Caring for Your Center’s Humidification System

10Environmental control of the data center environment is a year-long job. Aside from regulating the internal temperatures to offset the heat generated by rows upon rows of server racks, data center managers also have to keep the challenges that seasonal climate changes produce in mind. A center’s HVAC system allows conditions outside of the data center to have just as big an impact on potential safety and equipment hazards as internal temperatures. Perhaps no time of the year best illustrates this point than at the onset of winter.

The Problems a Dry Winter Can Bring

The drier air that the winter season brings can contribute to any number problems with your equipment. These can include:

  • Static electricity buildup leading to electrostatic discharges
  • Water damage from a poorly-maintained humidification system
  • Accelerated deterioration of cooling system components due to excess water vapor

Any of these issues can lead to blown fuses, equipment damage, and the increased potential for fires. Having and maintaining a well-functioning humidification system can help to mitigate these risks. The issues you can encounter with your system will depend largely on its design.

Specific Issues for Specific Systems

Steam humidifiers fit to a building’s boiler system were once a popular choice among commercial property owners due to the relatively low cost of retrofitting the humidification components to an already existing system. However, these units can raise the supply area temperature, placing greater strain on a building’s cooling system. Wall-mounted steam canister humidifiers have become more popular in recent years thanks to their easy installation and improved efficiency in smaller areas as compared to boiler-type systems. Yet replacing water canisters over time due to mineral buildup on heating electrodes can prove costly. Ultrasonic units offer the best energy efficiency in the business, yet there exist the potential of bacterial growth in the system’s transducer water bath.

Any of these issues can be pinpointed during an annual maintenance check of your humidification system. Not only does such preventative maintenance assure your compliance to the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineer standards, but is also can produce cost-savings thanks to improved energy efficiency and the need for fewer service calls.

Given that issues with your humidification system can lie undetected during those months when it is not being utilized, it’s of crucial importance to you as a data center manager to include it’s maintenance as part of a routine inspection. Yet remembering that small task amongst the sea of larger business issues that you have to deal with can be difficult. Not to worry; we here at Titan Power will remember that for you. We make it a point to include a check of your humidifier pan and bulbs as well as your system’s condensation pump as part of every HVAC Field Service Check we perform. Together, we’ll work to ensure that your data center is safeguarded from all of the problems that drier seasons can bring.

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