The Stack: How To Stop Your IT Equipment Overheating In Hot Weather

As the UK basks in baking temperatures, we share some handy hints to prevent IT equipment overheating.

The sizzling summer we’re experiencing is likely to bring IT managers out in a sweat for more reasons than one. This June saw some parts of the country (Wales and Northern Ireland) post the warmest temperatures ever, while for the country as a whole, it’s in the top five since Met Office records began in 1910.

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Prolonged hot spells put additional strain on the electricity network. It makes it tougher for data centre managers to keep their server rooms cool.

The likelihood of sags, surges, and power outages also increases during heatwaves, putting the critical power protection offered by uninterruptible power supplies firmly in the spotlight.

But what steps can data centre managers take to reduce the risk of their IT equipment overheating? We share some top tips with data centre portal The Stack to help avoid a summer server room meltdown.

When the temperature rises, air conditioning units have to work much harder to provide a safe optimum operating temperature. In general, a UPS can work at temperatures as high as 40°C, but depending on the location, those temperatures can easily top 50°C during the height of summer. Do everything you can to avoid this, as it’ll speed up the wear and tear on components such as fans and batteries.

Top Tips To Prevent Server Room Meltdown In A Heatwave

To reduce the risk of overheating, a UPS should be installed in a well ventilated, temperature-controlled dedicated room. It should be out of direct sunlight and free of dust and moisture. Keep server room doors shut at all times.

The element of a UPS system most impacted by hot weather is its batteries. The sealed lead-acid (SLA) varieties most commonly used with a UPS have an optimum operating temperature ranging between 20-25°C.

As a rule of thumb, for every 10°C above this recommended temperature, battery life will half. So if your server rooms top 45°C , your batteries will only achieve around a quarter of their expected life. In many cases, batteries will be stored in their own dedicated room, while the UPS and other IT equipment will be housed in a separate location running at more suitable higher temperatures.

The additional stresses and strains placed on IT equipment during hot spells emphasise the need for regular preventive maintenance. Proactive UPS maintenance and battery testing can minimise the risk of damaging and costly failure when the mercury levels start to rise.

Finally, the advisory article turns to the wider server room and how to maintain a safe operating temperature. It explains the containment system many data centres now use. This involves mixing the hot air generated by computer equipment with an air-conditioned cool breeze.

Other top tips include keeping server doors shut at all times and upgrading to efficient fluorescent lighting.

Get some more handy hints to stop your IT equipment overheating during a heatwave at The Stack