It's not Just the Heat – Measuring Humidity in the Server Room

Posted Aug 12, 2011

With temperature being the primary environmental concern in server rooms, humidity is an often forgotten threat. However, measuring humidity with Climate Guard is both easy and affordable.

Too Dry...
Low humidity increases the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD). ESD can cause immediate and catastrophic failure of electronic components. Repairing damaged components can be costly, but the larger threat comes from downtime. Routine maintenance in the server room could turn into an accidental extended service outage caused by a simple electrostatic shock.

Not all ESD events are noticeable and immediate. Electrostatic shocks can be below the threshold that a person can detect, making it impossible to know that an ESD event has occurred at all. Furthermore, the effects can be intermittent and even delayed as damaged electronic components can degrade rather than fail outright. In these cases, performance problems and crashes may appear from time to time, requiring extensive and time consuming troubleshooting.

Too Moist...
High humidity poses its own threats as well. Most electronic components are designed to operate within a specific humidity range. Disk drives are also intended to run within a range, and can fail in high humidity environments, causing loss of data and downtime.

Just Right
Recommendations for humidity levels vary to some extent, and certain equipment may have tighter requirements than normal. A range of 40–60% RH is a typical recommendation. Climate Guard’s humidity sensor is a simple and affordable way to add humidity to your server room monitoring plan. Climate Guard can alert IT personnel to both high and low humidity levels. The system will also log humidity levels over time, allowing IT or Facilities staff to detect changes and prevent problems before it’s too late.

To see how Climate Guard’s humidity sensor works, see our live demo. (Username: demo, Password: demo)