Mission Critical Cooling: Focus on Data Centers

A 2016 report by the Ponemon Institute studied 63 data centers across the United States and calculated that the average cost of a large data center outage is $740,357. That astounding number probably makes IT professionals and data center maintenance staff a little nervous. No one wants to be the person who made a mistake that cost the company $740,357! Businesses that cannot keep data centers online also lose customers, costing the company even more money. Finally, there is the high price to rebuild their reputation and bring customers back. The pressure to keep data centers up and running has never been so high.

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Keeping Colds and Flu at Bay in Corporate America

Millions of people suffer each year with the misery of runny noses, coughs, and sleepless, fever-filled nights. In the United States alone, the flu results in $7 billion a year in lost productivity and 17 million missed work days. Pause on that statistic for a moment. Every year the US economy misses out on $7 billion dollars of productivity because people get sick from the flu. It’s a staggering number, but facility managers and maintenance supervisors can be the difference between a building where people are healthy and working or sick and sent home.

In addition to the productivity toll, the flu can cause serious complications and even death. The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst in history with an estimated 80,000 flu related deaths. Doctors are hopeful this year’s flu will not be a repeat of last year. However, in late October the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first pediatric flu death of the season. This sad news is a reminder that the winter flu season has begun and that flu remains a very real public health concern.

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Coil Corrosion Causes and Reduction

Air conditioning manufacturers have been struggling with a serious problem the last several years; a problem that has left homeowners and small businesses across the country without reliable air conditioning and has led to at least three class-action lawsuits in the United States and Canada. The problem is pitting, corrosion, and eventual failure of copper evaporator coils in residential and light commercial air conditioning units. The HVAC industry is changing its processes in response.

An air conditioning unit works by moving pressurized refrigerant between an outdoor condenser coil and an indoor evaporator coil. Because evaporator coils are inside a building and protected from the elements, it would seem that evaporator coils would last a lifetime safely hidden away in an attic or closet. But it is precisely because the evaporator coil is sealed away so tightly that coil corrosion is becoming a problem.

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Heat Exchanger and Boiler Maintenance: Chemical Descaling

Have you ever ironed a pair of dark pants only to have small white flakes fall out of the iron’s steam holes and make white streaks across your clothes? This is especially a problem in older irons that have never been cleaned. Your iron is in many ways like a commercial steam boiler. After a long time making steam, a boiler can clog up with white flakes and get trapped in the boiler system. This white buildup in both the steam iron and the boiler is a layer of calcium and other minerals called scale, or sometimes limescale. As the water evaporates, the minerals in the water don’t turn into steam when the machine is in use; they are left behind to form scale inside the equipment.

As annoying as those little white flakes are for your dark pants, imagine what those deposits do to the heating elements of large industrial equipment like boilers and heat exchangers. On some equipment, the scale buildup can be inches thick. An inch, or even a much thinner layer of scale is more than an annoyance, it’s a serious maintenance problem that diminishes system efficiency, reduces heat transfer, and increases operating costs. Just like maintaining and cleaning your steam iron, facility managers have to do the same for their heat exchangers and boilers.

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The Importance of Clean Condenser Water Systems

Water Wasters Poorly-Maintained Cooling Towers Foul Up SavingsCommercial HVAC systems account for between 40 and 50 percent of a building’s total energy use. With one system being responsible for so much cost, facility managers and building owners have an obligation to their tenants to reduce the system’s energy use while still keeping people comfortable. On larger buildings with water cooled chillers and cooling towers, these complicated pieces of cooling equipment are interconnected. When once piece of equipment is not working well that inefficiency spreads throughout the entire HVAC system driving up energy costs. Through good maintenance practices, facility managers can have equipment that operates efficiently and keep energy costs at normal levels.

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