How Condensation Management Keeps Equipment Safe
Condensation and electricity are a potentially deadly mix because moisture significantly increases the dangers of electric shock. It’s for this reason that it is essential that any condensation forming inside an electrical enclosure is removed. Traditional methods of condensate removal are not particularly effective and if poorly installed may lead to spillage of water around the enclosure.
In addition to the increased risk of electric shock, condensation may cause corrosion and damage electrical equipment. It is vital to choose an enclosure air conditioner supplier that incorporates effective condensate removal methods as a standard feature in their enclosure air conditioners.
Why Condensate Forms
There are two reasons why condensation forms in an electrical enclosure. Firstly, condensation may occur naturally in an enclosure that is installed outdoors or in any location where the nighttime temperature falls below the dew point of the surrounding air. At this temperature the air cannot hold its moisture, and condensation occurs on cool surfaces such as the interior walls of an enclosure and on any equipment inside the enclosure that is below the dew point temperature. When that equipment is energized, there’s a risk of an electrical flashover, leading to equipment failure.
The second source of condensation is the evaporator coil of the enclosure air conditioner. As air passes over this coil, it is cooled and moisture in the air condenses onto the coil.
As mentioned previously, it’s important that condensate is removed from the enclosure. In conventional air conditioners, this water is usually discharged through a drain pipe to a point adjacent to the electrical enclosure. It’s common to find that no further drain is provided, or when installed, the drain pipe is damaged or blocked. Consequently, condensate collects on the floor adjacent to the electrical enclosure. This is unsafe and unsightly.
Fortunately, more effective means of condensate removal are available. Instead of draining, the water can be evaporated by utilizing the heat from the hot gas after it has been compressed. The condensate is fed to a pan at the bottom of the air conditioner. The hot compressor discharge tubing is routed through this pan and evaporates the water. At the same time, this cools the hot gas in the tubing, increasing the efficiency of the air conditioner.
Naturally occurring condensation normally occurs at night or during cool weather when the air conditioner is not running. This can be eliminated by installing an air conditioner equipped with a heater, or a thermostatically controlled panel heater inside the enclosure, and circulating warm air through the enclosure.
Benefits of Condensate Removal
The provision of condensate evaporation with hot refrigeration tubing and the incorporation of panel heating have several tangible benefits:
- No water discharge: No water is discharged from the enclosure. This removes the risk of wet or slippery floors or the need to provide special drainage sumps for disposing of the water. This is safer and reduces the installation cost.
- No moisture forms on electrical equipment: The electrical equipment remains dry at all times, avoiding the risk of equipment damage and eliminating the risk of an electrical short-circuit or flashover due to moisture.
- Prevents corrosion: The electrical enclosure always remains dry and corrosion of the panel, conduit and metal components is avoided.
- Lower costs: Overall costs are lower. The enclosure air conditioner runs more efficiently because the cooling effect of the condensate reduces the back pressure on the compressor. Consequently, the air conditioner’s power consumption is reduced. The electrical enclosure and electrical equipment lasts longer because damaging corrosion and condensation is avoided. There is no need to provide expensive water drainage facilities for the condensate.
Thermal Edge Condensate Evaporation Is Standard
Condensate evaporation is a standard feature on all Thermal Edge enclosure air conditioners and is provided at no extra cost. Other standard energy saving features include the use of a thermal expansion valve instead of a capillary tube and a programmable digital controller with adjustable set point.
If you need more effective condensation management with your enclosure air conditioners, contact our National Sales Team and discover how we can solve your enclosure air conditioning problems.