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Calculating Server Room Cooling Needs

Aug 17, 2007
The tens of thousands of dollars worth of server equipment and priceless company data can quickly be at risk for loss if server room temperatures aren't just right. Because the equipment emits so much more heat than just about any other location in the office, portable air conditioners are the ideal solution for cooling the server room without freezing the entire office.

Server room cooling needs:
Before purchasing air conditioners for the server room, you'll need to calculate how much heat must be displaced. With the excessive amount of heat produced by the server room equipment, you can't choose portable air conditioners based on the unit's general square foot recommendation alone. Instead of the square foot cooling recommendation on the spec sheet, you'll need to pay attention to the unit's BTU's.

Calculating the necessary BTU's for your portable air conditioning unit:
To determine the number of BTU's that your server room's portable air conditioners will need to offset, you'll need to calculate the amount of BTU's being generated by your equipment, lighting, and the occupants in the server room and take into consideration the square footage of the room and number of windows.

1. Equipment BTU: Total wattage for servers, switches, and routers x 3.5
2. Lighting BTU: Total wattage x 4.25
3. Occupant BTU: Number of occupants x 400
4. Square Footage: Length (m) x width (m) x 337
5. Window BTU: South facing - length (m) x width (m) x 870
North facing - length (m) x width (m) x 165

Choosing A Unit:
Portable air conditioners, also called spot coolers, are ideal for server room cooling because they focus a lot of cooling energy exactly where it's needed. Window units are generally not a consideration for server rooms since the window must remain open for installation which can compromise the building's security. Though swamp coolers are a type of portable air conditioner, they aren't much help in the server room either. These portable air conditioners tend to be very noisy, require constant attention, and just don't have the BTU power needed for server rooms.

Another reason why swamp coolers aren't suited for the server room is that they produce a great deal of moisture. In fact, all portable air conditioning units produce condensation as they cool. Some portable air conditioning units will humidify the air as they cool while other portable air conditioners have condensation tanks that require emptying on a regular basis. Unless you'll be routing the excess moisture through the ceiling or out of a window, portable air conditioners with condensation tanks are better suited for server rooms to keep the air and equipment dry.

When comparison shopping, you'll want to identify those that are quiet, compact, low maintenance, and that are extremely reliable. The last thing you want is to come into the office one summer morning and find that your spot cooler has decided to quit. When it comes to protecting your company's critical data, you' can't afford to take chances.
About the Author
Author is a writer for Cold Air which specializes in renting portable
air conditioners
nationwide. For more information you can visit http://www.ColdAir.net.
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