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Prepare your Barns for Winter

Nov 12, 2020

As the cold winds begin to blow, it’s time to make sure you are maintaining the proper environment in swine barns for keeping pigs healthy and promoting productivity.  Here are five tips to getting barn heaters ready for winter.

  1. Clean up. Blow dust and debris out of heaters with compressed air or a leaf blower tool. This will help promote efficient as well as safe operation of the units.
  2. Check for hazards. Make sure the ignitor, sail switch and flame sensor are not covered with carbon or dust. Carbon can build up as a byproduct of the burner. 
  3. Check function. Move the flame probe ground wire to the burner to ensure the heater functions properly.
  4. Check communication. Activate the heater from the room ventilation controller, which is important to make certain that the controller is communicating correctly.
  5. Make a test run. Watch the heater with the service door open to confirm the proper start-up sequence: The fan motor starts and sail switch engages; the ignitor starts and glows red hot; the flame ignites when the gas valve opens; and the ignitor turns off.

Keeping your barns tight

It’s essential for you to keep mechanically ventilated barns and curtain barns "tight." Make sure a slight vacuum or static pressure exists in the barn when only the continuous running exhaust fans are on. A general target for static pressure is 0.05 inches of water when measured with a manometer.

Every pig barn (or room) needs a manometer to monitor static pressure in the barn. The very minimum static pressure is 0.02 inches of water when your minimum or continuous running fan is operating. If you can’t maintain a slight vacuum or static pressure in your barn, you won’t be able to control the air exchange and quality in the barn.

 Achieving static pressure in curtain barns
 Achieving static pressure in mechanically ventilated barns


Checking inlets 

After making your barn tight, make sure air enters the barn or room where it’s designed to, usually through ceiling inlets. To allow air to enter the room through the gravity or actuator-controlled inlets, the inlets need to:
  • Be operating properly
  • Not be stuck
  • Not have excessive dirt
If the inlets take air from the attic, you must have sufficient attic openings to "feed" air to the ceiling inlets. Typically, these attic openings are eave inlets. Most buildings will have eave inlets on both sides of a mechanically ventilated building. During winter, we recommend that you leave only one side (south side if barns runs east and west) open. This will allow enough inlet opening to feed the barn's winter air exchange and prevent snow "blow through" in the attic during snow storms.

You may use other attic openings such as gale end louvers or ridge vents to supply air for the ceiling inlets. You should make sure there’s more attic opening (we recommend twice the area) than ceiling inlet area.

The same guidelines for supplying inlet air apply to a tempered or headed hallway in farrowing or nursery barns.

Just a few tips to help your barn stay warm and save a few dollars for yourself while making the site very efficient . 

Source: Automated Production, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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