Frequently Asked Questions

Enclosure Cooling

Q. My refrigerant-based enclosure air conditioner is located near an oven, and in the summer it "cuts out" when ambient temperatures get too high. Can I effectively use a Vortex Cooler or Vortex A/C here?

A. Yes. Vortex Coolers or the Vortex A/C will operate trouble-free in extreme temperatures and in dirty inhospitable environments. As long as the compressed air supply is kept properly filtered and dried, a Vortex Cooler will lower the incoming compressed air supply by 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Of course, avoid running the compressed air supply line near the oven.

Q. I currently use a filter-fan to draw air into the enclosure. In the hotter summer months it cannot keep the controls cool enough. Can I install a Vortex Cooler or Vortex A/C and operate it with the fan during those hot months?

A. No, not efficiently. The fan will continue to pull in warmer humid air. The humidity in the ambient air will condense on the much colder Vortex Cooler components causing unwanted water droplets to form. You must remove the fan and filter and seal up the openings in the enclosure to prevent ambient air from entering the enclosure. The fan can be located inside the enclosure, if desired, to circulate the cold air.

Q. How much inline pressure does a Vortex Cooler or Vortex A/C need?

A. These panel coolers are designed to use a filtered, factory compressed air supply of 80 to 100 psig. Unless compressed air pressures fluctuate widely or run considerably higher than 110 psig, do not use a pressure regulator to reduce the inlet pressure. Pressures lower than 80 psig, limit inline airflow into the enclosure, thus reducing the BTU/hr cooling capacities of the coolers.

Q. What inlet line sizes do I install?

A. A Vortex Cooler or Vortex A/C enclosure cooler with up to a 5,000 BTU/hr capacity can be supplied using 3/8" schedule 40 pipe that has a drop (distance from the main supply) less than 10'. A 3/4" schedule 40 pipe would be used for a distance up to 50'.

Rubber hose with a suitable pressure rating can be used to supply the coolers. A 1/2" hose is used in place of a 3/8" pipe; 3/4" hose used in place of a 1/2" pipe; and 1" hose is used in place of a 3/4" pipe. Only new rubber hose should be used to supply Vortex Coolers. A used rubber hose normally will have cuts on the inside wall (inside diameter) and be contaminated from inadequate filtration of particulate and oils. Select the compressed air line size appropriately and remember that lower inline pressures will produce a greater inline pressure drop and subsequent lower airflow and BTU/hr cooling capacity.

Q. How do I remove moisture, dirt and oil from compressed air?

A. All compressed air systems will have condensed water, rust (scale) and dirt in the lines. To remove this contamination from the compressed air, a 5-micron filter separator with an automatic drain is provided with all Vortex A/C and Vortex Cooler systems. Properly maintained, these filters will ensure that only clean and dry, refrigerated air will enter the enclosure.

A dryer usually is not required for proper operation, except when the normal relative humidity level is very high. A desiccant or refrigerated type dryer can be used in the inlet line to eliminate water vapor in the supply. The dryer should be rated to produce an atmospheric dew point lower than the output temperature of enclosure cooler.

If upon start up of the compressor every day, large amounts of water are produced, a bulk water removal filter should be used upstream of the 5-micron filter.

It is not necessary to supply lubricated air to a Vortex Cooler; in fact, excess oil and oil aerosols must be removed from the compressed air supply. Coalescing type filters are available for older compressors that have a lot of oil carryover.

Q. Is maintenance required?

A. Because these cabinet cooling devices have no moving parts, they are reliable and require little maintenance. It is only necessary to change elements in the compressed air filter at regularly scheduled intervals. A minimum interval of six months is recommended; however; the cleanliness of the compressed air supply will determine the change frequency of the filter element.

Q. What are the advantages of using a Vortex A/C or Vortex Cooler compared to a typical enclosure air conditioner?

A. Low purchase price, compact size, ease of installation, little to no maintenance, greater reliability, ability to operate in harsh environments, and significantly longer warranty period.

Q. What if I just want to keep my enclosure at a slight positive pressure and it is not in a hazardous location?

A. If it is desired to cool the enclosure and maintain a slight pressure just to keep out infiltrating dust and dirt (and the enclosure is NOT in a hazardous location), then alternatives are available: One, the Vortex Cooler can be operated continuously without a thermostat, as long as the heat load remains fairly constant. Two, Vortex A/C models are equipped with a purge-air port that, when opened, will allow a small portion of low pressure air to "bleed off" into the enclosure to pressurize it, regardless of whether or not the unit is in the cooling mode or not. These models do not require an additional compressed air connection or mounting hole.

Q. What is the power consumption of the solenoid valve in my Vortex Cooler System?

A. For all 120 volt and 230 volt AC systems, the power consumption does not exceed 15 watts (.13 amps maximum for 120 volt systems and .07 amps for 230 volt systems).

Q. I can't find the model number of my cooler on your website, where can I find information?

A. Vortec's Enclosure Coolers and Vortex A/C coolers are sold in systems that contain items to be used with the cooler (filter, ducting kit, thermostat and solenoid; depending on the system). The cooler lists a part number for the cooler only, not the system. 


Q. Can the cold (or hot) air from a Vortex Tube be directed into a Curtain Transvector to create a sheet of cold (or hot) air?

A. No. The extremely small gap on the Curtain Transvector puts too much flow restriction on the vortex tube causing a significant backpressure, limiting the vortex tube's performance. In addition, the vortex tube cannot produce significant pressure to create a high velocity outlet airflow from the Curtain Transvector.

Vortex Tube

Q. Who invented Vortex Tubes and when were they invented?

A. A French physicist named Georges Ranque invented the first Vortex Tube in 1930. Since compressed air was not widely available at that time, the Tube saw only limited use.

Q. How does a Vortex Tube make cold and hot air?

A. Fluid (air) that rotates around an axis (like a tornado), is called a vortex. A Vortex Tube creates cold air and hot air by forcing a simple heat exchange. Compressed air enters a chamber in the Tube and is forced to spin in a tight, high speed circular path(1,000,000 RPM).

A percentage of the high speed air exits as hot air out the hot exhaust of the Tube, but the remainder of the (now slower) air stream is forced to counterflow back up through the center of the high speed air stream-giving up heat-and exiting as cold air.

Q. How much compressed air does a Vortex Tube consume?

A. Depending on the size required, a Vortex Tube consumes anywhere from 2 scfm to 100 scfm of compressed air @ 100 PSIG inlet pressure.

Q. How much compressed air pressure is needed to operate a Vortex Tube?

A. A Vortex Tube's optimum performance is achieved when 80 to 100 PSIG of compressed air is supplied to the unit.


Q. Where do I buy filter elements and what do I need to know about them?

A. Vortec does not sell filter elements, only the complete compressed air filter. We sell Norgren brand air filters. Elements for these filters can be purchased from any local Norgren distributor. Contact Norgren directly at (303) 794-2611 to find your local Norgren distributor.

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These are the Norgren element part numbers for Vortec compressed air filters:

Vortec filter p/n






Norgren replacement element #






These are the SMC element part numbers for Vortec compressed air filters:

Vortec filter p/n                             Smc replacement element #

701S-24A                                        AF30P-060S

701S-36A                                        AF40P-060S

701S-40A                                        AF40P-060S

701S-48                                          AFD40P-060AS

701S-54                                          AFD40P-060AS