Now’s the time for pig producers to check that their ventilation systems are working properly, before the really cold weather sets in, says a professional environmentalist.
“It is vitally important that the fans and air inlets and outlets are working efficiently at minimum ventilation rates so that the pigs have sufficient fresh air but heat is not being wasted,” says Tim Miller, environmental specialist with ARM Buildings.
“I’ve seen heated buildings where the minimum ventilation rate has been set too high and heat is simply being extracted and wasted. Monitoring has shown that this is very costly — amounting, on some units, to thousands of pounds through increased energy bills,” he warned.
A build-up of debris — such as caked-on meal – on fan blades and back-draught shutters, in particular, can reduce their ability to move sufficient air at low speed. Air inlets and outlets, too, can become clogged and fail to open or close properly.
The solution, says Tim, is usually simply cleaning the equipment thoroughly. Then the minimum temperature should be set before walking down the house to check that each fan is working properly at this low setting and that the inlets have the correct apertures. This can take time in a large building, but it may also highlight any mechanical problems which can be dealt with by a specialist, so the effort is well worth while, he advises.