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November 04, 2019 5 min read

So, you have heard about infrared horse stall heaters before but you are not sure how to use them to heat your horse barn or horse stall?  Horse barns present their own unique set of heating requirements, and there is quite a bit to think about before the proper heat source can be selected.

The first question you need to ask yourself is - Do I even need to heat my horse barn or horse stall?

If you are using your barn to keep your horses or mules, the most important factor in any decision you make is the health and safety of your animals.  Horses and mules can handle cold temperatures pretty well and they just may not need any extra heat sources.  As I stated before, most horses and mules do just fine in cold weather, but if you live in a region where the temperature regularly dips below 30-35º F, you may want to consider adding some heaters to use in case an intense cold spurt shows it’s nasty face.

Now it is time to contradict myself since there are exceptions to everything.  Even if you decide your whole barn may not need heated, that does not mean there are not specific areas of the barn that would benefit from having a heater for your horse.  For example, sick, injured, or young animals should always be kept warm. 

The best option to heat your horse barn or horse stall is and infrared horse stall heater

Infrared Horse Stall Heaters

Infrared or radiant heaters are designed to provide "spot" or "local" heat in an area without the expense of bringing the air temperature of a whole building up to the temperature needed.  This is because infrared or radiant energy produces heating effects similar to the sun without the visible light and UV.  It heats only when the invisible rays strike upon a solid object or flesh.  In other words, the heater only heats your animals, the floor and walls, or tack.

In addition, infrared horse stall heaters do not blow heat; therefore, the air inside the barn does not become dry and suffocating.  Because it mimics solar heat, radiant heat is soothing to animals, which may also help combat the seasonal depression in your horses and mules. 

With these heaters you can direct the heat at certain objects or areas, so you can choose exactly what parts of your barn get heated and which do not. This is especially useful when you have newborn foals, sick or injured animals, or when you must wash your animals when it is cold.  This leads me to the four areas of your horse barn that should be heated and my recommendations for heaters for those areas.

Four areas or you horse barn that should be heated

  1. Foaling Station/Stall Heating

Foaling stalls should have the heater lowered, at least temporarily, to about 6 feet above the floor in the foal’s area.  The foals will naturally seek out the heat so do not hang the heater in the center of the stall.  Instead, hang it to one side to allow the horse to move away from the radiant heat pattern. 
For foaling we recommend the Kalglo HS-1215RS (120V 1500W) with built in infinite heat regulator or the Kalglo HS-1215 with separate PR-1218RS wall mounted power regulator. 
  1. Horse Stall/Vet Room Heating

Do not hang the heater in the center of the stall.  Instead, hang it to ones side to allow the horse to move away from the radiant heat pattern. 
One Kalglo HS-1215 (120V 1500W) or one Kalglo HS-2420(240V 2000W) with conventional air temperature sensing thermostat is what is used for supplemental heat for adult horses. 
  1. Wash Stall Heating

The best position for the heater would be lengthwise with the horse, with one end of the heater located above where the horse’s withers would normally be located.  If two heaters are used, they should be hung lengthwise and about 3 feet apart.  The horse will then stand in between with one heater on each side.  
For horse wash stalls we recommend either one Kalglo HS-2420 model heater or two Kalglo HS-1215 model heaters.  For wash stalls a simple on-off switch, locally provided, is all that is needed to turn the heat on when needed. 
  1. Workshop/Tack Room Heating

About 6 watts per square foot will be adequate when overall heating is desired workshops and tack rooms.  The exact amount will depend on insulation and the heat loss calculation.  Suspend heaters about 7 feet off the floor pointing straight down and evenly spaced over the area.  This will help control mold in mildew on your tack and in the room. 

Match appropriate controller to required number of heaters if you are not using individually controlled heaters.  In addition, if the tack room is totally enclosed, a thermostat is advised since the heaters will end up increasing the overall air temperature of the room.

How to heat a barn if I determine that is what is needed

The key to heating a barn is insulation

If you have decided that you must heat your entire bar, the most important thing you can do it insulate it.  Most barns built today are steel which by itself offers no insulation.  Steel will get hot in the summer and cold in the winter.   Not only is this not good for trying to keep your barn heated it will also likely lead to condensation build-up.

Condensation will damage supplies, tack, and even the barn itself.  This happens when water forms on the walls or ceilings and dips onto your horses tack and feed.  It can also cause framing to rot, rust metal siding and tools and cause ice to form on ceilings and walls.  Not to mention condensation is a risk to the health of your animals.  The added moisture in the air contributes to respiratory ailments, stiffness, and bacterial and fungal growth. 

Insulation is the first step to help keep your barn’s indoor temperature warmer and making condensation build-up much less likely in the wintertime.  Spray foam insulation is probably the best choice for steel sided barns, it is better at steading indoor air temperatures.  Make sure the insulation is at least 4 to 6 inches thick for the best results.  Taking the simple precaution of insulating the barn will likely be enough to keep you barn warm enough in areas with moderate winters.

Choosing the right heater for the job

Just as in heating a smaller tack shop or work room, when deciding how many heaters you will need for your barn, we recommend the following:

  • The Kalglo 2000 Watt – KEC-HS-2420 with wall mounted intensity controllers is recommended for this use.
  • About 6 watts per square foot will be adequate when overall heating is desired in your barn.
  • The exact amount will depend on insulation and the heat loss calculation.
  • Suspend heaters about 8 to 9 feet off the floor pointing straight down and evenly spaced over the area.
  • Match appropriate controller to required number of heaters if you are not using individually controlled heaters.
  • A thermostat is advised since the heaters will end up increasing the overall air temperature of the barn.

For more information on the infrared horse stall heaters mentioned in this article please click here.


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