• Barn Heating and Ventilation

  • Barn Heating and VentilationHorses are most comfortable in well-ventilated barns with proper air temperature and humidity, and few air contaminants and drafts. Stabled horses are exposed to a higher level of dust in their environment than horses living outdoors. Even if a barn is properly ventilated, there is more dust trapped in an enclosure than in an open environment.  Due to this, proper barn ventilation is extremely crucial to your horse’s respiratory health.

    To improve ventilation in your barn, air movement to circulate the air from the bottom of the stall outward is required. If there’s circulation of air from the stall floor upward, some of the dust will settle and some will be moving into the ventilation path. If there is a window open in that stall, or a proper ventilation gap, cold air will come in the window or opening, go to the ground and circulate out under the stall door or ground level ventilation gap.

    Heating a Horse Barn

    Horses are generally more comfortable–and much healthier–living in an unheated barn or even better, with the option of enjoying outside runs at the rear of their stalls. If you can, build a variety of paddocks or runs out the rear of your stalls so horses can move outside as they see fit, as fresh air is healthy for all living beings.

    Like any large space, heating a barn can have its challenges, and depending on the size and requirements of your stable, it is important to consider what is needed before choosing the appropriate heat source.

    Due to the uniqueness of horse stables and their various purposes, sizes, designs and infrastructure, a heat source that works for your horse’s stable may not necessarily work for your workspace. Before you consider buying a heater for your barn, there are a few factors that must be taken into consideration – most importantly, whether your stable actually requires extra heat and, if so, which areas need the heat versus those which do not.

    Ventilating a Horse Barn

    In basic terms, ventilation is providing fresh air in the barn year-round while allowing stale air to escape. The goal of ventilation is to exchange stale inside air with fresh outdoor air without chilling your horses in the process. Good ventilation begins with good design. Horses typically spend many more years in a barn than other animals, and so require a plentiful supply of clean air for optimum health and fitness.

    Contamination by ammonia fumes from decomposing urine and dung, dust from hay and bedding, bacteria, and mold and fungal spores all can contribute to allergy and respiratory problems in horses and humans. Foals are especially vulnerable to high levels of ammonia and are unfortunately subjected to higher concentrations because they live close to the ground where ammonia tends to layer. Respiratory infections have an opportunity to set in once a foal’s developing immune system has been weakened by ammonia fumes.

    Opening windows and doors can allow air to flow through your horse barn. Air flows best if windows and doors are located on opposite sides of the barn.  Air gaps at the tops and bottoms of your stall walls and stall windows that open inward and upward can provide proper ventilation

    Condensation in a Horse Barn

    Condensation occurs when excessive atmospheric water vapor comes into contact with a cold surface. Post frame building condensation will be particularly common in wintertime in regions where temperatures reach dramatic lows, and also in spring and early summer when ground temperatures are still cool but humidity increases. Post frame building condensation can be a serious problem, as excess moisture can create an uncomfortable environment and even contribute to mold and mildew growth.

    Horses contribute a lot of humidity to the environment simply by breathing. It is best to keep the humidity level in the barn between 50 and 75 percent, with the optimal humidity level at 60 percent. It is better to have the air too dry than too humid inside your barn. You can reduce the humidity in your barn by removing wet bedding from the stalls.

    You can prevent or minimize condensation by:

    • keeping humidity low
    • providing plenty of ventilation
    • installing insulation

    Should You Insulate a Horse Barn?

    Horses, except for ones that are very young or sick, are generally healthier in an unheated barn. If it gets very cold, you can put blankets on your horses and allow fresh air to circulate in the barn. This is healthier for the horses than setting up a heater. If a horse is sick or injured and needs extra warmth, you can set up a radiant heater or heat lamp.

    You might want to heat the tack room if you store medication there, and heating the utility room can keep the water heater and other appliances from freezing.

    Types of Insulation

    Most insulation comes in one of three forms: fiberglass, foam, or cellulose. Make the effort to match your material with your needs and your budget.

    • Rigid Board

    This type of blown insulation is typically installed on the underside of the roofing. This product can usually be installed concurrent with the barn installation or at a later date.  The R-value will vary depending on the thickness of the rigid board. 

    • Fiberglass

    Fiberglass in puffy rolls or batts is commonly applied between the framing in walls and roofs. It is lightweight and often the lowest cost insulation option. Fiberglass insulation comes in rolls, batts, or loose fill, in which case it is blown in. Most builders and construction crews can properly put roll or batt fiberglass insulation in place.

    • Foam

    Spray foam insulation is sprayed on the inside surface of the roof and siding between the studs and rafters. While it can do a great job insulating a barn, foam generally costs more. In addition to its expense, you may have to hire a person independent from your builder to install it.

    •  Cellulose

    This type of blown insulation is typically put in an attic. It is usually made from renewable materials and has a slightly higher R-value per inch than blown-in fiberglass.

    Benefits of Insulation

    Insulation will help maintain a consistent temperature in your barn building. That means it will also help:   

    • Lower Energy Costs

    If you decide to heat or cool your barn, energy bill costs can quickly skyrocket. Boosting the R-value – a measure of your insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it – can result in significant savings.

    • Promote a Healthier Environment – Controlling the humidity, and even the noise, with effective insulation practices helps create an overall healthier dwelling space for both people and animals.

    The Castlebrook Difference

    Castlebrook’s barns have a warm, inviting look which adds to the beauty and value of your property. All Castlebrook barns, round pens and round pen covers and designed and manufactured on site at Castlebrook’s facility. That is why we can provide you almost limitless choice of sizes and styles. Castlebrook can manufacture a barn or round pen and cover to suit your exact needs.

    Castlebrook never misses a ship date. We are so confident in our on-time guarantee that we are willing to guarantee it — in writing! Castlebrook understands how important it is for your project to go as smoothly as possible. This begins with your structure shipping on the date we’ve promised. Castlebrook knows of absolutely no other barn company offering this guarantee. Where other companies disappoint, Castlebrook guarantees to be on time, every time!

    Please contact our professional team today at 1-800-52-BARNS. We gladly accommodate Saturday appointments!