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ideal temperature for equipment room?

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  • Uncle Michael
    replied
    Those pesky quantitative questions!

    If you are successful in transferring the hot air to the garage, then the question is, Where will the replacement air come from? Presumably it will come from the (conditioned) air in the house, which will, in turn, be replenished by outside air. If that air is cooler than the air that is exhausted, then maybe you win.

    It's not obvious that you will save much energy, but it may be worth a try. Is there a way to measure the effect? Will it be big enough to measure? If it isn't, does it matter?

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  • completelyhis
    replied
    Mike,
    I was thinking about pulling the hotter air out of the room by having a low powered 2" fan running 24/7 on a 2" conduit tube that I installed going from the equipment room to the garage. I have two of them that I put in for future wiring access, but do not see in needing more than the one any time soon.

    I don't know how effective it would be to do that, and if that would use more electricity than just letting the heat "bleed" into the rest of the basement and compensating by running the hvac a bit more to keep the basement cool.

    Ian.

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  • Uncle Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by completelyhis View Post
    ...with summer around the corner, ... I'd like to reduce the amount of cooling I need to do in the basement by NOT venting that room into the adjacent rooms. in other words, if I can keep the equipment room @ 80 degrees, and the rest of the basement at 70 (which it tends to stay at naturally), then i won't have to run the AC in the basement very much - by isolating and containing the heat. i don't want to do that to the detriment of the equipment, though. Ian
    Ian,
    From a thermodynamics standpoint (sorry, my background is pchem ) the equipment is generating heat at a rate that is essentially independent of the ambient temperature (unless high temp causes components to fail, of course). Virtually all of the heat is most likely being dissipated to the basement or the room directly above, depending on air flow and insulation.

    That will not change if you keep the room hotter. Yes, it will reduce the load initially until the temperature differential is sufficient to overcome the insulation value of the enclosure. But, in the end, the heat will have to go somewhere. The only way I can see that you can affect the amount of heat going to the rest of the basement is to deliberately funnel the heat to some other place, like the return duct of the HVAC system or directly outside.

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  • dschoppe
    replied
    Originally posted by completelyhis View Post
    Don,
    How do you filter the air? I feel like I'm always going in there and dusting/vacuuming, but it all comes right back!
    I'll try to explain but will follow with photos if interested...

    My main HA closet is about 3x5 with a 10 or 12 foot ceiling. It was originally built with a louvered door and one HVAC floor duct bringing air into the closet, exhausting out through the louvered door. A damper / booster fan is inside the HVAC duct (closed when heating, open otherwise) and I simply added filter cloth to the underside of the HVAC floor duct grill (nothing fancy, just cut to size and sealed with duct tape, replaced periodically).

    I found the above solution wasn't ideal from a cooling perspective. It worked fine with AC running, but otherwise not enough passive air movement. So, next I built a thin panel to seal the door louvers from the inside, added an active fan intake to an opening in the panel at the bottom of the the door as well as a Panasonic remote-style bathroom fan to extract hot air from the very top of the closet and send it via a duct out through an opening in the top of the closet door. The 120cm intake fans at the bottom of the door draw air in through a filter. When looking at the door from the outside, none of the duct openings are visible as they're hidden behind the stock louvers (WAF good).

    To ensure that air only enters the closet via filtered intakes, I next built and installed a small sill / stop spanning the bottom of the closet door opening to block airflow beneath the door. The stop is easily removable with just two screws into the side jam, allowing me to roll-out my equipment rack for example. Finally I added weather stripping around the door jam and to the face of the sill / stop so that the door is completely sealed when closed.

    The closet remains essentially dust free now. Temperature in the closet can still reach into the mid-80s at times (between seasons for example) but is usually kept to within 10 degrees F of the adjacent hallway. Inside the closet I continue to use spot cooling for hotter running components as described earlier, and I have a tower style, oscillating fan to ensure overall air movement within the closet space.

    Don

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  • completelyhis
    replied
    Don,
    How do you filter the air? I feel like I'm always going in there and dusting/vacuuming, but it all comes right back!

    all of my equipment is on a rack with wheels.

    bottom shelf:

    Harmon Kardan AVR 325
    Pioneer 5.1 surround sound on top of it.
    audio matrix on top of Pioneer (the matrix doesn't any feet/spacers, so it's probably building heat up in the Pioneer. I need to fix that).

    next shelf up:
    Quad Core 2.4 ghz pc w/3 gb ram. also on this shelf is my UPS as well as two 5 bay sata raid arrays.

    Next shelf up:
    CRT monitor that is almost NEVER on.

