How to Get The Most Out of Your Enclosure Fans
Using enclosure fans to cool electrical components in cabinets is simple and efficient. They are robust, inexpensive and easy to maintain, providing long term protection for vital and costly electrical equipment. Unless environmental factors that preclude the use of fans, such as excessive airborne particles or oils, exist, the ability to use enclosure fans to keep components cool is an economical solution that will reduce operating and maintenance costs.
The amount of heat enclosure fans can remove from a cabinet can be significant. However, in order to get the most out of your enclosure fans some basic requirements must be met. If enclosure fans fail to meet electrical component cooling needs a more robust air conditioning system may be required.
Properly Assess Ambient Temperature and Enclosure Heat Gain
Enclosure fans function by passing cool air over hot electrical components. To do this, there must be a temperature differential between the ambient air and the enclosure air. The larger the temperature differential, the more effective the enclosure fan cooling will be.
To get the most out of enclosure fans, determining ambient temperature extremes at the electrical cabinet location is important. Additionally the amount of enclosure heat gain generated by the electrical equipment in the cabinet should not be excessive.
Once the heat load and the maximum ambient temperature are known, the amount of air-flow required to remove the heat from the cabinet can be determined using an online BTU/H calculator..
The temperature differential is generally a fixed value, so the only way to increase cooling is to increase the air volume flowing through the enclosure. However, in addition to deciding what size fans are needed it is important to know how the equipment inside the cabinet can influence air flow.
Consider Air Volume and Flow Resistance
When equipment placement inside enclosures restricts airflow, the cooling capacity decreases. Therefore it’s best to keep electrical components away from inlet or outlet fans and configure them in such a way to allow for better vertical air flow with the help of natural air convection.
Proper component layout and design will help avoid potential hotspots within the enclosure and help increase the overall cooling efficiency of enclosure fans. For this reason, it is always most beneficial to
consider a cooling solution during the design phase, not after.
Maintain Fans and Air Filters
When using enclosure fans for cooling, air filters should always be used to minimize the amount of dust and debris that can enter the electrical enclosure. It’s important to take into account that each filter can reduce the airflow by about one third. Therefore, to provide sufficient cooling the free-airflow rate (CFM) of the fan should be three times greater than the calculated flow rate.
Air filters must be regularly maintained to avoid additional air flow restriction causing unnecessary enclosure temperature increases. Preventive maintenance of enclosure fans is simply done by washing or changing filters as needed.
Use Enclosure Fan Accessories When Necessary
Available filtered fan packages and accessories can maximize enclosure cooling by reducing exposure to precipitation and dust particles keeping maintenance costs low, saving you money in the long run:
Shroud kits may be fitted over the air inlet and outlet ports to keep out falling water and dust.
Washable replacement filters for environments with high levels of dust offer extended filter life.
Component Cooling With Enclosure Fans
To get the most out of your enclosure fans, it is important to establish the temperature differential, heat load and airflow. The electrical component layout and the use of fan filters play an important role when choosing fan size for effective component cooling.
Thermal Edge is committed to helping show you how to get the most out of your enclosure fans. Your specific situation will be evaluated so you can get the most cost effective solution to suit your cooling needs. For more information about cooling system configuration and placement of electrical components when using enclosure fans, contact the technical experts at Thermal Edge.