In this event, getting a higher-powered unit is often recommended to accommodate the absence of insulation and keep the building at the same coolness level as you will have in an insulated establishment.

Identify Sources of Heat

When it comes to warehouses, there are often pieces of equipment that give off heat as they are in operation. In homes, this can happen with computers or appliances. Typically warehouses will have industrial machines and lighting, which increases the heat capacity significantly.

As you bring air conditioning into the mix, you must realize that as the unit pumps out cold air, it will have to counteract the heat elements. Your unit will struggle to operate at optimal comfort levels if you don’t have the right power level. In most situations like this, you will want to upgrade to a higher level to accommodate the heat sources.

Calculate Standard Occupancy

It’s something that everyone will notice. That is when you can quickly feel the difference in temperature as more individuals join a room. Even if the area felt chilly beforehand, the addition of more people increases the overall heat levels. Because of this, you will want to consider the occupancy amount as another heat source your air conditioner has to work against.

You want to avoid calculating the necessary power level on the basis of a warehouse that is shut down, with no working machines or humans. While an air conditioner can effectively cool that space in those conditions, the situation will drastically change once individuals enter the building and start up the necessary machines and lighting fixtures.

When that happens, your air conditioner will struggle to keep up. As a result, your once cool building will feel like it is void of cool air when in fact, it is on and operating.

In order to account for an accurate power level, you will want to envision the warehouse on a typical day. You should factor in the number of individuals, what machines are in use, which lighting sources are functioning, and whether or not the area is insulated. When you consider all of those elements, in addition to the square footage, you can get a more accurate view of what’s needed.

Finding the Best Fit

The power of an air conditioner is measured in the British Thermal Unit (BTU). Calculated on an hourly basis, you will see different unit models labeled in a format such as 20,000 BTUs.

When you are looking for the best fit, you will want to calculate the number of BTUs you need. As you get into the nuances of utilizing formulas to estimate the correct power level, you will find a value attributed to each type of heat source.

As an example, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that for every square foot of space, you should factor 20 BTUs. However, if your space is poorly insulated, you need to multiply by a factor of .5. If well insulated, you can attribute a factor of 1.

Furthermore, each human occupancy will be assigned a factor (normally +600 BTUs for every individual after two) and each machine or heat source (average 4,000 BTUs). There are considerations in place for shaded (-10%) and unshaded areas (+10%) and if there is a kitchen in the space (4,000 BTUs).

A standard equation to account for the appropriate level of BTUs can be done as follows:

Square Footage x 20 = Base BTUs

Base BTUs x (Insulation Factor) + (Heat Sources) + (Occupancy) = Required BTUs

Once you have your final number, you can research which air conditioner units reside at the required level. A good rule of thumb is to upgrade to the next highest BTU level if you can to accommodate any future changes in the space, including new heat sources or additional people.

Final Thoughts

Many people worry that factoring all the different elements of a space into a BTU calculation for a warehouse air conditioner can be burdensome. While it can scare away those who aren’t comfortable with math, the equation and the components you need to consider are quite simple to manage.

Therefore, if you find yourself wondering: “What size of air conditioner do I need for my warehouse?” you don’t have to worry about purchasing or renting the wrong size. No matter what the circumstances, an event you are hosting, or the need to provide a cooler work environment for your staff, this article will help steer you in the right direction.

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