Facility Maintenance Decisions

Controlling Condensation, Temperature Important to Protect Data Centers

Redundant and adaptable systems do a good job of protecting data center equipment from overheating. But managers need to address other concerns related to protecting critical equipment.

Condensation is one such concern. High humidity levels shorten the useful life of electronics, and condensation can cause catastrophic failure. Managers have several options to mitigate condensation. Avoiding overhead piping and instead using underfloor systems and interior partitions can eliminate condensation and pipe leaks, as can locating and ducting cooling equipment outside the conditioned space.

Decreasing outside-air requirements through the use of demand-control ventilation can drastically reduce dehumidification requirements and, as a result, significantly decrease condensation concerns.

As the demand for energy-efficient systems rises, managers need to evaluate the risk of adding air-side economizer sequences. Increasing outside air during cool, damp days can reduce cooling loads, but there is a strong condensation risk. Instead, managers can look into implementing water-side economizer controls.

Finally, system operators should monitor the supply-discharge temperature to ensure it stays below the dew point. If it does not, condensation can form downstream of the coils, collect at the discharge terminations and ultimately drip onto critical equipment.

Besides humidity and condensation concerns, managers also must be aware of problems associated with limited technician access to equipment, which can lead to unintended disturbances and delays. Properly designed and coordinated equipment access can ensure easier technician access to valves, dampers and fans — a benefit that can make or break a facility.

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  posted on 9/17/2014   Article Use Policy