Data centers & server rooms have problems
They come in many shapes and sizes. But we are not talking about hackers. Electronic and digital preparations provide the defense for those problems. We are talking about nature. Even though servers are secured inside buildings, nature has a way of infiltrating the security and attack the servers.
No matter how well a building is built, nature has a way of getting humidity inside and endangering the servers. Humidity is a problem for data centers and their server rooms. Proper steps need to be taken to prevent damage to the company due to humidity.
Damages caused by humidity in data center
While temperature is a concern, it is humidity that can cause the most damage. What makes humidity such a dangerous problem is its two-pronged attack. If the humidity level is too high, then humidity will develop condensation.
In turn, this moisture will cause corrosion in all the metal parts of the server. This includes wiring. Corrosion leads to electrical shorts. With electrical shorts, servers will break down, lose data and the company loses uptime.
But high humidity is not the only avenue causing problems. If the humidity is too low, then the lack of moisture in the air will allow the servers to develop electrostatic charges. When this electricity is discharged, sensitive electronic equipment is damaged or ruined.
Both prongs of humidity’s attacks will cause a lot of problems for a data center. First, there is downtime. With servers damaged or ruined, they cannot do the job they were designed to do. Second, the repairs or replacement of these damaged servers can be costly. Not only in terms of downtime but also in financial terms.
This is why data centers take great care in monitoring the humidity levels(Read about our Monitoring Systems). Humidity can cause a lot of damage to a data center and its servers.
How to reduce humidity in data centers?
There are several ways in which a data center can combat the humidity problem in its server room. Because temperature is also a problem, most data centers will use air conditioning to help control the humidity level.
Air conditioners are effective, but they also do have some limitations. Air conditioners cannot monitor every area of the room. Their monitoring sensors do not reach around corners or obstacles.
These limitations are why data centers also use environmental sensors, dehumidifiers and also venting techniques that provide inexpensive cooling. Unfortunately, while this system is frequently used, its air is a lot drier and leads to electrostatic problems.
There are three ideal levels for server rooms to function correctly:
- Temperature Control: The first level is temperature control. The ideal temperature level runs between 60 and 80 degrees F.
- Humidity: The second level humidity. The ideal humidity levels between 40 to 60 percent relative humidity.
- Dew Point: The final level is the dew point. The optimum level for this important measurement is between 42 and 59 degrees F.
Types of Dehumidifiers:
Dehumidifiers are the best way to monitor and maintain the proper humidity levels. There are two kinds of dehumidifiers that are used to help keep server room humidity levels at their proper levels:
- Desiccant dehumidifier: These dehumidifiers do not operate in the same manner as a refrigerant style dehumidifier. They do not use coolant to remove the moisture from the air. (Read more about Desiccant dehumidifier)
- Condensation dehumidifier: These units work to lower the condensation that gathers in a high humidity environment. Of course, for either dehumidifier to work properly, the data center’s maintenance technicians need to do proper calculations. (Read more about Condensation dehumidifier)
They need to know the capacity of the dehumidifiers, room size, the location of hot spots and other important details. It is not a matter of simply purchasing a dehumidifier and placing it in the room.
Why condensation dehumidifier is the preferred choice for data centers?
The reason condensation dehumidifiers are the preferred choice over desiccant dehumidifiers has to do with the latter’s limitations. It also has to do with the simple operation of the condensation dehumidifier.
The fan of the condensation dehumidifier simply pulls in the hot, humid air through a cool evaporative cooling element. This element then cools the air down below the lowest optimum dew point level.
The now cool air turns to water and condenses on to the cooling element. As the air turns into water, the water drips into a pan which then drains the water to a harmless place.
But this is not all that a condensation dehumidifier does. After the removal of humidity, the process is completed, and the condensation dehumidifier reheats the air so that it can trap more humidity. And the process starts all over again.
Not only is the condensation dehumidify simple to operate, it is also a lot cheaper financially. They work a lot better at higher temperatures and higher humidity levels. This is one of the main reasons why data centers opt for condensation dehumidifiers over other alternatives.
Other reasons why data centers choose condensation dehumidifiers over other models is that their capacity levels are higher. Their ability to drain large amounts of moisture makes them a very attractive option. They also do not emit any foul odors while doing their job.
Some alternative dehumidifiers use dry air to remove moisture from the air. This process develops a bad smell. Unfortunately, there is no way to separate this odor from the discharged air.
The cleaning smelling air makes for a good working environment.