Heat Mitigation Strategies to Keep Workers Cool and Productive

Portable coolers can increase workers’ safety and also help them work more efficiently.

Whether workers are laboring indoors in a warehouse or factory or outdoors on a construction site, working in excessive heat is uncomfortable and even dangerous. Heat stress can lead to serious health issues, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Even heat-related effects such as sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses and dizziness may create unsafe conditions. To keep workers cooler when temperatures spike, you need heat mitigation strategies at the ready.

Providing relief from heat isn’t just about safety. Workers aren’t as effective in hot environments. Once the mercury rises above 77°F, productivity decreases at a rate of 2% per every 1.8°F increase. Exposure to extreme heat can cause irritability, lethargy, impaired judgment and poor concentration. It can also slow reaction time.

Heat mitigation is essential, but cooling an entire workspace isn’t always feasible. Warehouses, outdoor construction sites and tented event spaces typically don’t allow for total cooling. And if heat is a temporary problem, you may not want to invest in a permanent fix. Temporary cooling units are the logical solution.

Evaluate your heat mitigation needs

The right temporary cooling rental depends on a number of factors. How broad an area do you want to cool? Does the space have good airflow? Do you need a small portable cooler, or is floorspace not an issue? Is the climate dry or humid? Can the area tolerate a little moisture?

Once you have a handle on your portable cooling needs, explore your options to make the best choice. All of the cooling solutions below are mobile, so you have flexibility to shift relief wherever you need it.

Spot coolers: Portable air conditioners on wheels

Spot coolers, such as MovinCool, are great for cooling a small indoor area and for cooling a small area within a large space. They come in different sizes to fit your needs.

With spot cooling, employees on an assembly line, for example, get the benefit of cold air blowing their way when a spot cooler is positioned nearby. Multiple air ducts can be attached to direct air where it’s needed most.

Spot coolers usually plug into a standard wall outlet and roll on casters, making them easy to move around. The compressor, condenser and evaporator are combined in a self-contained unit. In confined spaces, warm air is vented away, usually outside or above a drop ceiling.

In the cooling process, spot coolers remove moisture from the air. That moisture is collected in a condensate tank which can be emptied manually or automatically by a pump connected to a drain.

Evaporative coolers: Cooling the air through evaporation

Portable evaporative coolers require just air and water to work, no refrigerant gasses. When air is blown through water, it causes evaporation, which has a cooling effect. If you’ve ever noticed how much cooler it is when air blows on wet skin vs. dry skin, you’ve experienced the power of evaporative cooling.

With this kind of cooling fan, you can rely on the unit’s water tank or attach the unit to a water source. Like spot coolers, evaporative coolers plug into standard wall outlets and sit on casters so they can be moved to different locations as needed. Generally, evaporative coolers need fresh air to work their best, so they are ideal for outdoor areas or indoor spaces with plenty of airflow.

Not all evaporative coolers are the same. The differences in their size and evaporative cooling methods make certain evaporative coolers better suited to particular environments. Below are some of the main options.

Portacool coolers: Ideal for warehouse cooling

Perfect for warehouse cooling, Portacool cooling fans are traditional evaporative coolers. Water cascades down a cooling pad (evaporative media) that looks like a honeycomb. When warm air is pulled through the pad, the air is cooled through the evaporation process. That cool air is pushed into the environment by a fan.

Portacool cooling fans introduce some humidity to the air, so they are a good choice in dry climates. They are bulky (about the size of a desk) and produce a large swath of air, so they’re capable of cooling larger areas.

Power Breezer cooler: Ideal for outdoor construction sites

A more compact portable cooling fan, the Power Breezer makes use of a different evaporative cooling method: atomization. It creates tiny water droplets that are evaporated into the air, with no need for a cooling pad. The fan blows the cool air out.

In hot outdoor environments such as a construction site, you need a lot of air movement to feel relief. The Power Breezer’s high-powered fan does the job, providing a cooling zone for anyone in need of a break from the heat. The fan’s head can oscillate to circulate the cooled air or stay locked in one direction to push the air toward a specific spot. It has an adjustable misting option that can be turned on in areas that can handle a little moisture.

Vector coolers: Small, sleek and good for dry climates

Like Power Breezers, Vector coolers work by atomizing water. That’s especially good for dry climates where a little added humidity is a relief.

Sleek and quiet, Vector coolers have a small footprint, standing 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They can be placed against a wall or tucked in a corner. Good for indoor and outdoor use, they’re a smart alternative to spot coolers when there’s nowhere to vent hot air. The Vector fan directs air where you need it and can oscillate if you want to cool air across a broader area.

When temperatures rise, indoors or out, remember that you have ways to keep your business running smoothly without putting your workers at risk. A temporary cooling rental may help keep workers safe, healthy and productive.

Visit your local United Rentals branch or contact the Climate Solutions Group to find the right temporary cooling rental for your cooling needs.

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