Commercial HVAC for Data Centers: Strategies to Know

Avoid Server Performance Issues with Best Practice Installation and Maintenance

commercial HVAC

For many businesses in Los Angeles, computers play a critical role in day-to-day operations. When a server is malfunctioning or down altogether, it can spell disastrous profit margins for weeks or even months to come. Nevertheless, many commercial building owners are not aware of the HVAC requirements necessary for data centers, let alone whether their own server rooms meet these very real technical demands. Typically, many businesses assume the overall temperature control for their entire building is “good enough” for rooms devoted to these machines.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Many HVAC systems normally cycle on and off to heat and cool commercial buildings (unless you’ve installed a variable motor system, of course). For server rooms, these variations can spell disaster for your equipment. An overly warm room or one left too cold can directly affect your computing performance, slowing systems down or even forcing a shutdown. And the more equipment in a data center, the greater its temperature regulations needs.

So what are some first steps to address these issues?

If you’re concerned your data center may be overheating, consider that your friends at ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) suggest temperature for server inlets be kept at 64.4 to 80.6 degrees at all times. This can translate into super expensive cooling costs, as you’re using up to 40% of your total energy in a data center to keep these temperatures low.

Luckily, there may be ways to utilize your existing commercial HVAC system to address these issues, translating into less energy used and lower utility bills. For example, blanking panels or hot aisle containment can direct hot air into existing HVAC vents, resulting in easier cooling and significantly lower utility expenses.  Taking care to eliminate all non-essential heat sources in your data center, from removing light bulbs to heating units, etc., can also lower your energy needs while keeping temperatures low. Cable and rack placement matter too, and play a significant role in temperature regulation.

Specialized techniques for cooling these rooms include using pumped refrigerant, chilled water, or indirect air evaporation. Installing environmental sensors will help you stay in control of not just temps but airflow, humidity and potential hotspots as well.

Your professional HVAC specialist can help you determine the best ways to address these issues in your data center. With utility costs on the rise for Pasadena, Duarte and surrounding areas, any business owner concerned about operating expenses should consider evaluating these spaces for ways to maximize performance, and save money along the way.


Air-Tro is the commercial HVAC company San Gabriel Valley business trusts, since 1969. Call us today at (626) 357-3535.