When it comes to data centers or server rooms, think about the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks tried everything out until it was just right. It’s a similar situation with your data center. You don’t want the temperature to be too hot, and you don’t want the humidity to be too high or too low. Everyone knows proper cooling keeps the servers from overheating. But just why is low humidity bad for data centers?
If you need commercial HVAC services for your data center, call Ambient Edge at (888) 628-5890.
Data Centers and Humidity Levels
Relative humidity (RH) is the amount of moisture in the air at a given temperature in relation to the maximum amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature. Most people are more familiar with humidity and how it makes them feel outside on a hot summer day, or inside in the air conditioning. You feel more comfortable in air conditioning both because of the lower temperature, and because of the lower humidity.
Relative Humidity Too Low
In data centers, the relative humidity is more about providing the optimal conditions for the servers to run at peak performance. If the relative humidity is too low, servers and other computer equipment are susceptible to electrostatic discharge (ESD) which can cause damage to sensitive components
You’ve probably felt ESD if you’ve been in your socks and scuffed your feet across the carpet, and then touched something. That little shock you felt? That’s ESD. And while it may not harm you, it can be serious business when it comes to computer equipment. An electrostatically charged person in a data center can transfer the electric charge to the sensitive electronics and damage the circuitry.
So you can see why low humidity is bad for data centers.
Relative Humidity Too High
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the relative humidity is too high, water condensation may result. This can lead to hardware corrosion and early system and component failure. No one wants that.
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Relative Humidity Just Right
Recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) are for relative humidity levels to be around 50%, with an absolute low of 20% and an absolute high of 80% Maintaining ambient relative humidity levels between 45% and 55% in your data center or server room will allow for optimal equipment performance and reliability.
Set Up Automatic Temperature and Humidity Monitoring
It’s important to remember that relative humidity is directly tied to air temperature. ASHRAE recommends data center temperatures be maintained between 64.4 and 80.6℉ If you don’t already have an automatic temperature and humidity monitoring system, installing one can help prevent hot spots and dangerous humidity fluctuations. It’s critical that you know what’s going on with the various banks of servers at all times.
These systems have early alert thresholds of 40% and 60% relative humidity. Critical alerts will be sent if relative humidity reaches either 30% or 70%. The systems are also set up to provide alerts when temperatures get too high or too low. Acceptable data center temperatures are between 64° and 81°F.
Preventative Maintenance of Your HVAC System
The equipment in your data center or server room is valuable. And downtime because of equipment failure can be horrendously expensive. But if you have a plan, you can protect your equipment. And that plan should include preventative maintenance of your commercial HVAC system. Your air conditioning system can keep the temperature and humidity just right. But that’s only if the system is operating at peak performance.
By working with a commercial HVAC company, you can be sure that the following maintenance tasks will be taken care of:
- Filter changes
- Refrigerant level checks
- Refrigerant added as needed
- Parts replacement before they fail
- Equipment lubrication
- And more
Need Help with Data Center Climate Control?
Your data center needs to operate at peak performance around the clock. That’s why Ambient Edge offers commercial HVAC services 24/7. No matter what time of the day or night you call, we will answer. If you have an emergency, our call team will connect you with our on-call technician or take a message for non-emergency calls.
We provide a full range of commercial HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation services. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee covers all our parts and services, so you’re protected if something breaks or goes wrong. If your data center is overheating, or the humidity is too low. call Ambient Edge today at (888) 628-5890 to set up a service appointment.