    Next shelf up:
    junk.

    behind it in the room on the walls is all of my other gear...I've got a 2 1/2" thick spinal cord coming into the rack from the top. That's about it.

    Obviously the majority of the heat is on the bottom two shelves.

    Leave a comment:


  • buvens
    replied
    Back in the days of "The big iron" We actually had some gear get too cold from the under floor vents and had to channel it away.

    I worked with equipment since 65 and most computer centers are pretty cold to the point that a smock felt good. But saying that, I also worked in area's where the rooms were in the 70's without a problem. Usually if the area is comfortable to work in, it is probably fine.
    Like was mentioned earlier, the temp inside the boxes is what you are concerned with.

    Here my stuff is all shoved in a 3 X 8 under the steps closet. About 7 ft high on one end dropping to about a foot on the other. We replaced the door with a louvered one a few years ago just for a little better air flow. Most of the old gear, HS, Stargate etc has been in there since the early 90's with out a problem. Today it has DVR's, modulators an ELK system plus all the switches router, etc.

    The only thing I do is in the middle of the summer when the temp starts getting up in the high 80's is to add one of the little 12" fans from Wally World to circulate the air.

    I know it is not the best but it has worked for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • dschoppe
    replied
    Originally posted by aslamma View Post
    Cooler is better. Cycling is bad, but those are not large ranges. In general I don't think you have a real problem.

    What a lot of people don't get is that ambient temp is one thing, but local temp is more important. Expose your equipment as much as you can so that it gets good ventilation. Since it's in a closet, can you take cases off or mod them with extra holes? Case temps regularly get to 100+ even in a cold room. You can nulify this by just using better thermal management if possible.
    A low cfm (nearly silent) 120mm PC case fan will do wonders when placed on top of a hot component such as an amplifier or DVR if the chassis has sufficient vents. If your HS server is co-located with the components you can power the fans by tapping off of the PC's supply, or you can use a small 12v wall-wart to power them. With most components I've found that positioning the fan(s) to draw hot air from the top of the chassis (cooler air in from the bottom) works best but its worth experimenting. Sticking some rubber or felt feet to the bottom corners of the fan(s) quell any noise from vibration. Keep in mind that more dust will be drawn or pushed into the equipment if you don't filter the air in some way. In my case, I filter all air into my HA closet so all equipment remains clean.

    Don

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Cooler is better. Cycling is bad, but those are not large ranges. In general I don't think you have a real problem.

    What a lot of people don't get is that ambient temp is one thing, but local temp is more important. Expose your equipment as much as you can so that it gets good ventilation. Since it's in a closet, can you take cases off or mod them with extra holes? Case temps regularly get to 100+ even in a cold room. You can nulify this by just using better thermal management if possible.

    Leave a comment:


  • completelyhis
    replied
    Ok, i'm noticing a patter here :-)

    Would it be better to have it consistently @ a bit of a higher temperature (say 85 degrees) or better to have it fluctuate between 60-80 throughout the day?

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  • jasv
    replied
    In our IT department we try to keep our equipment rooms/data centers in the low 70s. I agree with the lower the better.

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  • completelyhis
    replied
    well, it's in my basement. So far this winter I haven't had to cool it at all. and i did what you suggest - vent it to the outside. this reduced my need to heat the adjacent rooms :-)

    Problem is, with summer around the corner, the opposite is now true. I'd like to reduce the amount of cooling I need to do in the basement by NOT venting that room into the adjacent rooms. in other words, if I can keep the equipment room @ 80 degrees, and the rest of the basement at 70 (which it tends to stay at naturally), then i won't have to run the AC in the basement very much - by isolating and containing the heat. i don't want to do that to the detriment of the equipment, though.

    that's the story behind my questions about diminishing return, how warm is too warm, etc.

    Thank you,

    Ian

    Leave a comment:


  • Uncle Michael
    replied
    If the surrounding area is cooler than the equipment room, you might be able to put in some vents in a wall or the door and use a fan to reduce the need to run AC just for the one room.

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  • wpiman
    replied
    Originally posted by completelyhis View Post
    Gotchya. I'm sure there's a diminishing rate of return, though, at some point. Also, if it gets to cold I could start to run into moisture/condensation issues, right?
    Not on the PC you wouldn't. Condensation forms where the "cold" is. ie. the coils of the air conditioning. That is why window air conditioners drip water. This can be a problem if you leave a laptop in a car and then bring it in the house- but shouldn't be for you.

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  • completelyhis
    replied
    Gotchya. I'm sure there's a diminishing rate of return, though, at some point. Also, if it gets to cold I could start to run into moisture/condensation issues, right?

    Leave a comment:


  • Rupp
    replied

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