Knowledge of HVAC systems is essential for data center workers since heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are so integral to the data center.
A good HVAC technician will be familiar with a wide range of HVAC systems, controls, and installation methods. The skills needed for a thorough knowledge of HVAC include:
Let’s start with refrigeration. Knowing how to read a refrigerant pressure gauge is essential in HVAC. Refrigerant gauges play an important role in keeping moisture and debris out of an air conditioning unit and also aid in finding leaks so knowing how to read one is critical.
Also, a quick note on safety: it’s important for an HVAC technician to understand relevant safety standards and protocols. Some of these protocols include the Occupational Health and Safety Act and environmental refrigerant laws.
Another important skillset you should have when it comes to HVAC in data centers is a knowledge of pumping systems.
An understanding of pumping standards and regulations as well as the different types of pumps is an essential skill on the job.
Other important pumping system skills, terms, and definitions:
You can use a pump performance curve to calculate and track the pump’s horsepower, head pressure, volume, impeller size, and other variables, to ensure the pump is operating at its Best Efficiency Point (BEP).
Many facilities are now using primary only variable speed pumping due to its efficiency, reduced construction costs, and fewer instances of failure. But whatever type of pump and system your facility has, it’s important to know it is functioning at its optimal level so that everyday processes continue to run smoothly, and ultimately, data center servers continue to do their job.
Another important skill when it comes to HVAC in data centers is knowledge of electrical power and controls.
Some basic terms to know regarding electricity and how it is measured:
It is important to be familiar with these terms, their definitions, and what they mean in practice because while working in a data center, you will need to make decisions such as how many servers you can hook up to a power strip based on the power strip’s amp capacity.
It’s also necessary to know the difference between AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) and how they interact with each other and are converted. It should be noted that AC power is predominant in most of today’s data centers, but many are switching to DC power, due to DC power’s lower costs, greater reliability, and ability to more effectively power a larger area.
You should also be familiar with these five elements which are important to the electrical power of a data center:
The bottom line is: it is important to consider the amount of power the data center is consuming and if it is efficient. Putting HVAC skills into practice will set you on the right track.
Thank you for following along in our Data Center Maintenance Series! You can read all the previous posts in this series on our blog, or simply click below.
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