How to Cool an Electrical panel?
High temperatures are often the main cause of failure or malfunction in electrical enclosures. And even if the equipment doesn’t actually malfunction, their lifespan is shortened. During the hot summer days and cold winter winds, enclosure-housed electrical devices require proper temperature control measures.
Generally, electrical enclosures should be properly cooled since the internal components constantly emit heat. Note that overheating inside the enclosure can greatly curtail the service life of the devices (such as drives, HMIs, and PLCs) and cause breakdowns or system failure. Whether you’re a contractor, a panel builder, an OEM or a design engineer, you should ensure that the electrical enclosures do not overheat due to the high temperatures in the summer.
To control the temperature of any electrical enclosure, you need to consider either active cooling technologies or passive cooling methods.
Methods of Cooling an Electrical control panel
The guiding principle of convention in any electrical installation is simple. Since heat moves from a high to a low-temperature material, electrical enclosures should be designed with well positioned vents – which allow the heated air to escape so as to be replaced with cooler air.
While this arrangement may work to keep an electrical installation cool, it is only effective for enclosures that are positioned in such a way that the outside air remains constantly cooler than the air within the enclosure. You may also need to install vent air filters to prevent dirt or dust from reaching the internal components of your electrical enclosure.
Forced Convection into Cabinet
If the above method doesn’t get the job done, a cabinet cooler can be used to cool electrical control panels. Based on the same guiding principle above, transferring air much faster across the enclosure increases the cooling effect. Air filters can still be used to prevent dirt or dust from contaminating the internal components, but they do not prevent contamination caused by extreme humidity fluctuations. If you have a component in your electrical panel that is running warmer than the other components you should consider direct spot cooling with a vortex tube to delivery cold air directly on the item that is creating the heat source. This is a great way to solve the issue at the source not just cooling the entire enclosure.
Environmental Considerations for Cooling enclosures
If you want to place your electrical panel in a warm temperature control room, then you need to consider humidity and temperature in order to maintain the proper functioning of the internal components.
Moreover, once the panel is turned on, the internal components will also start producing heat. In order to maintain them in a proper working condition, you may also want to keep them cool.
As an example, picture your home in the hot summer months. You always keep your cooling fan running in order to stay comfortable.
In contrast, in a cold home without any source of heat and a lot of humidity around, you need to keep the internal components dry and free of moisture in order to keep them warm and running effectively. Just the same way you heat your house to keep yourself warm and comfortable during the colder days.
A thermostat is used alongside a cooling or heating device to help control temperature and ensure a safe and effective working condition inside the enclosure while protecting the enclosure against environmental factors such as frost, humidity and condensation.
License: Creative Commons Attribution: Shrikanthv – Wikimedia Commons