Millions of Square Feet + Millions of Dollars: PreVent® and Data Center HVAC Units

The first in a series of articles detailing how PreVent filters save various industries time and money. This article’s topic: Data Centers.

Data Center HVAC UnitsWhy are data center HVAC units so important? Well, every business needs cool, clean air with adequate circulation. But perhaps no business is more dependent on it than data centers, which are in the business of housing hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of square feet of technology.

Inside a data center, the computers and servers can increase indoor temps in a hurry. Without cool air coming through, the equipment can easily overheat. The downtime from poor HVAC performance alone can cost data centers hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute. The heat can also do lasting damage to the equipment. As temperature and humidity rise, condensation can damage the technology from within, eroding electronics. That means millions of dollars in equipment are at risk.

The Challenges of Cooling and Data Center HVAC Units

Having clean, crisp air circulating effectively in a data center is critical. But all that cooling power is expensive. It takes as much energy to cool data centers throughout the United States as it does to cool more than three million American homes! Which means it’s not only important to keep the HVAC units working, but keeping them working as efficiently as possible so they don’t waste energy. Keeping those data center HVAC units in peak operating condition, however, can be a challenge. That’s because data centers are often located in large open spaces surrounded by trees and nature. As a result plants, bugs, pollen and cottonwood get blown into the air intake systems of those rooftop HVAC units, decreasing performance, increasing repair bills, dramatically reducing the equipment’s lifespans and demanding frequent (and expensive) cleaning. Other factors, such as nearby construction, can also greatly increase soil and dust and imperil data center HVAC units, as can many seasonal events such as falling leaves.

Data Center HVAC Unit Problems, Solved

Clearly, these rooftop units need to be protected from those outside elements for optimal operation. While protecting a small group of HVAC units can be daunting in itself, data centers may have dozens, or even a hundred, vulnerable outdoor data center HVAC units. Fortunately, we’ve developed the PreVent system to protect them. Our customizable PreVent air intake filter screens fit over any size air intake opening. Secured in place with our patented MagnaMount® earth magnet fasteners, these screens can be put on, or removed, in minutes, while keeping units free from the leaves, dirt and other contaminants that threaten to blow in.

PreVent to the Rescue in Franklin Park

We are a tremendous resource for many data centers, and work closely with the two largest co-location providers in the world. Their data centers can be found coast-to-coast, and many Fortune 500 corporations rely on them. These providers can’t afford any sort of cooling disruption that can impact uptime, downtime incidents and costs.

One of those facilities is in Franklin Park, Illinois, home to a massive 800,000 square foot data center complex split between three buildings. The facility is located next to the Cook County Forest Preserve where cottonwood seeds are a persistent problem. They were constantly getting sucked into strainers on those rooftop HVAC units and creating clogs. Not only did this damage machines and mar cooling performance, but coil cleanings were required every quarter. With a hundred data center HVAC units, this took their team over a week to clean the equipment. With 100 units, you can only imagine how many repair issues they had to deal with, too.

We fitted the large cooling towers of the Franklin Park facility with custom-sized PreVent air intake filters. Each PreVent filter could now be brushed down in minutes, reducing a coil cleaning job that would take more than a week to just a couple of hours of brushing. Thorough coil cleanings now need to be done just once a year, instead of every quarter. The resulting cost savings, for both labor and chemicals, has been enormous.

Saving Data Centers Money

PreVent filters pay for themselves a thousand times over with increased equipment longevity, reduced maintenance costs and lower energy bills. At Permatron, we are experts at meeting the air filtration needs of data centers, or any company, that wants to reduce their HVAC costs, while providing a cool, clean indoor environment for staff and equipment (in other words, everyone).

Contact us to get started with the PreVent System.

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