Considering fans for your construction site, but not sure whether it’s worth the investment? Before you decide on a more expensive or complex solution, it’s worth digging into the significant benefits of the classic high velocity fans on your average construction site.
Why use high velocity fans?
High speed fans offer effective, efficient climate control and ventilation for your construction site. The benefits of these fans may exceed what you expect, once you take a closer look.
The simplest benefit to fans for construction is as a source of cooling air; you don’t need a source of cool air to see benefits from a fan, as even a fan in a hot room can help break up the ‘heat envelope’ of warmer air near the skin and carry away moisture to allow for more effective sweating. Many of these benefits also apply to cooling hot-running machinery and equipment.
Fans for construction also work in conjunction with any cooling solutions you may have in place, helping to move cold air where it’s wanted and remove hot air from workers and equipment. Many sites find they can adjust their thermostats by several degrees without effecting comfort when combining high velocity fans with a traditional cooling solution.
High speed fans can serve you as well in the cold months as they do in the hot months, by circulating warm air quickly and efficiently in areas lacking ductwork. This can be very important in open work sites, as a high velocity fan can transfer warm air to employees in a way that a low-velocity fan could not.
This can allow you to keep your workers at more comfortable—or at least tolerable—temperatures without the expense or frustration of setting up multiple heating units spread throughout the site and moving them around as workers shift positions.
In an enclosed space, they also serve to effectively mix the air in a room, ensuring heat doesn’t rise to the ceiling and provide zero benefit; often, simply pointing a high velocity fan at the ceiling to ensure air mixes can provide exceptional benefits to room comfort and heating efficiency.
One of the key benefits of high speed fans over low-velocity alternatives lay in its viability for ventilation tasks. A high velocity fan can work to move fresh air in and old or contaminated air out at a high speed. This can be extremely important in dusty environments, isolated environments with limited airflow, and a host of other sites featuring unwanted particulates or gases.
Even in more hostile environments where complete ventilation may not be possible, construction fans play a role, as they can keep concentrations of dangerous particulates lower in active work areas, which can in turn save on the wear and tear of safety equipment and gear. In moderately hostile environments, like painting jobs in a confined area, it can mean the difference between quick and effective handling of the job and a much more intensive, slow procedure.
High speed construction fans can even move larger particulates in the right direction for easier cleanup; they may not be able to lift heavy particles and carry them away, but they can help them slide closer to your goal—especially with a little manual assistance from your crew.
Moisture can be a serious problem on certain sites, creating another argument in favor of high speed fans over low-velocity alternatives. It takes very little moisture in a construction site to generate significant damage, from warped wood and plaster to infestations of moisture-seeking pests.
Even in sites where significant moisture damage may not be a risk, keeping a worksite aired out can have numerous benefits for your hard working team, allowing cooling and heating solutions to operate more effectively, keeping sweat or moist clothing from becoming a comfort issue, etc.
In some construction applications, high speed fans to generate air flow may even have direct benefits to accelerating the process of construction, i.e. by generating wind flow to accelerate drying of paints or other compounds.
What to look for
Once you decide high speed fans make sense for your construction site, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for when you make your purchase. You want to decide in advance whether you’re buying for a specific work site, or for the future of your construction endeavors.
Physical stand or configuration
High speed fans come in any number of physical configurations, meaning you’ll want to decide in advance where you want to position fans now and what options you want available for the future. A perfect fan for today’s site may be un-useable in the next site, so think toward the future to make an optimal purchase.
How much air do you need to move on your sites? Would you be better served with a single high-capacity fan moving a huge amount of air, or several smaller fans positioned more strategically?
Fans generally have clearly stated air volume capacities outlined as ‘cubic feet per minute (CFM)’ in their specifications, so make sure you take the time to learn what those volumes mean in practical terms. Seeing the number on the box only helps if you’re trying to specifically cycle the air in a room of a certain size; in most other cases, you’ll need to go by ‘feel’ as much as anything.
High speed fans are typically very efficient, but less so than low-velocity fans. Make sure you balance energy efficiency against efficacy when making your decision; extreme power with low efficiency isn’t worth the investment unless you need that extra power.
Most modern high speed fans should be built to extreme efficiency, however; a small single-room unit may use roughly the same amount of electricity as a light bulb, for example.
It’s worth it to consider convenience when selecting any piece of equipment to be used on a construction site; the less complicated it is to get optimal use out of your fans, the more likely your team is to see full benefits on a day to day basis. For this reason, it can be worthwhile to invest in multiple smaller fans instead of trying to optimally set up a single high-capacity fan to manage airflow in an entire structure.
You also don’t want fans to become a distraction or headache for workers on the job; simple equipment means less time spent on that equipment, fewer mistakes damaging equipment, and less time familiarizing new people with the equipment.
Even with the rise of high-volume low-velocity fans and other high-efficiency technologies in heating and cooling construction sites and other locations, it’s important to leverage high-velocity fans where appropriate. The versatility and simplicity of function of high-velocity fans makes them a strong choice for adding airflow for comfort, climate control, and general ventilation on any construction site.