How to Protect Equipment During a Heat Wave

July 25, 2022

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A major heat wave hit the United States and other parts of the world early in 2022 and there’s no sign the end is in sight. In February, multiple cities on the West Coast experienced record-breaking temperatures and some set an all-time record for their city during meteorological winter.

According to NOAA, a heat wave is a period of unusually hot weather (outside the historic averages for an area) that usually lasts two or more days.

The Midwestern and Southeastern United States saw the mercury soar with over 125 million people under excessive heat warnings. In fact, Chicago’s Midway airport recorded three days of temperatures above 100-degrees and New York residents were urged to stay indoors to avoid dangerous health conditions.

Heat waves occur when trapped air gets warmed like air inside an over. More specifically, high-pressure systems force air downward preventing air near the ground from rising. This causes hot air to just get hotter. But, it's not just America, the heat wave has wilted numerous countries as the searing heat has pushed weather to the extreme all over the world.

Viable Enclosure Cooling Solutions

Fact is the ambient temperature inside many industrial environments cannot magically be adjusted to keep the company’s sensitive electronic equipment cooled during a heat wave. So, when selecting an enclosure cooling system to house a specific piece of equipment, it is important to ensure it is correctly designed to manage the heat load as well as the ambient environment where the equipment enclosure will be located. Listed below are viable enclosure cooling options:

Case Cabinet Fans – Airflow in a computer case generally flows front-to-back or bottom-to-top. Built-in fans enable air to circulate through an equipment cabinet to form an active cooling system by pushing hotter air away from sensitive electronics. Cooler room air enters through vents at the front of the cabinet and a rear exhaust fan removes the hot air.

Air/Air Heat Exchangers – An air-to-air heat exchanger is a closed loop cooling system that is only used with a sealed computer equipment enclosure. They cannot cool below the ambient room temperature, so the air inside an enclosure will be slightly warmer than the outside air. Air/air heat exchangers are relatively quiet and use minimal energy to power the fans.

Enclosure Air Conditioners – When ventilation fails to maintain a reasonable interior temperature, the best solution may be to install an enclosure air conditioner. A computer enclosure A/C works exactly like a window unit. Reliability makes an enclosure air conditioner a prudent choice when overheating could bring an entire production line to a halt.

Vortex Tube Coolers – Many people are unsure as to how vortex tube coolers work. By taking advantage of the venturi effect, sealed units use compressed air (non-electrical) as a low-cost cooling option. Since colder air sinks and hot air rises, heat is exhausted while the computer enclosure is purged with cool air. However, cabinet coolers can be noisy.

Proper heat dissipation is essential to protect sensitive components and ensure equipment efficiency in today’s industrial environment, such as warehouses, factories, distribution centers, processing plants and other facilities with limited temperature control. Plus, keeping sensitive components at proper operating temperatures can increase the lifespan of expensive equipment. Where natural heat convection is inadequate, forced convection via fans, vortex chillers, and air conditioners offer added protection.

Do You Have the Right Equipment Cooling Strategy?

Having the right enclosure cooling strategy can make all the difference when dealing with heat dissipation. For most workplace enclosure cooling applications, a combination of natural air removal and air-circulating fans will do the trick. The computer cabinet fan can push more air into the case than what is pulled out (positive pressure) or pull more air out of the case than is being pushed in (negative pressure). However, in a workplace with moderate ambient temperatures, an air-to-air heat exchanger may be the simplest cooling solution if the built-in fans do not move enough heat away from sensitive components.

When simpler forms of ventilation fail to maintain an enclosure’s interior temperature at a reasonable level,  the best solution will likely be to install an enclosure air conditioner, or cabinet chiller. For applications where noise is not a problem and you already have a source of clean dry compressed air, a vortex tube cooler may be the most cost-effective equipment cooling solution. Cabinet chillers can be used with or without a thermostat control system. However, if cabinets are not properly sealed and interior components are kept at lower than ambient temperatures, condensation can be a problem.

The key to keeping your equipment cool during a heat wave is to remove heat from the enclosure while supplying cool air to the places that need it. At Dust Free PC, we offer a variety of cooling options that dissipate heat to protect the most sensitive equipment. To learn more, contact us today using this website’s convenient form or call 800-775-7611 to speak directly with the pros.

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Kimberly Klark