With the recent spike in propane prices – Iowa State University has suggested some propane conservation tips for pork producers. Professor Jay Harmon says the first idea for saving heating fuel in hog buildings is often adding insulation. But Harmon says ventilation management should come first – as more than 80-percent of the heat loss in a swine building is due to improper ventilation. So Harmon’s first tip is finding the proper ventilation rate. He says the goal during colder months is controlling moisture and ammonia as much as possible. The second tip is adjusting the temperature. Harmon says the proper temperature is important for energy efficiency. He says to observe the pigs to determine their comfort level – adjusting the temperature so pigs sleep side by side – not in a pile. According to Harmon – just a few degrees difference can save a substantial amount of propane.
Harmon’s third tip is to adjust the heater. He says the controller should be adjusted so minimum ventilation fan speed never increases while the heater is cycling. The next tip is adjusting the ventilation when using brooders. Harmon suggests setting the room setpoint just above the brooder temperature and having the heater turn off at a lower temperature. Harmon’s final tip is to seal leaks.