Modern businesses depend on data centers to store vast amounts of information and power essential services. However, environmental factors like temperature and humidity can affect the performance of equipment inside data centers. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems play a crucial role in maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels, which in turn helps ensure the reliability and performance of data centers. HVAC systems can not only improve energy efficiency, but they can also keep equipment running and reduce costs.
Temperature, Humidity and Contaminants: The Dangers to Data Centers
Data centers are facilities housing computer servers and equipment. This equipment naturally generates high temperatures so it can operate at optimum performance. High temperatures can cause equipment to overheat. ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) recommends a temperature range of 18 to 27 degrees C (64.4 to 80.6 degrees F) for A1 to A4 Class hardware.
Humidity can also cause problems. Low humidity will cause electrostatic discharge failures. If humidity is high, water will condense inside servers. These problems can cause rust, corrosion, and machine failures. Humidity often causes corrosion and damage. Both high temperatures and excess humidity can lead to hardware failure and downtime. Maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels is essential to keeping data center equipment running reliably and efficiently.
Beyond temperature and humidity, contaminants are also an issue. Data centers require clean air to prevent dust and other contaminants from damaging the equipment.
How HVAC Systems Keep Data Center Equipment Safe
HVAC systems are essential for maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels in data centers. These systems help regulate the temperature and humidity by circulating cool air through the data center and removing hot air. Proper airflow management prevents hot spots from forming and ensures that all equipment receives adequate cooling.
Data center HVAC systems can also filter out contaminants and maintain positive air pressure to prevent dust and other particles from entering the environment.
Benefits of HVAC Systems in Data Centers
The benefits of data center HVAC systems include:
- Improved reliability: HVAC systems help maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels, which in turn helps ensure the reliable operation of data centers.
- Energy efficiency: Data centers use a lot of energy – about 3 percent of total worldwide electrical use . HVAC systems can help reduce energy consumption and costs by using innovative technologies like variable speed fans. Additionally, some HVAC systems can use free cooling, which uses outside air to cool the facility instead of relying solely on mechanical cooling.
- Reduced downtime: By maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels and removing airborne contaminants, HVAC systems can help reduce the risk of equipment failure and downtime.
HVAC systems play a critical role in maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels in data centers. In turn, they ensure the reliability and performance of these facilities that businesses depend on. By using innovative technologies and best practices, HVAC systems can also help improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Investing in high-quality HVAC systems is essential for the success of any data center.
The U.S. Department of Energy has resources available for increasing energy efficiency in data centers. If your data center HVAC system needs an equipment upgrade, contact our helpful product experts today.
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