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What is the Best Way to Cool Your Dry Cleaning Facility?

Dry Cleaning Chillers , Uncategorized 🕔July 1, 2019

Best Cooling for Dry CleaningI just returned from the Clean Show in New Orleans and read the June 2019 American Dry Cleaner Magazine that featured an article about giving employees better working conditions including keeping them cool. So what is the best way to cool your dry cleaning facility? Spot cooling is often the best and most cost effective method for cooling your dry cleaning facility, but you can also use fans, evaporative coolers  and air-conditioning units and the best way will be determined by the size of your facility, your geographic location, the number of work stations and your budget.

Size of Your Facility

The size of your facility will help to determine which method to choose. The larger a facility, typically the fewer cost effective options. The smaller your dry cleaning facility, more cooling options may be in your reach.

Your Budget

Your budget is the single most important factor in determining what and how to go about cooling your dry cleaning plant. The larger the budget, the more ways we can keep your employees and customers cool. The smaller the budget, the fewer ways to keep things cool.

OK. So far no rocket science has been presented, just a couple of common sense statements. Let’s dig a little deeper for the available cooling options. Budget and facility size will factor in as we go.

Exhaust Fans

The first and most important thing you can do to cool your facility is to remove the heat from your building. If you are an owner operator, manager or have ever worked in a dry cleaning facility, you know that a lot of heat and steam is produced. We need to get this heat out of the building and having a good exhaust system is the most cost-effective method and step one into cooling your facility.

Fans

Locating fans at work areas is another cost-effective and low cost way to help cool employees. Although fans cost less than some other cooling methods, they are only as effective as the temperature of the air that is moving. Blowing 120F degree air on employees probably won’t give much relief nor will it improve productivity on hot summer days.


Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers cool the air by blowing air across a moist media. The water drizzles down the media inside an air handler and the air blows through it, causing evaporation. The evaporation of water vapors helps to cool the air. Think of how cold it feels when alcohol on your skin evaporates or how cool you feel after getting out of the shower or a swimming pool. Evaporative coolers are used in all climates, but are most efficient on dry days. They work great west of the Mississippi River where the air generally is dry. They can also help to cool your plant or employees in the eastern United States, just not as efficiently as in the western states.

Large Central Evaporative Coolers

Central Evaporative Coolers are large air handlers with a water source that typically sit on the roof or can sit on the ground or a stand outside the building. They take in fresh air and discharge a cool, moist air. They can be free standing or ducted. In general terms for a dry cleaning facility, we calculate cubic feet of the facility and size the evaporative coolers accordingly.

Portable Evaporative Coolers

Portable Evaporative Coolers blow moist air directly on employees. They typically stand about 3 ft tall and are large cubes with a hose connection and a power source (plug-in). They mainly run on 120V power and are on wheels so they can be moved around. Like the larger version above, the evaporation cools down the air and the employee (and, also cools the worker when the moist air evaporates off their skin). Again, this method works great in dry locations and gives some relief in more humid locations. American Chillers uses them for our workers in our South Carolina manufacturing facility.

Spot Cooling (a Great Option for Most Cleaners)

Spot cooling is a cost effective method to cool employees at their workstations. Because spot cooling provides chilled air at only the workstations and not the entire plant, it is a cost-effective cooling solution VS having to cool (air-condition) the entire facility. Spot cooling utilizes refrigeration – not just evaporation so it is effective even in humid environments.

How Spot Cooling Works

In dry cleaning plants, we use chilled glycol (from a chiller) to cool a coil in a large air-handler. The chilled air is then ducted over and down in a tubular type duct to blow directly on employees at each workstation.

Why Spot Cooling is Cost Effective

It is cost effective because on chiller and air handler can cool many work stations plus the retail area. On a larger or more spread out plant, multiple air handlers can be used with one chilled water source (chiller).

The conditioned air is typically much colder than evaporative coolers and are not dependent upon humidity or dryness in the air to be effective. The colder air gives more relief to employees, boosting productivity. If the intake air is coming from within the facility, it can also help remove humidity from the air.

Air-Conditioning

If your budget allows you to cool the entire plant, then air-conditioning the entire plant is the most effective and provides the most comfortable work environment for employees. Because so much heat and steam are being added to the air, air-conditioning a dry cleaning plant can require a very large upfront capital investment and a very large monthly investment (electricity). For most dry cleaners, this is not an option.

Employee Productivity

Dry cleaning facilities are extremely hot, especially in warm climates and summer months. Working in such conditions takes a toll on even the best employees. Being able to provide some relief from this heat will not only help you retain employees but will also help to boost productivity. Find the cooling solution above that works with you budget and site conditions.

For more information about spot cooling or evaporative cooling options for your dry cleaning plant, please contact your American Chiller Distributor or American Chillers Sales.