The success of a pullet flock depends heavily on the precise management of light. Producers utilize covers called light traps and cover any areas within the house that could potentially leak light, such as tunnel fans and inlets, to prevent the introduction of outside light. These covers work well to restrict light; however, they can also restrict air flow. Given that air flow/movement is critical in managing air quality and house temperature, it is key that producers understand how light traps function so they can better control bird light exposure without sacrificing air quality.
How do light traps work?
Based on the principle that light rays travel in a straight line, light traps are constructed with vanes, or short turns. Air is allowed to move through the maze of turns, but light is restricted. The degree of effectiveness of a light trap will depend on:
- Vane spacing
- Curve severity
Fan selection is key to minimizing efficiency losses.
Since a light trap is placed over a fan, it will impact fan efficiency because it increases airflow resistance. How much a light trap impacts fan efficiency is dependent on a number of factors, but primarily it is dependent on how well the fan performs as pressure increases.1 Fans that perform poorly under high pressure can lose up to 50% capacity, which can significantly increase operating costs and cause wear on your fans or even cause motor failure if pushed too much. Therefore, when selecting fans to install in a pullet house, it is vital to consider their ability to perform under high pressure.
Additional impacts to fan performance must also be considered. If evaporative cool cells are installed in the house, they will also provide air flow resistance and increase the amount of work fans must do to move air down the house.2
Overall, light traps will increase the amount of resistance your fans have to work against to move air through a house. Therefore, it is critical that producers select the right tunnel fans that are able to operate well under higher pressure.
Light Traps and Ventilation Efficiency: Other Factors to Consider.
Once the system is installed, consider ongoing variables that can impact light trap and fan efficiency. One of the main challenges many producers face is failure to perform routine equipment maintenance and as a result, it can hinder the efficiency of their equipment. Regularly cleaning fans, tightening belts, greasing bearings and ensuring louvers are operating properly can go a long way in maximizing performance. The same is true for cleaning light traps.
Dust accumulation on equipment can reduce ventilation performance. Shutters and light traps weighed down with dust will increase the static pressure. Fans must overcome that challenge or air flow rates will decrease significantly. Even dust that accumulates on wire dividers can reduce air flow.3
Simplify Light Trap Cleaning with SWASHDUST-REPEL™.
Regularly cleaning can help achieve maximum performance, but light traps can be difficult to clean. SWASHDUST-REPEL™ could simplify the process. SWASHDUST-REPEL™ can be applied to virtually any surface, including light traps, to make dust removal quick and easy with any cleaning method. The product actually alters the way dust sticks to surfaces, making it easier to remove. By reducing dust weight and drag, SWASHDUST-REPEL™ may help ventilation equipment operate more efficiently.
Whether you are preparing to build a new pullet house or are managing the ventilation needs of an existing farm, consider what impact the addition of SWASH™ can make. Learn more today.
1 Tunnel-ventilated pullet house design spreadsheet. Poultry Housing Tips. University of Georgia. Vol 14:1.
2 Dark-out pullet housing design considerations. Auburn University.
3 Poultry dust- what you need to know about impact on bird health. The Pennsylvania State University