Heating and Ventilation for Horse Barns
If you are building a pole barn that you intend to use as a horse barn, you want to design and construct it in a way that will keep your horses comfortable and healthy. You need to consider whether you should heat the barn, how to insulate it, and how to allow for ventilation and air circulation.
Should a Horse Barn Be Heated?
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. Heating the utility room can keep the water heater and other appliances from freezing. Any area that is heated needs to have insulation and a vapor barrier on all sides to prevent condensation.
How to Reduce Condensation in a Horse Barn
Condensation can cause physical damage to your pole barn and its contents. It can also contribute to respiratory, bacterial, and fungal problems and stiffness in horses. Condensation tends to be more of a problem in areas where the temperature is below 35 degrees for long periods. You can reduce condensation by keeping the humidity low, ventilating your pole barn, and installing insulation.
Horses contribute a lot of humidity to the environment simply by breathing. You should try to keep the humidity level in the barn between 50 and 75 percent. The optimal humidity level is 60 percent. It is better to have the air too dry than too humid. You can reduce the humidity by removing wet bedding from stalls.
Inadequate ventilation can prevent stalls from drying out and can lead to mold and unhealthy air quality. Ammonia fumes from urine and manure, dust from hay and bedding, and mold and fungal spores can led to allergies and respiratory problems in horses, especially foals.
How to Ventilate a Horse Barn
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 and there are few walls between them. Stall windows that open inward and upward can provide ventilation without drafts.
Vents or high windows can be installed on the outer walls of stalls just under the roof. Vents can be placed lower to allow fresh air in, but they can also let in drafts.
Dutch doors that are open on top and closed on the bottom can allow air in. They can also allow a horse to put its head outside to get fresh air.
Grillwork can be installed on the tops of stall walls that do not go all the way to the ceiling. Stall guards (chains or straps) can allow for even more airflow.
Large doors can be installed at the ends of the barn. You can keep birds and insects out with screens.
Air can escape through the roof through a pot vent, a metal dome over a hole in the roof. A cupola has louvers that allow air to circulate. You can also install continuous ridge vents to ventilate your pole barn.
Choosing the Right Pole Barn Builder
CHA Pole Barns can build a horse barn on your farm. We will install the appropriate type of ventilation so your horses can remain healthy and comfortable. Contact us today to learn more about how we can design and build the right pole barn for your farm.
When you are ready contact CHA Pole Barns to talk about your pole barn project.