natural gas

What type of heating is best for an industrial warehouse?

This blog will focus only on the most popular types of heating in my market and in the golden horseshoe of Southern Ontario, natural gas is often available in most industrial real estate buildings. With that in mind, natural gas is preferred over electric heat sources due to the cost factor. Considering warehouses are large open spaces, what is the ideal way to heat them?

The two primary types of natural gas heating I find in a warehouse are either forced air or radiant tube. Forced air heaters usually hang close to the ceiling and kind of look like a large metal box with vents that blow hot air into a warehouse. Radiant tubes also typically hang close to the ceiling and are in fact long tubes that radiate heat onto the surfaces around it. The primary difference between the two is that one heats the air and the other heats surfaces, so in warehouse setting which is best?

While the answer may ultimately be a matter of preference or a requirement depending the materials a business handles, radiant is often the preferred heat source in a warehouse setting for a couple reasons:

1) If a grade level door or loading dock is opened hot air would escape very quickly, but, considering a radiant heat tube heats surfaces instead of air, people and contents will be more comfortable. This is a common concern for industrial businesses because opening bay doors is a regular occurrence to run the business. Depending on construction materials surfaces often absorb and reflect heat as well, further adding to indoor comfort even when cold air is coming in.

2) For reasons stated above it is often more cost efficient. A forced air heater will run more and struggle to maintain temperature every time a door is opened, and in a warehouse you can imagine the large cubic volume of air that needs to be re-heated as it regularly escapes. Radiant heaters don’t have that struggle.

Ultimately you as a tenant will need to determine the best type of heat for your business, but for those that get frustrated with large bills to heat a warehouse it might be worth considering radiant heat instead if you’re running forced air. It may not be the solution for everyone but it’s definitely worth exploring. If you’re willing to sign a long term lease, some landlords may consider changing the heat type for the right tenant, this could ultimately be negotiated into the lease.