05.09.2017

7 Evaporative Cooling System Hacks for Data Centers

Data centers require a highly consistent and reliable source of cooling that doesn’t moisturize environments full of sensitive electronic equipment such as servers and mainframes. Using an evaporative cooling system such as Nortec’s ME Series is the ideal way to achieve optimal results, but there are many ways to enhance the effectiveness of these systems.

1. Maintain Humidity Levels at ASHRAE-Recommended Standards

By operating at a humidity level of 41.9°F and 59°F dew point with an allowable range of between 20-80%RH, an evaporative cooling system will better protect a data center’s sensitive equipment against humidity-related damage. Nortec’s comprehensive range of ASHRAE-compliant humidifiers and evaporative cooling systems reduce the chances of electrostatic discharge with utmost efficiency.

2. Use Energy-Efficient Alternatives

Adiabatic humidifiers such as those supplied by Nortec can easily deliver up to 2.1MBtu per hour (630kW) of evaporative cooling and only need to operate on less than 0.4 HP (0.3kW) of energy. By adopting low energy alternatives such as these, a data center can better utilize available electricity and minimize grid strain.

3. Accommodate for Sensitive Spaces

Boasting intelligent water management systems that minimize wastage and reduce running costs, Nortec’s evaporative and adiabatic cooling systems are a thoroughly green solution for sensitive spaces that require extended operating hours in free cooling modes. This will better protect against equipment damage or strain as a result of inconsistent or unregulated humidity and cooling control.

4, Adapt to Location Climate

In temperate climates, free air cooling is generally not enough to meet the required internal conditions of a data center year-round. By installing sufficient adiabatic humidification, even the hottest days won’t interfere with the reliability of equipment or the relative humidity of the center’s operating environment. For colder regions where many newer data centers are built in order to cut costs, heat from data halls can be used to warm incoming air prior to the humidification process by an adiabatic system. This helps to increase the moisture content in operating areas and reduce internal temperatures to meet the center’s needs.

5. Work With Your Control System, Not Against It

Many evaporative cooling solutions are available on the market, and some won’t play nicely with pre-established operating and control systems. It is important that you consider the compatibility of your data center’s infrastructure when deciding which cooling solution to incorporate, and work with a company that has the technical expertise required to complement your existing setup. For example, at Nortec we offer a comprehensive range of reliable and highly compatible products fit for any control system, including everything from electrode steam humidifiers to in-duct evaporative systems and air handling unit refurbishments. 

6. Remove Ceiling Tiles (When Applicable)

It’s not a cutting-edge procedure by any means, but by removing a few ceiling tiles or adding vents above doorways, heat will be lifted beyond the top of your server racks. This may or may not be a fire code violation depending on where you are, so be certain to research whether such an approach is suitable for your specific operating environment. Also, for server rooms in particular, it may be best to keep vents closed to keep cool air in and better control it if the rest of your data center has higher operating temperatures.

7. Use Blanking Panels and Fewer Servers

Normally, these are installed as “filler” components where you don’t have servers in your racks. By including blanking panels, cooler air will travel up to the top of each rack, as opposed to through and behind it. This is where the hot air dispensed by servers travels, so it’s an ideal way to minimize temperature fluctuations. Additionally, installing fewer racks of servers altogether will result in less power consumption and heat production. Opting for cloud-based systems is a great alternative to housing aisles upon aisles of heat-emitting servers, and this approach will enable your evaporative cooling system to even more efficiently maintain an even more consistent and adequate interior humidity and temperature.

Depending on your data center’s operating environment, climate, size and specific needs and layout, these evaporative cooling hacks (both direct and indirect) may help to cut operating costs, better control heat and humidity, protect against ESD and better protect sensitive equipment without sacrifice.

Helpful Links:

Why Humidify…For Data Centers
Evaporative Cooling
ASHRAE Standards & Guidelines



Speak to one of our humidification experts today to learn more about humidification solutions your Data Center.