There are a few important questions that facility and data center managers need to ask themselves to make sure they are on the right track in terms of timely and proper computer room air conditioning (CRAC) equipment maintenance; these include: What maintenance needs to be done on the equipment? When? How often?
Preventive data center maintenance is the best approach a company can take to limit the amount of downtime on equipment in critical environments. Within the CRAC system the most common failures tend to be high temperature or high head failures - both of which can be prevented by changing air filters frequently as well as by power washing the condenser to maximizer air flow and to maintain the operation of the unit.
I recently came across an article on SearchDataCenter.com, "Best practices for maintaining a data center CRAC unit". This article reviews several best practices that are important for maintaining your data center CRAC unit. Here are some of the items it covers:
Cooling is too critical to leave to chance
Fear of intentional cooling shutdown
What CRAC unit maintenance should entail
Taking care of mechanical items
The importance of refrigerant levels, electrical testing
Making time for external maintenance
Be sure to take a look at the article, it offers some great information in regards to maintaining your Computer Room Air Conditioning units.
And don't forget - performing maintenance can help you save energy
Performing maintenance can also help equipment run more efficiently, which in turn helps with the longevity of the equipment, but more importantly saves money by reducing the amount of energy the equipment uses. Scopes of work to help equipment run more efficiently should include regular checks of the quality of fluids, frequently changing air filters, and power washing condenser coils to name a few. Checking fluids is essential because contaminants can result in diminished performance. Changing filters frequently is important because it will maximize the airflow in the equipment. One of the most important maintenance checks on CRAC equipment is regularly cleaning the condenser coils. Condensers are known to draw in dirt, pollen, and other debris that restricts airflow and reduces efficiencies. According to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, facilities in which proper computer room air conditioning preventive maintenance is completed will use approximately 15% to 20% less energy than those where systems are allowed to deteriorate. With the high cost of energy it is crucial to maintain the equipment in a data center in order to take advantage of efficiencies and save money.
Companies should work with their maintenance provider to develop a scope of work - with the exorbitant cost of downtime, a strong preventive maintenance program is not an option - it's a must!