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Polar Vortex and Heating Systems

Monday, February 18, 2019

Building owners and occupants often ask two questions during, and immediately following polar vortex weather events:

  1. Why can't my heating equipment keep my building up to temperature when it is extremely cold outside?
  2. Can we install bigger equipment to make things work better when it's cold?

These questions can be answered by understanding the "99% and 1% Principle of Heating Systems." Heating equipment is required to be designed at or above the lowest outside temperature on approximately 99% of the days in a year. For example, the design temperature for Green Bay, WI is -15 degrees F., as the lowest temperature on approximately 99% of the days in a year is at or above -15 degrees F.

Back to the two questions.

  1. Why can't my heating equipment keep my building up to temperature when it is extremely cold outside?
    1. Answer: Properly sized equipment will have a difficult time keeping the inside of the building up to temperature. This will vary from building-to-building based on several variables, a few examples could be the following:
      1. How much traffic goes through the building, opening and closing exterior doors?
      2. Age of building
      3. Insulation
      4. Windows
         
  2. Can we install bigger equipment to make things work better when it's cold?
    1. Answer: No, oversizing equipment can result in short-cycling. Short-cycling can cause:
      1. Equipment failures and shortened life expectancy
      2. Uncomfortable temperature swings in the facility

Please contact your local Ahern representative if you wish to learn more or have any questions. If you do not have an Ahern representative and would like one, contact us today!

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