Data centers are like a minefield ready to explode with just one miscalculation. After dealing with cooling issues, power issues, network problems, uptime maintenance, data centers have yet another red flag waving in front of them. Now what? We neglected the importance of ventilation in data center battery rooms.
What is a battery room?
A battery room in a data center is a room which houses batteries for backup and uninterrupted power supply in case of a power failure or heavy transient disturbances. It provides standby power either until the generators can be turned on or till the power is available on the grid depending on the capacity of the battery room.
The total time a battery room is capable of providing electric power to the data center is known as ride-through. The aim is to have a high ride through value while supporting maximum load.
What does one find in a battery room?
One would find several batteries connected together in a series- parallel fashion upon entering a battery room. The most common type of battery used in data centers is the lead- acid battery. A series- parallel connection of small batteries is preferred over a single large battery with higher rating as it gives a freedom to expand the rating of the battery room in future. But of course, if the data center requires more power, the battery room’s electrical capacity increases. This leads to an increase in the size of individual batteries and this increases the room’s overall DC voltage.
What are the risks involved in a battery room?
During the charging phase, lead acid batteries release hydrogen gas as a by- product. If the ventilation is not adequate, it could lead to fire hazards and even explosions. Not only that, low and high temperatures can reduce the ride- through value of a battery, thus affecting its life span. So a battery room must have optimal heating and cooling infrastructures. From a health point of view, the battery room could be toxic, corrosive or even carcinogenic.
What steps ought to be adopted to prevent the risks?
Battery rooms should, as far as possible, be physically separated from other areas; heat pooling must be avoided. All battery manufacturers stress on regular cleaning of the batteries. Accumulated dust can lead to increased corrosion. Special attention must be paid to ventilation. The air entering the battery room must be filtered for metallic dust.
Additionally, the air in the battery room should be changed at least twice every hour to remove the gases generated by the batteries. Hydrogen gas level has to be maintained in the room; ventilation requirements vary according to the type of battery used.
Sounds like a lot of work. Can I hire somebody to take care of it?
Thankfully, yes. There are a number of experts such as EnviroGuard you can hire to take care of the battery room related concerns. They provide compliance assessment and take care of periodic maintenance. They also cater to safety regulations should any untoward incident occur. All in all, data center hosts can breathe a sigh of relief and leave safe and efficient operation of data center battery rooms to the experts.
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