When Is a Top-Mount Enclosure Air Conditioner Necessary?

Air conditioners are typically required when the enclosure’s heat load is over 300 Watts and in extreme ambient temperature conditions. Enclosure air conditioners are capable of working with high solar heat gains, in poorly ventilated areas and even in highly polluted areas. However, there may be constraints that prevent the use of a conventional side-mounted air conditioner. A top-mount air conditioner’s design makes it suitable for various applications. They have been used in applications such as automotive assembly systems, material handling systems and military applications. There are specific scenarios that demand the use of top-mount air conditioners as opposed to side-mounted air conditioners.

Limitation of Space on the Enclosure’s Side

Sometimes, all the sides of an electrical enclosure may either be inaccessible or have severe space constraints. This can make installation and maintenance of the air conditioner more difficult or impossible. Limited space around the sides of an enclosure may restrict the air flow through the condenser coil. These situations call for use of a top-mount air conditioner. The enclosure configuration with a top-mount air conditioner also implies a smaller general footprint.

Equipment Layout

There are situations where the layout of electrical equipment occupies almost the entire area along the sides of the enclosure leaving no clear space for air flow from an air conditioner mounted on the side. In these situations, top-mount air conditioners are the best solution. Not only do they provide the necessary cooling capacity but they also ensure air flow uniformity, eliminating chances of hot spots within the enclosure.

Industrial Floor Applications

In some cases, enclosures with electrical equipment are located on shop floors with service personnel working right beside them. The hot air exhaust from air conditioners and the noise from the compressors may prove to be deterrents to their daily activities. A top-mount air conditioner adds more height between the hot air exhaust and the shop floor. By design, these air conditioners provide a smaller enclosure profile and quieter operation that almost masks their presence on shop floors.

Efficient Condensate Management Requirement

Dripping water might be even more of a problem if the air conditioner is located on the top of the enclosure. Therefore, it is imperative for the top-mount air conditioner to have a very efficient condensate management system. An integrated condensate evaporator is a feature in top-mount air conditioners that you’ll want to ensure the manufacturer provides to prevent the appearance of water.   

If you are looking at top-mount air conditioners for your application, schedule a consultation with the experts at Thermal Edge to get started.