An In-Depth Guide To Server Room Air Conditioners

17 January 2017
 Categories: , Articles


Keeping your office comfortable isn't the only reason why you need a reliable air conditioning system. Air conditioners also play an essential role in keeping electronic equipment from being damaged by excess heat. Here's what you should know about server room air conditioning and how it prevents your server equipment from being damaged.

Why You Would Need One

In today's tech-driven world, the server room lies at the heart of an organization's critical IT operations. Server rooms are typically full of equipment needed to keep your business alive and online. As a result, space is often a premium in the average server room, and that includes space for your equipment to properly breathe and vent.

Servers and other IT equipment are also notorious for generating tremendous amounts of heat. In the cramped confines of the typical server room, there's little to no place for the excess heat to go. Ambient temperatures can increase beyond the equipment's specifications, creating increased wear and tear that takes years off of your server equipment. Poor heat management can also lead to sluggish performance and random system crashes that could prove devastating for your business.

How They Work

Server room air conditioners work in the exact same manner as their other commercial-grade counterparts. They take warm indoor air and absorb the latent heat within, transferring that heat elsewhere while returning the cooled air back to the indoor space. The only difference is that units dedicated for server room duty must tackle higher cooling demands. For this reason, the systems usually feature components that are significant upgrades from what you'd normally see in a residential air conditioner.

Server room air conditioners come in a variety of form factors, from wall-mounted ductless units for smaller server rooms and portable units for added mobility and flexibility to overhead and underfloor units designed with larger rooms and higher cooling demands in mind.

Features to Look For

If you need an air conditioner for your server room, then it pays to look for one with the following features:

  • Automatic restart - In the event of power failure, you'll want your air conditioner to be able to restart itself without having to be reset manually.
  • Condensation tank - Air conditioners also remove moisture along with latent heat, which means you'll need a tank to hold the condensate created through the air conditioning process.
  • Self-diagnostic system - This feature generates malfunction codes for technicians to read, allowing prompt repairs at minimal cost.

These features not only help preserve your server equipment and prevent unexpected failures, but they can also help reduce the cost of maintaining your air conditioning equipment.

Room, Row, or Rack-Based Cooling?

There are also several different methods for introducing conditioned air into the server room, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks:

Room-based cooling allows the entire server room to benefit from the air conditioner's overall performance. However, the systems are heavily dependent on the design of the server room for performance results. In addition, a room-based air conditioner may also have difficulty maintaining a uniformly cool server environment.

Row-based cooling creates cooled, conditioned air for a specific row of server equipment. As a result, cooling distances and airflow paths are significantly shorter, making the unit itself exceptionally efficient. However, the effects are limited to the row in which the air conditioner operates.

Rack-based cooling allows individual IT server racks to be directly cooled. As with row-based cooling, airflow paths are shorter and more direct, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced power consumption. However, cooling is limited to the particular rack the A/C system is installed to.

It's important to keep these and other considerations in mind when choosing an air conditioning unit for your server room. Contact an HVAC company like Robinson Heating & Cooling Inc for more information.