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  1. #1

    Trying To Heat The American Legion Building

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    A little background on what we have to work with..

    The local American Legion building has been erected in a number of builds throughout the years. It started with a 30' x 30' building (this is the kitchen area) with windows that fold out to serve food at our annual community picnic. At some point the members added an additional 50' of pole barn to one end of the building (this is storage only). A number of years later they added another 100' long pavilion to the other end of the building and at some point this was enclosed (this is the commons area). We now have a building that is 180' long x 30' wide with ceilings that are 7 1/2 ' high. A few years back the Legion hired a contractor to come in and blow cellulose insulation into the walls and attic spaces of the kitchen and common areas. The current furnaces (2) are ancient down draft units that a member of the community donated when he upgraded the units in his home. A volunteer heating/cooling contractor placed the units along the walls inside the commons area of the building with the duct work running along the floor by main walls where seating should be located (the duct work sticks out 2' from the walls and 8" high).

    My questions are these ..

    We would like to place one or two up draft furnaces in the storage unit mentioned above with flexible duct work running thru the rafters of the attic to heat both the kitchen and commons area... the heated area will be 130' x 30' x 7 1/2' .. (approximately 30,000 cubic feet)

    Because the building is so long and narrow with low ceilings, can one furnace heat the entire place comfortably? If we use one unit, should the contractor that we hire make the duct work diameter get smaller as he gets closer to the far end of the building (I saw this in the open ceiling of a local gas station)? Should we run 2 units with each heating a different end of the building and being controlled by a thermostat on that respective end of the building? Should we run 2 units with duct work side by side the length of the building? What size unit or units should we be trying to locate?

    We have the opinion of a member that is an HVAC contractor, but the rest of the membership has a different opinion.

    Thanks again

  2. #2
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    The kitchen needs to be on its own system. Its has its own heat source(grille, broiler,dish washer, ovens, etc) when its open, and needs heat when it is not.

    That leaves you with just the 100' x 30' add on.

    Although you could use 1 standard/resi furnace to heat it,(if your not installing to code). 2 furnaces would be better.

    Are they going to consider A/C down the road?
    Are they going to have the code required fresh air for the people load?

    Yes, with duct work that long, it needs to be reduced.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    The kitchen needs to be on its own system. Its has its own heat source(grille, broiler,dish washer, ovens, etc) when its open, and needs heat when it is not.

    The kitchen is completely open, no walls whatsoever .. still necessary?

    That leaves you with just the 100' x 30' add on.

    Although you could use 1 standard/resi furnace to heat it,(if your not installing to code). 2 furnaces would be better.

    How many BTU furnace or furnaces?

    Are they going to consider A/C down the road?

    They already have separate A/C units installed (in the commons area)

    Are they going to have the code required fresh air for the people load?

    The furnaces will be located in the storage unit, so there will be lots of fresh air available, is this ok?

    Yes, with duct work that long, it needs to be reduced.
    Please see blue text above ..

  4. #4
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    That will depend on the type and how much exhaust the kitchen has then.

    Can't say what size furnaces for sure over the internet. Too many possibilities.
    Including how much exhaust and make up air the kitchen has.

    The fresh air is for the people.

    So how many people will have a bearing on size also.

    You may be able to get away with a 140,000BTU. Or need 280,000 BTUs.

    What size are the current furnaces. And do they run continuous, or cycle on and off, during the coldest days/nights of the winter.
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  5. #5
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    I would still try and have the kitchen as isolated as possible. You need to have it in a negative pressure.
    When you say they are going to be in a storage room, what do you store in there????? Chemicals, or combustibles???? If you do, you need to build a seperate room in there just for the furnaces. Fire and chemicals don't mix well with flames, even if it's well vented.
    Is there a way to put a packaged unit outside somewhere???? Or locate a rooftop unit somewhere?
    Jim

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    That will depend on the type and how much exhaust the kitchen has then.

    The kitchen exhaust is basically 2 residential over stove units, almost all of the cooking is done outside of the kitchen (catered in or cooked in the storage room) and we usually only use one of the small exhaust fans over the small (closable top) fish fryer or small grill to keep the fish/hamburger smells out.

