A venting question... want to put rack in utility closet

HeBeCB

New Member
Dec 5, 2014
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Bought a new house and i'm getting it wired up. In my previous place we had an attached garage so I ran all the wires there and that was just fine for all my equipment. In our new place I'd *like* to put it in our utility closet or, failing that, in an under-the-stairs closet or maybe in my media room (the first is way more preferable).

My concern is, that's where the hot water heater is (on-demand with a small storage tank and the feeds for in-floor radiant heating) as well as a "heat return" unit (I guess this is a Canadian thing... never heard of it when living in the states). I've gotta put a temp probe in there to really measure but I'm guessing the ambient temp gets up to 80F. Each of those units *does* have their own venting system.

So, working on the assumption I need to do something about this... just mulling my options. I could set up vents to the outside if I needed to (the rack would be on an outside wall). Would prefer to not have that expense though. I'm worried that just putting bottom pull and top push fans in would not be sufficient. Putting vents on the utility room's door out into the house (as others have done here with their closets) is probably not gonna work

Any thoughts/experiences to share?
 

JSchuricht

Active Member
Apr 4, 2011
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I would be worried about electronics next to things that create heat and hold water. That being said, I am building a dedicated closet for some of my equipment that doesn't have an exterior wall. For venting I am going with a mini split AC unit.
 
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Dreece

Active Member
Jan 22, 2019
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I personally would advise against putting anything of serious value into a tight place surrounded by any form of water system. (sods law has a nasty habit of paying us a visit, a told you so moment)

Attic crawl space?
 
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Tom5051

Active Member
Jan 18, 2017
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You'd need a split system a/c or some other form of cooling, even a couple of servers and a switch in an enclosed space will get too hot. The water is also a concern.
 

Samir

Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2017
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As others have mentioned, water and heat are bad.

But to the point of what you're trying to do, depending on what type of active venting there is, you may just have to beef that up for the additional btus from the servers. Or if those systems have some sort of pwm feature, just set them to 100% and see how much cooler the room becomes.

That heat return line sounds like part of a hot water re-circulatory system which effectively means you've got a radiant heating system in that room as well.

As far as the water and temp concerns, you can always monitor the server temps, but you could also install a vertiv geist setup so you can monitor the room temps and humidity. I just finished a project with their products and was nicely impressed. In fact, I was just noticing how the humidity was showing an uptick since the site has had rain for the last few days.
 

Sean Ho

seanho.com
Nov 19, 2019
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The air return can be a good thing. If you have a heat recovery ventilator, you can duct your server exhaust to its indoor air return. During the heating season (presumably, most of the year in Canada), heat from the server exhaust together with heat from other return air will help to pre-heat fresh outside air, lessening the load on your heater core. Intake for the servers would be from the house (during the heating season) or an outside fresh air intake (during the cooling season).