Portable Air Conditioners for Labs
How a Portable Air Conditioner Can Divert Disaster in the Laboratory
So you run a chemistry laboratory in a university, hospital, or commercial establishment and rely on the central air conditioning system to get you through the day...until disaster strikes. An earthquake hits, a flood creeps, or a hurricane rips through. Power is cut off before temperatures rise and all systems suffer an unpleasant stroke of debilitating heat. Everything comes crashing down. Power is down. Servers are down. Cooling systems are down, but the temperatures are up, up, up. All that time, money, effort, and priceless research is suddenly going down the metaphorical toilet! The ominous sound of flushing permeates your thoughts! What are you going to do? How to protect yourself and your work?
The answer is so simple that you might have completely breezed over it: portable air conditioner.
When Generators Aren't Enough
You might think that you're safe with back up generators to kick in and save the day. Well, maybe or maybe not.
Although a hospital or university's generator may kick in the chances that they will be able to sustain and efficiently power your central AC are slim. Central air conditioning in a home can consume over 5000 watts of electricity - just imagine the amount needed for hospitals or universities.
Take, for example, West Jefferson General Hospital's laboratories after Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans hospital-based lab experienced a five day power outage. Although hospital generators quickly kicked in, such power simply was not sufficient to run the central air conditioners. Temperatures in the lab quickly soared closed to 100 degrees! Portable air conditioners would certainly have been useful.
Thousands of Lost Dollars
The loss of proper air conditioning can result in more than lost time and research. Human beings are not the only players affected by unbearable temperatures, but vital instruments, too. Major instruments in chemistry or biology laboratories are doomed by excessive heat. Ruined hematology analyzers and destroyed coagulation analyzers - machines dying one after another - equal a huge loss of dollars.
Don't forget the cost of replacements and the price of researchers being thrust into overtime!
Since backup generators in labs will often provide the bare power to sustain "minus-80" freezers for specimens there isn't electricity for much else. Should temperatures rise to above 83 degrees the freezers' compressors will overload and fail. You could risk losing years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single night!
Swamp Coolers or Packed Ice
In an emergency you may suppose that a swamp cooler or even eagerly packing ice will do for the short term. Even if the energy emergency is only hours or a day long, using cooling techniques that generate quantities of moisture is a misguided effort. Contamination can occur, creating a double edged sword, in addition to the loss of cooling power.
High temperatures and high humidity pose a double threat to equipment, specimens, and lab workers. The moisture generated from such attempts is water you would pass on drinking and much less wish to pass through your chemistry analyzers! Portable air conditioners do not produce excess humidity.
Integrating Labs with Portable Air Conditioners
Disaster scenarios are not the only situations when a portable air conditioner becomes a reliable friend. Many universities are "integrating the sciences," so to speak. A department without proper air flow can become a problem - exposing which organic lab is running by the smells in the hall. Properly ventilating and circulating fresh air can be tricky with your limited budget and limited space, yet it's essential to chemistry.
Portable air conditioners are a good solution. Because most are mounted onto wheels they are easily mobile from one area to another. This means you can achieve direct cooling in specific areas without needing to acquire an army of portable air conditioners.
Many portable air conditioner models will have an integrated filter system, too. If you are redesigning a building to accommodate a wide range of research interests the last thing you want is to irritate your neighbor. Solve the problem quickly with portable air conditioners.
Cheaper, Lighter, Smaller
Portable air conditioners are cheaper upfront, lighter, and more compact than central or window air conditioners. In a laboratory setting, being able to customize temperatures for different sections can be an essential tool. You can easily move the unit from room to room, corner to corner, without hassle and or delay.
In addition, you do not have to block a window or require additional construction for installation - it comes a complete and ready to use. And of course, it saves money on electricity costs for smaller laboratories and institutions. Although small, portable air conditioners are highly efficient and can do a good job even in a large room.
On average, a portable AC unit with 8,000 BTU is ideal for a 300 square foot space, and a portable air conditioner capacity of 24,000 BTU is effective for 1000 square feet. Today's standard of energy efficiency is higher than ever before. An EER of 12 or more is considered good and most portable air conditioners will meet this threshold.
Great for emergency situations and daily activities, portable air conditioners are an ideal solution. Chemistry and biology labs will benefit from the peace of mind these simple, reliable systems bring - and everyone saves money!
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