    Can't say what size furnaces for sure over the internet. Too many possibilities.
    Including how much exhaust and make up air the kitchen has.

    See paragraph above

    The fresh air is for the people.

    The storage room is just for storing extra tables, cooking equipment, utensils, etc. for when the legion cooks in the summer at auctions and the annual picnic, etc. Does the fresh air need to come from the outside rather than the storage room?

    So how many people will have a bearing on size also.

    To the best of my knowledge, the most people that have been in the commons area at one time is 150; generally speaking we average 75 - 100 people at events in the building.

    You may be able to get away with a 140,000BTU. Or need 280,000 BTUs.

    Is there any other information that will make it possible to make a good determination on how many BTU's the furnace will need to be?

    Also, is there a general rule of how many cubic feet per minute of air needs to be coming from each vent and how many vents to put in .. and how often they need to be placed in a building that is 30' wide and 7 1/2' high? Is there a rule when reducing the size of the duct work? Also, with the building being so long, narrow, and low .. should there be multiple returns placed in the ceiling (or between the studs down the walls) the length of the building or just one near the furnace?


    What size are the current furnaces. And do they run continuous, or cycle on and off, during the coldest days/nights of the winter.

    To answer this question quite honestly, other than when we rent the building out for a reception or reunion or whater; we only use this building regularly 1 day per week from 5:00 p.m. to midnight and to the best of my knowledge the units cycle off and on. Since I am not there right now, I really can't say what size the current furnaces are.
    See the blue text above

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tinmarine View Post
    I would still try and have the kitchen as isolated as possible. You need to have it in a negative pressure.

    Good point

    When you say they are going to be in a storage room, what do you store in there????? Chemicals, or combustibles???? If you do, you need to build a seperate room in there just for the furnaces. Fire and chemicals don't mix well with flames, even if it's well vented.

    No chemicals to speak of. Perhaps combustibles .. we have the fryer oil, napkins, paper towels, food trays, etc. stored in there .. but nowhere near where the furnaces will be located


    Is there a way to put a packaged unit outside somewhere????

    This isn't an option, the membership has stated that they have no interest in this

    Or locate a rooftop unit somewhere?

    This could possibly be an option, but I'm not sure how this works exactly so I would have to do some research on it before approaching the building committee with this option.

    If you are referring to a heat pump I would like that idea as we could do away with both the air conditioners and the heaters that are right in the way and it would free up gobs of room in the commons area. Do they make a blower unit that could be placed in the attic or would I still put the regular furnace in the storage room and use the heat exchanger instead of the gas part of the furnace?
    See blue text above
    Last edited by LegionHeat; 10-26-2008 at 05:41 PM.

  8. #8
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    Best way to determine actual size required is a commercial load calc has to be run on the building.

    The fresh air is per person, and yes, it must be fresh, as in outdoor air.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LegionHeat View Post


    This could possibly be an option, but I'm not sure how this works exactly so I would have to do some research on it before approaching the building committee with this option.

    If you are referring to a heat pump I would like that idea as we could do away with both the air conditioners and the heaters that are right in the way and it would free up gobs of room in the commons area. Do they make a blower unit that could be placed in the attic or would I still put the regular furnace in the storage room and use the heat exchanger instead of the gas part of the furnace?
    You can get a horizontal furnace for an attic.

    You can also have a rooftop unit that is a package unit that will work as both heat and A/C, that can be ordered so you can control the amount of fresh air being brought into the building, then you can have an exhaust fan for the kitchen area. If it were me, from what you described, this is PROBABLY the route I would go, given the info you presented. HOWEVER, I haven't seen the building, so I can't say for 100%. They have all kinds of different units that would work, don't constrain yourself to furnaces.
    Jim

  10. #10
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    I usually don't do this, but -

    You should hire an engineer to set this up.

    In our area, any kitchen used for a commercial purpose needs a Class I grease duct and dedicated hood with fire suppression. Doesn't matter if it's actually residential appliances.

    This hood will draw quite a bit of air that needs to be made up and conditioned. Doesn't matter how infrequently you use it.

