Our HVAC system (LONG story) has issues, our slumlord put in a less than adequate condensing unit to save money and as a result the 20 ton air handler and the 5 ton condenser are not cutting it to heat our space. We have about 6,000 sq ft and I am in desparate need of some type of portable, safe, effective heat...so that my customers don't stay away!!! HELP PLEASE
I use a pair of single burner radiant systems in my shop...they are from Mr Heater http://www.mrheater.com/ A company that has many styles and configurations. The "portable" part is where some challenges come in. In my shop I can use them in a few configurations...If I am working in my smaller "finishing" area and can run both in there for a quick heat up and use. Normally I'm working in both parts of my shop so one in each room. This are listed as "outdoor use" only but I use them indoors. My shop in not very air tight and when I run my dust collection system I have a 2300 cfm vent to the out doors, this draws in plenty of fresh air via other sources. one of the big "contractor" forced air units may be more appropriate for your application. http://www.mrheater.com/product.aspx?catid=46&id=32
Are your using a heat pump? A 20 ton air handler is simply way to large for a 5 ton condensing unit. It would work for AC,although not real efficiently but on the heat pump side, simply will not work at all. What type of space is it that you have? There are many methods from portable heating units, radiant heat and portable gas furnaces that can be used. My suggestion is to get a local HVAC professional in to access what is going on and to make suggestions that would work for your place of business. You can find some by doing a contractor search at the top of the home page of this site.
I lease commercial space and we have already been down this road. The 20 plus ton air handler is older than grandma, and the 5 ton condensing unit is new. The owner of the building's father put it in and some how rigged it to work, albeit minimally (for ac during a very hot summer). The agent for the landlord has sent an HVAC company out to look at it, explained what I already knew that the condenser is not compatible with the handler, same story different day, they said what you said, it wont work for heat. need new unit, that's probably 20-30k which I know that the owner will not do. I have limited options, I have put a lot of sweat equity into this place and do not want to have to move when the lease comes up. The owner has no money and will not do what is needed. He is under contractual obligation to provide heat and air...the air part barely passed, but it was air so now we face the heating side. Not 100% sure what exactly the HVAC guys will suggest to him, aside from a new system. They did mention something about installing some type of heating units in the duct system, to act as a supplement to what is there, they said the unit is working as it should just hat it will never work with this air handler. The heat they are speaking of which would be electricity driven, they implied would be the least cost inhibitive for the owner, but could be very expensive for me. GREAT, just what I need. I'm willing to simply use portable heating, we have very mild winters here and it would probably only be needed for a few months at most and probably off and on. I just wanted to know if anyone here had any experience with any particular kind of space hearter that would work on 6,000 sq ft (all open beamed and warehouse like space) it does have ceiling tiles but they are up about 13 feet. I should add that our store is open 12-6pm 6 days a week, the big unit you referenced says it will burn 17 hours on a 100 lb tank. My very preliminary search at our local Lowes showed $130 for a tank, that would cost me almost $40 a day to run...YIKES, I don't know what kind of power a few of the electric units would pull but it would seem more cost effective? I'll really need to do my homework on this and quick.
I have some suggestions for you. Do you have access to a power panel? You can purchase electrical infrared heating that can mount below the ceiling area. It does not heat the air, but objects and people. If you have access to gas they make them that way also. But with the electrical units you can easily place them where the consumers walk so they always feel warm. Not sure if you have seen them or not. Forced warm air simply is wasteful in a large ceiling area such as you have. These heaters heat the floor so the temps are warmer near there then up near the ceiling. Here is just one sample of the many that are available. http://www.heater-store.com/heavy_duty_metal_sheath_infrared_9876_prd1.htm
I would depending upon your lease chase the landlord down to get it fixed correctly. If your loosing revenue as a result of the owner not providing proper heat, I would assume that you have some legal grounds to get them to comply. Not to mention reimbursing you for lost revenue. Check with your attorney to determine if you have any grounds on this. Also remember If the cost was low enough to do something that you could afford as a tenant, You would think your landlord would have assisted you by doing that fix to begin with. No matter what type of heat you choose its all going to be fairly expensive both to install and to use.