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The vital role of dehumidifiers in data security

6 min read
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Explore the challenges of humidity control in data centres, and the consequences of not protecting against high humidity in these critical environments.

Today’s leading data centres can have thousands of powerful servers running day and night to provide storage, backup, recovery and security for enormous amounts of information. The hardware that makes this possible is usually stored in one centralised location and can span rooms, entire buildings or multiple facilities.

In every case, the environment inside a data centre needs to remain at a constant to avoid the risk of overheating and condensation damage to sensitive equipment such as motherboards, hard drives and connecting sockets. Preventable outages and unplanned downtime mean extra cost, loss of business and lots of work to get equipment back up and running as quickly as possible.

In this article, we’ll cover the challenges of controlling humidity in data centres, the damaging effects of an unregulated environment and why one of Singapore’s largest operators have enlisted the help of 48 Calorex dehumidifiers to protect its new state-of-the-art facility.

Temperature and humidity are intrinsically linked

In data centres, cooling systems are essential for keeping equipment from overheating, but when an operator fails to control humidity levels, moisture will remain in the atmosphere. This causes condensation to form which increases the risk of equipment failure.

Because warm air is capable of holding more moisture than cold air, humidity levels will increase as a room heats up. The amount of moisture that the air can hold at its current temperature is measured in relative humidity (RH) as a percentage. So, as the temperature increases, moisture in the room and damp air from outside ventilation will build in the atmosphere. When the air is cooled and limited in the amount of moisture it can hold, the RH level will continue to rise until it reaches 100% or ‘dew point’. This is when the moisture in the atmosphere is released in the form of condensation.

Regulating humidity levels in one of Singapore’s largest data centre operators

The challenges of regulating conditions in data centres are intensified in locations with hot and humid climates. A traditional cooling system alone will quickly result in condensation and, when high temperatures are already an issue, using heating to dry it out is not an option.

That’s why one of Singapore's largest data centre operators, responsible for overseeing a network of world-class data security bases in the Asia Pacific, installed 48 Calorex DH 150 dehumidifiers to protect equipment and minimise outages at its new state-of the-art-facility.

Used in combination with a cooling system from a central plant, the dehumidifiers physically remove moisture from the fresh air supply. Despite running constantly, the dehumidifiers have the potential to create huge energy savings by putting less demand on cooling.

“Humidity control is essential to stop moisture in the fresh air supply from condensing into the room and potentially damaging equipment”
Marcus Bailey, Commercial Dehumidification Sales Manager

Why condensation dehumidifiers are a top contender

Efficiency is often a deciding factor for many data centres as, on average, cooling and power supplies count for up to 43% of energy costs. For large data centres, we usually recommend a high-capacity condense humidification solution.

Key benefits of condensation dehumidifiers

  • Remove moisture much more efficiently than a computer room air-conditioning (CRAC) unit

  • Achieve less than half the power consumption of other dehumidification technologies

  • Straightforward installation

  • Low capital cost

  • Minimal heat carry-over to the data centre suite

How a condensation dehumidifier works

The process

  1. Damp air is drawn into the dehumidifier and across a refrigerated coil

  2. The air is cooled below its dew point, condensing the water vapour

  3. Latent heat energy is recovered and re-used

  4. Cooled air passes across the condenser and reheated

  5. The warm dry air is then returned to the room at the required humidity

To find out more about protecting your data facilities from the dangers of humidity and the options available, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Related products

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The Variheat range are sophisticated air handling units incorporating heat pump dehumidification technology.

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Large-capacity floor-standing dehumidifiers

With integral humidistat, and options for heating, condensate pump and external condenser unit, and high-pressure fan, you can be sure in your space being controlled to your demands.

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The DH 600 high-capacity floor-standing dehumidifier is self-contained with fully automatic operation.

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The DH 150 high-capacity floor-standing dehumidifier is self-contained with fully automatic operation.

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With high moisture extraction for low energy use, as well as being corrosion free and easy to clean, these dehumidifiers are ideal for keeping humidity under control.

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Wall-mounted dehumidifiers

The DH 60 is our number one solution for drying out clothes and equipment in fire stations and recreational drying rooms as these high-performance dehumidifiers recirculate the air and physically remove moisture from it.

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