Physics nerds? Help with air cooling a server room...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by CalPoly10, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. CalPoly10 macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2006
    I am trying to efficiently cool a room that will be mostly full of servers and a few LCD screens and office equipment. There's an A/C vent in the room, but in order to really cool the room, the A/C will have to be on 24/7 and even then that won't be enough cooling.

    I've decided we should bring in outside air, but the problem lies now that the air outside where I'm located reaches 110-120 degrees from May-September.

    Basically, we're trying to figure out a cost effective (low power) way to cool air coming in from the outside.

    Any advice? Maybe a swamp cooler?
  2. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Where are you located? A swamp cooler only works well in low humidity climates.

  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    For Arizona, Shasta Pools may have an alternative use for the Geothermal heatpump systems that could drop costs using ponds, pools, and similar system with ice baths (these are sort of cool) for smaller than industrial settings.

    An alternative is a cooling tower in an AZ area, of course these days due to water conservation issues anything that consumes water is getting nixed by cities forcing people to switch to expensive electricity to cool.

    Remember with swamp cooling directly injecting the air into the server room, you are throwing moist humid air into an area sensitive to moisture, depending on where you place the cooling unit an issue with the a/c can carry water directly to the CPUs (aka, a downhill stream to the CPU can carry water directly to the room if a piper freezes or bursts).

    Look at some of the heat exchangers/hepa units for swapping inside and outside air, you might be able to use the cooler air from the computer room to cool the outside air going into the a/c unit. Some of these systems have gotten smart enough to augment a/c's and simply bypass the a/c unit when the outside air is cooler than the air post the a/c chiller unit.


    The ice bath system cranks up at night to freeze water when the rates drop at night, and use that during the daytime to reduce cooling costs when the rates go into overdrive.
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Unless you live in a region where the temperature outside essentially never gets above 60 deg F, outside air is NOT your friend. Air enters a cooling coil, and the coil can "do that cooling thing" - it might drop the air 20 or 25 degrees, probably not more than that. So your 110 degree outside air leaves the A/C unit at 85 degrees - not gonna cool your room that way. Better to run your air conditioner at 100% return air.

    Swamp coolers have a VERY limited set of applications where they're useful, and data center/server cooling would not be on that list. The humidity you add to the air can contribute to corrosion over time, and you'll have to run domestic water (under pressure) to the unit, and if that water pipe springs a leak...

    What type of building is this room in? Office, classroom, residential? Do you have an exterior wall or windows? Space above an accessible ceiling? How much power is available, and at what voltage? How many servers (in terms of kW power) do you need to cool?
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Here you go, Solid USA just had an article in the AZ paper on using solar cooling systems.

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