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Safe Server Room Cooling: Choosing The Right Portable Air Conditioner For Your Data Center

Aug 17, 2007
Even in the winter months, server rooms need the cooling power of portable air conditioners if adequate temperatures can't be reached through building's internal cooling system. In fact, the winter months present a potentially hazardous problem for server rooms. Rooms in many buildings can't be adjusted independently. So while hot air is forced through the vents to keep employees happy, temperatures in server rooms can mount to dangerously high levels. There are several different types of portable air conditioners and choosing the right one for your server room could be critical to the health of your servers.

Ventilation
Portable air conditioners for server rooms need some form of ventilation. Otherwise, while cold air blows out the front, hot air will blow right out the back, keeping the overall temperature level except for the area directly in front of the unit. This doesn't mean that you need a window. Though many people imagine a boxy window portable air conditioner when they hear the term "portable air conditioner," this is not the optimal type for a server room. Not only are there more powerful units, but the reduced security of window units isn't ideal for a server room.

The right type of portable conditioners for a server rooms are those that can vent into a drop ceiling via a ventilation tube. If your server room doesn't have a ceiling adequate for ventilation, an outside wall can be modified to accommodate the small circular ventilation tube which forces out the hot air. Unlike portable air conditioners without vents, this type literally draws the hot air out of the room and forces it into another location.

BTU's
BTU's or, British Thermal Units, refer to the energy units that a portable air conditioner can produce. Larger rooms need portable air conditioners with larger BTU's. Generally speaking you can use the following guidelines to determine the necessary BTU's needed to cool your room:

BTU's Square Feet
7,500: 150
9,000: 200
10,000: 250
12,000: 350
13,000: 400

Room size isn't the only consideration. In server rooms especially, the heat generated by the servers also must be taken into consideration. To determine the amount of BTU's needed to displace the heat generated by the equipment, multiply the total wattage of all equipment by 3.5. You'll also want to factor in any people who work in the room on a regular basis. To do this, multiply the number of occupants by 400.

Most suppliers of portable air conditioners also offer professional installation. Though they can be easily rolled from room to room, there is a small amount of installation required for venting the displaced air. In the past, larger portable air conditioners required complex wiring, but now some manufactures models, like the Avenger, can be used with a standard plug while still providing serious cooling power. Once installed, your portable air conditioner can run smoothly, quietly, and virtually maintenance-free for years.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on portable air
conditioners
, visit http://www.Coldair.net.
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