Re: cooling for a computer room
I work for a small computer consulting firm that supports small businesses. In my experience, simply having an exhaust fan is inadequate unless it moves a lot of air. My rule of thumb is roughly one cubic foot per minute per watt of power used. You want to keep the room temperature below 75*F (cooler is better). At about 85*F, you'll start experiencing server crashes and other failures. On the other hand, you don't want to go TOO cold, because that can introduce humidity and condensation problems (mid- to low 60s is the lowest).
You don't want to tie into the building's A/C system, because in the winter it's not A/C, it's heat. You don't want to be pumping heat into your server room. If your building's HVAC system shuts off at night, the ambient temperature in the office may rise high enough to prevent proper cooling of the server closet, even if you have otherwise adequate airflow.
I recommend a dedicated air conditioner for your server room. Look for something called a ductless split system -- there is a compressor unit that's set outside the building and refrigerant lines are routed into the server room, where there is a wall-mounted unit containing both a fan and the evaporator coils. This interior unit looks kind of like the inside half of a window air conditioner. Here's one example:
I don't know what the cost of these systems is, and installation is not a DIY project. If you have only one server or the space is small, then go ahead and try just an exhaust fan. Make sure it moves plenty of air. For energy efficiency, don't exhaust it to the outside. You probably don't want it exhausting directly into your office, because that would be too noisy.
Last edited by Fencepost; 05-19-2009 at 11:56 AM.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.