How to Heat Your Livestock Barn During the Winter

If you live in a region that regularly gets cold you’re likely supplementing heat for your livestock during the winter months.

However, heating large buildings like shops and livestock barns can get expensive using electricity, propane, or natural gas. Heat lamps with exposed heat sources can also pose a fire danger. Outdoor hydronic wood furnaces are an effective, safe, and efficient option to keep animals warm.


winter heat furnace for livestock

Heating for Livestock Barns

Barns and sheds for livestock have their own unique requirements for heating. The most important thing to consider when heating your barn is the health and safety of your animals. Most large animals can endure colder temperatures but extremely cold arctic air affects parts of northern regions every year that are hard for animals to weather.

If your regional temperature regularly dips below freezing or you have smaller animals like chickens or rabbits, a supplemental heating source is necessary. And, of course, heating barns and sheds are needed for storing feed and other farm supplies that can be temperature sensitive.

But keeping barns warm while keeping costs down can be a real challenge. Rising costs of fuel are cutting significantly into operating costs and monthly budgets.


heating large livestock barn

Heating Your Barn with Outdoor Furnace

More and more North American households are seeing energy savings by using an outdoor furnace. Outdoor biomass furnaces offer flexibility and independence from heating bills. HeatMasterss G-Series uses biomass combustion to heat livestock barns and sheds efficiently, keeping both your animals and you comfortable in cold winter months.

Using a three-stage gasification process, outdoor furnaces convert wood into a synthetic gas that can be used to heat your home, barn, and outbuildings at the same time. Because gasification optimizes the burning of biomass, it turns up to 95% of fuel into heat.

HeatMasterss outdoor furnaces use the latest technology to make it easy to turn biomass like well-seasoned wood into heat for your livestock barn. It can be easily connected to a heating system with heat exchangers or installed into the floor of your barn for radiant heat.


Types of Outdoor Boiler Heat Exchangers

Water is great to drink but it is also extremely useful in other ways, such as carrying and transferring heat. Water does this job better than almost any other fluid. Heat exchangers use water’s ability to move heat from the outdoor furnace to the building where warmth is needed.


Water-to-Air Heat Exchangers

With an outdoor furnace, fuel is burned in the firebox, heating water in the surrounding water jacket that is distributed to all the places you need heat. Using a water-to-air heat exchanger, the heated water is passed through copper tubing where the heat warms tubes and fins. Turn on a blower fan over the exchanger and you have warm air keeping your livestock barn comfortable on cold winter days.


Water-to-Water Heat Exchangers

Water-to-water heat exchangers transfer heat from one liquid to another without mixing the two. Baseboard and wall panel radiators are two ways to use a water-to-water heat exchanger in your barn.  These types of heat exchangers are also good for barn hot water systems, increasing efficiency and making it easy to keep everything clean. Using heated water for water troughs also extends the number of time animals will have access to water when cold weather threatens.


Shed Underfloor Heating

Radiant heat or underfloor heating is becoming a popular option for heating a livestock barn or shed. As the cost of electricity rises, a more economical way to provide your barn with radiant heat is with a hydronic system. In a hydronic system, an outdoor furnace heats the water which is sent through tubing in the sub-floor. Because radiant heating directly heats objects and not the air it has less loss of energy, keeping things warm for longer. This is a good option for buildings that have doors that often stay open.


heat for sheds during the winter

Calculating the Needed BTUs to Heat a Barn

Knowing how much heat you really need depends on a variety of factors. A heat loss calculation should be done for each building you are supplying heat to. With a heat loss calculation, you can determine the needed size of your outdoor furnace, supply piping, and pump. To be precise, these calculations should be done by trained technicians but for rough calculations here are some examples:


Building and Climate Conditions for an Outdoor Furnace

For a more exact heat loss calculation, you need to know some basic information about your building and climate conditions. Here is what you need to know about your building:

Here is what you need to know about your local climate:


 Building Heat Loss Calculations

Infiltration or building air leaks will also determine how many BTUs are needed to keep your barn or outbuilding at the desired temperature. A well-insulated building, for example, would have a vapor barrier in the walls and good seals on the doors and windows. A building like that may exchange about half of its air volume every hour. In a poorly insulated building that number can easily double or triple.

In the end, you would come up with a total heat loss as the sum of all the totals. For example, adding up all of the heat loss calculations below, you would find a shop building that is 40’ x 60’ with an 18’ high ceiling, heat loss would equal 62,009 BTU/hour. See below:

In this case, a HeatMasterss G4000 furnace, which puts out approximately 68,000 BTU per hour would be a great fit.


Other Variables to Consider

This calculation changes dramatically based on how the area is heated. A building that is heated from the floor would keep the air temperature at the ceiling very close to the air temperature at the floor. If the building is heated with a radiator and fan unit heater the figures would change considerably because heat from the floor has less heat loss than heating from the walls, ceiling, and overhead.

For example, if the thermostat was set for 65 F in a livestock barn that has fan heat, the ceiling temperature could actually be anywhere from 75 to 85 F. Combined with the added heat loss from the air turbulence created by fans can increase the overall building heat loss by 30% – 70% over the same building with radiant floor heat.

If you would like to determine your building’s exact heat loss, contact your local HeatMasterss dealer today.


The HeatMasterSS Advantage

We know that time is a commodity that you can’t get back, which is why HeatMasterSS engineers our outdoor furnaces to make your life easier. Our furnaces are made to last, with Titanium-enhanced stainless steel that resists corrosion, can withstand higher continuous temperature, and transfers more heat to save you fuel.  Each of our outdoor furnaces gives you the features, advantages, and benefits you need for your lifestyle and independence. Our dedicated staff is continually researching new and innovative ways to improve and perfect our products.

When you are looking to heat your livestock barn or shed, it’s good to know that your outdoor furnace is backed by an extensive network of local, professional dealers.

Find the right outdoor wood furnace for your heating needs.