Whether your barn is brand new or has been around for some time, keeping your ventilation system in good working order can make all the difference for your operation. Air pressure and air flow have to be closely monitored to ensure your barn is the ideal environment for productive, healthy hogs.
At AP, we can design ventilation systems for new barns, update existing systems, or our AP Services group can conduct an audit on whatever system is in your older barn to make sure it is in tip top shape. A lot of times, older barns can benefit the most from an audit. Over time, parts of the ventilation system can go through small changes that can eventually make a big difference in the efficiency of the system - lost pressure, weak seals, etc. So, instead of having to spend money on a whole new system to bring it back to peak efficiency, a ventilation system audit can help producers address the minor changes in their system that can make a big difference.
Here are three primary steps our team takes when checking over a ventilation system.
- Assessing the Controller
The first step in a ventilation audit is to check the controller to see how the ventilation stages are set up. The first stage is minimum ventilation: that is the ventilation that’s going to run no matter what, and just checking to ensure there are no gas pockets and the barn is just clean, quality air.
From there, we’ll let the controller progress through the stages to make sure the fans are ramping up to get the correct air flow across the barn. This means the correct fans are kicking on and off and at each stage. It’s important to also have an idea of what temperatures the producer wants the next stage to be and to make that move consistently - this keeps fans from kicking on and off all the time.
- Checking Inlets
The next step is to evaluate inlet performance and make sure the inlets are accurate. When the controller is telling it to open a certain percentage you want to know that is actually what is happening in the barn. This step also includes checking air inlet into the barn - so soffits, curtains, anywhere like that. It’s important these all be free and clear and that there’s no debris blocking the air flow.
- Verifying Fan Performance
The final thing that we would check is that fans are running at the correct speed and they're performing as they should be.
If your audit is done by AP Services, they will then provide you with a detailed report, containing their notes and recommendations, based on years of experience. They can make suggestions about system performance or air flow, pressure and quality - anything that can help your ventilation move smoothly and can help you create the best possible environment for pigs.