Clear the Air: Keeping Your Data Center Clean

Do you have a dirty data center? Are dust bunnies setting up camp on your equipment? It might be time to check up on the cleanliness of your environment. Believe it or not, data centers actually need more than just a spring cleaning. Keeping an eye on the air quality of your data center is extremely important because airborne contaminants can damage your valuable equipment. These contaminants, including dust, other particles, and gases, can wreak havoc on your equipment and potentially make some equipment inoperable. Clean Data Center

Types of contaminants: Particles and gases

It is important to know what contaminants may be lurking in your data center. There are two types of dust that could be resting on your equipment: chemically inert dust and corrosive dust. Who knew that there is more than one kind of dust? Other types of particle contaminants include dirt, soot, pollen, and fly ash.  Those aren’t good either.

Gaseous contaminants include sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and ammonia. These gases can mix together and have an even stronger negative effect on your equipment than they would have alone. Talk about a lot of gas…

Problems introduced by contaminants

Damage to your equipment due to contaminants can include reduced airflow through equipment, circuit failure, corrosion, and overheating. The worst case scenario can be complete equipment failure, which is expensive and inconvenient.

Prevention and solutions: Averting and resolving contamination

This all sounds extremely scary. Don’t worry, though. There are ways to protect your data center from particle and gas damage.  By following some simple procedures, you can ensure that your equipment remains clean and fully functional.

Prevention is extremely important. It is difficult to eliminate problems after they have already occurred. So, be proactive! Implement these preventative strategies in order to protect your equipment:

  • Install and use air filters throughout your data center. Be sure to use the type of air filters that will filter out whatever contaminants exist in your environment.
  • Keep all equipment and equipment rooms as clean as possible by cleaning frequently. Be careful to only use cleaners that are designed specifically for use around your type of data center equipment.
  • Use protective devices, such as protective cabinets, to prevent harm to your hardware. You can check with the equipment manufacturer to see what protective devices are needed and recommended.

Monitoring equipment and keeping tabs on contamination

It is critical to monitor equipment on a continuous basis. All data centers should have monitoring procedures in place. However, it is even more important for data centers that use air-side economizers to carefully monitor contamination and equipment, since they increase the likelihood of contamination.

A monitoring schedule can include frequent visual inspections of equipment in order to check for contaminant build up. You can also use copper coupons to measure copper build-up over time if corrosion is taking place.

Now you know the tips to a cleaner environment, so it’s time to face that dirty data center, and say goodbye harmful gases and killer dust bunnies. Through diligent prevention and monitoring, you can relax knowing that your data center equipment will be reliable and healthy for years to come.

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