    The meeting hall also has large fresh air requirements - again - doesn't matter how infrequently you use it. Although operable windows can help you here.

    Unless this is located in a land of no codes, you really should get a local engineering firm there to point you in the right direction. The up-front cost you spend on engineering will pay back with a well set up system that will not violate codes and potentially harm people. Seriously.

    I'm not saying this is definitely the case - but sometimes that HVAC guy you have in the club could do you much more harm than good, trust me.

  11. #11
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    I have to agree with the engineer being brought in on this one. Being a commercial/public building being used by the public your organizations liability is tremendous if something were to go wrong with an installation that was not done with state approved plans and installed by someone with insurance.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by firecontrol View Post
    I have to agree with the engineer being brought in on this one. Being a commercial/public building being used by the public your organizations liability is tremendous if something were to go wrong with an installation that was not done with state approved plans and installed by someone with insurance.
    I completely understand this line of thinking, but I have to say a couple of things. We have been using the current setup for about 30 years .. no fresh air whatsoever, the units (2 updraft air conditioner and 2 downdraft furnaces) are sitting right in the commons area and the duct work runs along the floor 2 feet from the walls on two sides the length of the room (people actually have to take turns walking between them and the tables) the returns are simply grates mounted on the side of the furnace.

    The licensed heating/cooling guy seems to think that it is just fine the way it is currently set up (his deceased father set it up originally) .. even if we install new units. The rest of the membership want the units out of the room and we are trying to get this all done on a donation/volunteer basis as most of our money goes to buying flag poles to display the flags of our fallen soldiers at the cemetary and on the Legion grounds, sending money to support efforts that assist injured veterans and their families, and to activities that support our troops in the middle east.

    I know that everyone here is trying protect the best interest of the organization and their liability, but if we don't do anything at all because we cannot afford to pay an engineer we will still be in violation of codes the same as we have been for 30 years.. with lower efficiency hvac units that end up costing us alot more due to the cost of propane, are very inconveniently located, and are surely more dangerous to the people using the building than would be the case if we upgraded the units and put them out of the commons area.

    Thanks to everybody that has taken the time and consideration to respond to this post .. the first few replies gave me some very valuable information..

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LegionHeat View Post
    I completely understand this line of thinking, but I have to say a couple of things. We have been using the current setup for about 30 years .. no fresh air whatsoever, the units (2 updraft air conditioner and 2 downdraft furnaces) are sitting right in the commons area and the duct work runs along the floor 2 feet from the walls on two sides the length of the room (people actually have to take turns walking between them and the tables) the returns are simply grates mounted on the side of the furnace.

    The licensed heating/cooling guy seems to think that it is just fine the way it is currently set up (his deceased father set it up originally) .. even if we install new units. The rest of the membership want the units out of the room and we are trying to get this all done on a donation/volunteer basis as most of our money goes to buying flag poles to display the flags of our fallen soldiers at the cemetary and on the Legion grounds, sending money to support efforts that assist injured veterans and their families, and to activities that support our troops in the middle east.

    I know that everyone here is trying protect the best interest of the organization and their liability, but if we don't do anything at all because we cannot afford to pay an engineer we will still be in violation of codes the same as we have been for 30 years.. with lower efficiency hvac units that end up costing us alot more due to the cost of propane, are very inconveniently located, and are surely more dangerous to the people using the building than would be the case if we upgraded the units and put them out of the commons area.

    Thanks to everybody that has taken the time and consideration to respond to this post .. the first few replies gave me some very valuable information..
    I'm sure your organization does wonderful things. It does not entitle you to ignore codes, safety, and air quality standards that everyone else has to adhere to.

    It's expensive to do things right sometimes. It's really expensive when the hall is rented out and a fire breaks out in the unprotected kitchen, risking the lives of 150 people. When people get hurt, they sue. And if they don't sue, their insurance company will.

    The licensed HVAC guy's Father put in the system. Go figure, he thinks it's fine!

    And 30 years of wrong doesn't make it right. Even if it were grandfathered in, as soon as you change things, the new installer assumes all liability.

    I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

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