Data Center Talk had published an article on battery room maintenance some time back. On request for more information, DCT is publishing its first sequel article. In the first article we talked about why it is important to maintain a data center battery room. In this article, we would like to address what all one has to look into while dealing with data center battery room maintenance and how can go about it.
First and the foremost, installation. Battery room installation is slightly tricky. It requires designing and planning to best suit your data center depending on the space available and the voltage requirement. In addition to the batteries, personal handling tools have to be kept in the battery room. Not to mention the space between two batteries to minimise temperature rise. Do not underestimate the work that the battery rooms will require.
One of the most important, if not the only, factor in the battery room is to keep the hydrogen levels in check. Batteries produce hydrogen gas when overcharged. If the hydrogen level is not monitored and kept in check, the accumulating gas can cause explosions and at the least, fire hazards. Ventilation is the best solution for this problem. But just in case you know when to open another window, you might want to install a hydrogen level monitor in the battery room.
Spill is another issue that data center staff has to deal with. Batteries contain sulphuric acid which is highly toxic, highly corrosive and easily spreadable. In case the battery spills acid, it has to be immediately neutralised. Since the pH of sulphuric acid is quite high, the corrosion can start instantaneously. There are several acid spill and neutralisation kits available in the market. Invest in them. Some companies perform liquid tight spill control and electrolyte neutralization as well.
Battery rooms need to undergo regulation check and regular inspection and maintenance. Depending on your location, the signage codes and regulations may vary. You might want to check with the local authorities to ensure you have not missed any code that might get you in a soup later on. Or you can just call the experts to take care of it for you.
Most of these companies offer services in battery room maintenance on a periodic basis. But accidents can happen anytime in spite of regular maintenance. Hiring a battery expert in anticipation of an accident is not feasible. An alternative is to train the data center staff on the right usage and storage and also the maintenance procedures so that the staff is equipped to handle minor challenges; which is provided by the battery maintenance companies. Ask for it.
You can take care of all this with your in-house engineer or you can outsource it and stop worrying about it. There are companies that take care of all the maintenance needs for you. EnviroGuard and Power Service Concepts are some of them.
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