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The cold season can seem like a never-ending battle to keep your facility, products, and employees warm. The most obvious solution to cold weather is a functioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. However, if your commercial warehouse has large commercial doors, you could be losing energy and heat if they're not properly prepared for winter.
Whether you're in the initial stages of setting up your commercial warehouse or you've been fully operational for a while, you can take steps to get your doors ready for winter.
Commercial doors aren't all built alike, and have varying levels of weather protection. After all, facilities located in warmer climates will have different needs than warehouses in areas that experience freezing and below freezing temperatures. Here's what to look for when determining whether your door is winter-ready.
By design, almost all facilities have large openings where loading docks are housed, which naturally cause outside air to move in and out of the indoor space. As a result, significant amounts of heat are lost every time a facility opens the door during cold weather. This is called air incursion.
To combat air incursion, having a commercial door that opens at a speed of up to 100 inches per second can help minimize the time your facility is exposed to external elements. This keeps both your employees and your merchandise from being exposed to extreme temperatures. While some merchandise can handle the exposure, your employees will be grateful for the protection.
Having a fast-working loading dock door is only as useful as the seals that work in conjunction with it when the door is closed. Essentially, doors with high operational speeds don't trap heat inside if they don't have airtight seals that continue to keep cool air out when they're shut.
This is where you can see substantial improvements regarding your energy bills, as your door will likely be closed most of the time. Consider all the downtime in between loading and unloading where your door is closed. To save money and decrease energy costs, you must ensure as little air as possible is getting through when your doors are at rest.
Further, proper sealant helps ensure your HVAC system doesn't overwork itself. When warm indoor air is continually escaping through cracks and crevices in your doors, your HVAC will have to work overtime to keep your indoor work areas at your desired temperature. In addition to preventing long-term issues with your HVAC system, airtight seals prevent frost and ice build-up, which can cause damage to your commercial door.
By installing quality doors throughout your facility, you can make sure your commercial warehouse is ready for the colder months. While commercial doors are all built with the same function in mind, they come with varying performance standards. As stated previously, some doors are better for facilities operating in cooler temperatures, as they have insulation and other features that aim to keep your indoor areas warm.
When you're looking for a protective commercial warehouse door, you should search for doors with high R-values, which indicate their insulating abilities. Additionally, a solid commercial door will provide noise reduction capabilities, a low environmental impact, and fewer HVAC operating costs. The proper door for cold weather must go above and beyond.
Aside from ensuring you have the right door for the winter months, it's important to inspect your doors to identify any necessary maintenance to prepare for the winter months. Here are some ways to check if your door is ready for the cold weather:
Give generally unused doors a test run to ensure they still work as intended. Catching any glaring functionality issues will prevent you from needing maintenance during the colder months of the year. In particular, the motor is a common culprit for cold-related issues, so you'll want to check it for any issues.
While you're inspecting the functionality of your doors, it's a good time to check the tracks and clearings for any obstructions that would prevent the door from completing a full cycle of opening and closing. Something as little as a woodchip from a broken pallet can cause your door to not function properly and leave small openings for heat and energy to escape from your facility.
After you check the tracks and clearings, inspect the bottom and sides of damaged or missing seals. When it comes to sealing your door, no gap is too small to cover, so be sure that every exposed inch is properly sealed with the appropriate materials — such as the Energy Efficient Air Filtration Sealing Package from Cookson Doors, which meets ASHRAE® 90.11 and the IECC® 2012 Air Infiltration requirements.
The last — and perhaps most important — step in preparing your facility's commercial doors is to check your doors for damage. Any punctures or other damage to a door's surface or insulation could reduce its effectiveness at maintaining heat inside your commercial warehouse. Even what seems like the smallest crack can be an issue when it comes to indoor heat retention.
Typically, damage to doors can come from anything from forklift operation to simple negligence, so it's essential to check your doors regularly along as you conduct routine maintenance throughout the facility to ensure your doors are functioning properly.
For insulated door installation or dealer services, Cookson can help you prepare your commercial doors for the winter months. Call us today at 800.294.4358 or contact us online for more information on how we can help you save money and energy at your facility.