Selecting And Specifying Portable Cooling

By Roger Harle

T below are a few standard guidelines for specifying and using portable cooling units to meet up various requirements and achieve the required results. Circumstances that want a portable cooling solution may differ widely. Some typical applications include:

  • Emergency reaction to address a preexisting HVAC problem, in schools or mission-critical buildings particularly, like hospitals and data centers
  • Cooling temporary structures and tents found in events
  • Scheduled maintenance outages for HVAC systems
  • Supplemental cooling for server rooms, data centers, or manufacturing facilities which have high internal heat loads
  • Process cooling applications within industrial and manufacturing facilities that want specific temperatures to safeguard product inventories and production equipment
  • Supplemental cooling for labs or hospital equipment rooms housing MRI or similar machines
  • heat and

  • Safety mitigation during construction, warehousing, or in manufacturing industries

For all those less acquainted with temporary portable cooling solutions, you can find short- and long-term rental options. Accommodations partner might help you determine the correct solutions for the specific application and offer instructions on proper equipment usage.

Temporary portable cooling solutions work very well for applications in harsh environments because the rental provider manages all maintenance and repairs, which lifts the responsibility from the user. Equipment rental is known as an operating expense, when compared to a capital expenditure rather, which is attractive to many.


You can find three main types of portable cooling units: air-cooled ac units, water-cooled ac units, and evaporative cooling fans. The precise requirements of the working job will determine which kind of cooling solution will continue to work best for the application form.

Air-cooled ac units exhaust the heat outside the space right into a designated area, like a drop ceiling or by way of a window.

While air-cooled ac units are perfect for most applications, you can find instances in which a water-cooled air conditioner is necessary. Air-cooled units can be purchased in sizes which range from one-ton commercial indoor units to large 12- and 25-ton ac units for indoor and outdoor use. The air-cooled ac units exhaust the heat outside the space right into a designated area, like a drop ceiling or by way of a window. Water-cooled options can be purchased in 1- to 5-ton units. The water-cooled units need a source of cool water and a drain. The water circulates through the machine and removes heat from the area.

Evaporative cooling fans may be a great choice for large warehouses, tents, sports, or outdoor cooling stations, in addition to manufacturing facilities and agricultural applications. These units are powered by 110V power and will provide cooling in hot, dry applications. They’re used to mitigate high temperatures and the chance of heat stress.


Sizing a portable cooling solution considers several factors specific to the application form. To attain the desired results, heat load ought to be calculated in line with the criteria of an individual. Accordingly, the answer provided may include ac units or evaporative cooling units. The purpose of either is to take away the heat from the area and distribute cool air through the entire space.

Failure to accurately calculate heat load for the application form results in improperly sizing the cooling solution. However, with a couple key best practices might help prevent issues.

1.  Determine the sort of cooling application. You can find various kinds of cooling applications: comfort cooling for folks in the space; spot cooling for specific zones or areas; cooling for heat remediation; and process cooling. Each kind of cooling application takes a specific group of calculations predicated on desired temperatures in the space.

2.  Figure the square footage of the area. Ac units and evaporative cooling units can be found with different volumes of cooling capacity, rated in tons (12,000 BTU). To look for the appropriate size unit, it’s important to learn the square footage of the certain area to be cooled. For comfort cooling applications, a sealed and well-insulated space requires one ton of cooling for each 400 square feet. Divide the square footage by 400 feet to calculate just how many tons are needed. For instance, a 1,200-square-foot room would demand three a great deal of cooling.

3.  Assess additional heat loads. After determining the mandatory tonnage of cooling, assess if you can find additional heat loads. These could include heat generated from electrical equipment, such as for example computers or electric motors; solar heat loads on exterior glass windows and walls; excessive outside air infiltrating in to the space through open doors; and the real amount of people occupying the space. Consider this example to choose the quantity of supplement cooling to include: Each ton of cooling is the same as 12,000 BTUs. With regards to the known degree of activity of individuals, each individual can produce 400 to 900 BTUs of heat. If 15 folks are exercising in a available room, they produce around 13 collectively,500 BTUs of heat. Divide that true number by 12, 000 to look for the additional tonnage to increase the initial estimate-in this full case, one more ton approximately.

4.  Think about the height and kind of ceiling. In a typical space with drop ceilings, an air-cooled air conditioning equipment is really a common solution. It’s necessary, however, to find out if the drop ceiling can be used as a return-air plenum for the HVAC system. If that’s the case, then any return air grills should be covered to installation prior. The central air-con system will also need to be shut down when ducting in order to avoid circulating heat back off in to the space. If the drop ceiling has ducted returns, the portable air conditioning equipment can exhaust the hot condenser air in to the voided space above the drop ceiling directly.

If ceilings are sheetrock or subjected to deck, water-cooled ac units are the most suitable choice.

Whether an area includes a drop ceiling or not, the specified solution must provide enough tonnage to cool effectively. Higher ceilings shall require increased tonnage.

5.  Know the available power. Portable cooling units require various power with regards to the size of the machine. For instance, the 1- and 1.5-ton units require 110V power and may be connected to wall outlets. Larger 3- and 5-ton air-conditioner units typically require 230V / 1 phase power and 12- and 25-ton units typically require 480V / 3 phase power. With regards to the kind of power available, the cooling could possibly be supplied by one large unit, or several medium or small ones. In lots of applications, supplemental power is necessary when large generators are employed.


Along with providing the engineered solution and properly sizing the work, it’s important that the installation adheres to safety standards. Personal protective equipment (PPE), including steel-toe boots, hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves, is necessary. When having a rental partner to implement portable cooling, a turnkey could be supplied by them solution which includes delivery, setup, installation, and start-up of the gear. The user can depend on a complete solution for several their cooling needs.

Harle may be the National Sales Manager, Commercial for Sunbelt Rentals Climate Control Services . He and his associates work to supply industry leading solutions focusing on temporary cooling, dehumidification, heating, and indoor quality of air equipment. Harle has been with Sunbelt Rentals since 2017 and will be reached at [email protected]

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