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What is an acceptable humidity level in a server room?

Posted on 2010-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We have a sensor hooked up in our server room, which has a humidity flucutuation between 63 and 66, what is an acceptable level of humidity and fluctuation in humidity level?
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Question by:syeager305
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7 Comments
 
LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 33726918
"Set the humidity control to consume the least amount of power"!

jppinto
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Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 33726927
Normally relative humidity should be maintained at a level between 30%-50%. 40% is the ideal!

jppinto
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 33727108
Would have loved to have 60%RH.  We run between 18-30% because of ambient air, and there's always a static problem.  When I ran a film output device, we had to run two banks of humidifiers to keep it at 50%.

The spec for the imagesetter was the most restrictive (computers were more lenient).  Spec was 50-60%RH.

Anything below 80% and non-condensing is OK for computers.  20% is low-end, but you might have problems there.  Coming from the dry side, try to target coming _up_ to 30-40%.  From the wet side, try to target 50-60%.
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:syeager305
ID: 33727189
aleghart,

So, just for my own edification: what are the potential problems with too little humidity, under 20%?
What are the potential problems with too much humidity, above 80%?

How can I change the humidity in a server room?
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aleghart earned 2000 total points
ID: 33727510
Under 20% = static problems.  With films, a static discharge will show itself as a bright line straight from one side of the film to the other.  Personnel will receive small shocks on a constant basis.  Equipment may spontaneously reboot or hang from static discharge.  We have grounded mats all around our racks.

Getting a static shock while your hand is inside equipment is frightening.  I've incurred contusions and cuts because I jerked my hand or arm, thinking I was being shocked by live power.

After losing a switch module, we also installed a grounding device (supplied by HP...but we didn't know what it was for).  It clamped onto the serial/console port on the front of the switch & had an RJ45 jack.  They told us to plug any wire, Cat5, Cat3, telephone into it before plugging into gear on the rack.  All it did was send the pins to ground, getting rid of static buildup.

Over 80% and we had problems with film stretch.  Not common in a server room. :)  Anecdotally, we noticed more fan noise when humidity was over 80%.  A tech told us it was the fan bearings, and true to his advice to ignore it...the sound went away as the equipment warmed up.

The biggest worry with high humidity was condensation.  We found this during the summer when the HVAC system would cycle off or ice up & shut down.  Massive amounts of humidity built up within 1/2-hour, requiring us to open up the server room door.  Enough condensation to appear on the glass window in the door.  That condensation can cause problems with short circuits and corrosion.
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Author Closing Comment

by:syeager305
ID: 33727915
Excellent, thank you! :)
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Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 33729609
syeager305, thanks for the points on my input :(
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