When investing in outdoor electrical enclosures, there are going to be a number of elements to consider before making your purchase.
IP ratings, enclosure material and enclosure placement all play a large role in how safe and secure your outdoor electrics will be.
Evaluating the area
To begin, you will want to evaluate the area where you are hoping to place your electrical housings, to determine how safe your equipment will be. In outdoor environments, electrical equipment can succumb to damage in the form of corrosion, fire and much more. To best protect against this, you should consider whether your equipment will be exposed to dust, chemicals or harsh weather and to what degree these issues will be faced.
Once you have examined these factors, you can easily determine what type of IP rating and material your electrical enclosure should have.
Resistance to corrosion
It’s important for outdoor electrical enclosures to be resistant to corrosive liquids and gasses if they are to keep equipment safe in harsh environments. Many electrical enclosures are left for months at a time, so a company needs to know that their housing is made of tough stuff.
GRP, or glass reinforced plastic, is a recommended material for electrical enclosures due to its resistance to fire, corrosion and other damaging factors. GRP is also a popular choice because it’s lightweight, easy to transport and can be left for long periods of time with little to no maintenance.
Resistance to dust
When dust finds its way into an electrical enclosure, it can cause equipment to overheat and eventually catch fire. Therefore, a dust tight housing is crucial to protect what’s inside. An enclosure with an IP solid rating of 5 is highly sufficient to protect all equipment against most high dust environments. However, for a 100% dust free guarantee, you could opt for an IP solid rating of 6 – the highest rating available.
Resistance to adverse weather
Another important requirement for an outdoor electrical enclosure is for them to be water tight. Keeping moisture and water away from electrical equipment is obvious but in harsh, outdoor environments, how can you be certain your enclosure is safe enough?
The second IP rating number on an electrical housing will help you to determine how water tight an enclosure is. Much like the solid rating, an electrical housing with a liquid IP rating of 5 is probably sufficient for most companies, as it protects against the powerful spray of water jets (up to a 6.3mm nozzle). Go higher than a 5 and you’ll be protected against more powerful jets and immersions of up to 1mm and beyond.