Winter vs. Summer Mappings

Weather acclimation is something we all experience as humans. According to research conducted by the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC), it takes the average healthy person two weeks to acclimate to temperature. Once acclimation occurs, outdoor temperatures are less bothersome to the body. That’s why, after a few weeks of bitter cold, a day in the 40s can feel like a great time, for some, to wear shorts.

Acclimation occurs regardless of how extreme the seasons are. In Minneapolis, for example, the weather could swing from the average January low of 7°F to the Average July high of 84°F. San Francisco experiences much less of a variance in temperature. The warmest month of September sees an average high of 70°F with an average low of 46°F in January. The body will work to acclimate to all temperatures

Unfortunately, acclimation doesn’t occur for goods that are sold by companies around the world. Extended exposure to a high or low temperature won’t suddenly make food or pharmaceuticals resistant to it. Even though these goods are rarely stored outdoors, temperatures inside will always be impacted by the temperature outside. Even if your office, warehouse, or lab is temperature controlled, the HVAC units will be forced to work differently. What may have once been a cooling air surrounding your products to maintain an even environment, could now be replaced by blasts of heat from a furnace.

Products and goods stored in these areas could be negatively impacted to the point that your company could be unknowingly distributing the spoiled product or failing quality audits. That’s why it’s important to conduct mapping studies that cover the most extreme seasons. The data collected can help you understand the variances in your environment and assist in setting your HVAC system for optimal storage conditions and ensure distributed products have been in kept in compliant conditions.  

There are three things we consider when determining critical mapping points for studies we conduct, two of which can create seasonal variance.

  • Extreme Locations
  • Additional Locations
  • Spacing

For now, let’s consider extreme and additional locations that could be impacted based on the season.

Extreme Locations:

Large open spaces present a considerable challenge when working to maintain consistent environmental conditions. Within any given structure you will often find a number of problem spots that could dramatically impact the temperature or humidity of your warehouse. These points could include:

  • HVAC vents, furnaces, or even fans
    • Any of these factors could cause surrounding conditions to shift comparative to the rest of the facility and their varying use each season can cause seasonal variance
  • Windows and doors
    • Any point that is left open or is poorly insulated from the outside will affect temperature conditions whether it’s hot or cold air that’s leaking in
  • Areas near exterior walls
    • These may be impacted in response to temperatures outside, especially if not insulated properly
  • High Points or near the ceiling
    • Stratification of the air due to the fact that warmer air rises, an important consideration when you may have to run heating/cooling or extra fans to maintain the proper environmental conditions
    • Areas under skylights may experience larger temperature fluctuations dependent on the weather outside
  • Compressed racking, shelving and pallet storage areas
    • These may create “dead spots” by obstructing air circulation which can cause either “hot” or “cold” spots in storage areas

Additional Locations:

In addition to extreme spots, logger placement is also helpful  for the following locations:

  • Outside your facility
    • This gives you a baseline to compare the internal temperature to that of the outdoors
  • High, mid and low locations in the general storage area
    • Temperature isn’t a 2D variable. It’s a three dimensional one, monitoring all 3 planes at high, mid, and low locations gives you a greater understanding of variances and whether stratification is an issue in your space.

Any unknown that surrounds any of these variables could lead to your company being non-compliant, and that puts everything you do at risk. That's why, when every point matters, you should always trust the compliance experts.