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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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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Mold: The Original Facility Management Issue

The HVAC and building maintenance industries have seen issues come and go over the years. For a time, “sick building syndrome” was on the front cover of every facility management magazine. Now green has taken the headlines. Before green, the issue facing our buildings was mold.

Although mold may be off the front page, a quick internet search of “mold in commercial buildings” shows the problem of mold is still very real and very current. For a more sobering reminder that the problem of hasn’t gone away, search the keywords “mold class action lawsuit”. The results are enough to make any facility manager consider another career.

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Air Conditioning Makes You Smarter: Increasing the Bottom Line with Better HVAC Maintenance

CareerBuilder.com released a 2018 survey stating that 46% of employees think their office is too hot to too cold. Despite untold millions of dollars spent on heating and air conditioning systems, almost half of everyone in a building is uncomfortable. Year after year complaints about office temperature outrank dirty bathrooms, noise levels, no parking, or even bad indoor quality. It seems being uncomfortable is what is on people’s minds and for good reason. Several studies have shown a direct link between an employee’s comfort and their productivity, which is one of the many reasons why proper HVAC maintenance is so critical.

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