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Old 05-28-2013, 07:21 PM   #16
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


Thanks all for the great advice so far. For those that question/debate the entire idea of bringing this equipment into my home, I really do appreciate your feedback and have thought through much of the same. That said, I think we should keep this limited to a scope of an HVAC project. If you would like to continue to discuss my "why" or other computer related equipment, feel free to send me private messages. I don't want to bore others by turning this into a business model discussion.

Back to the venting stuff:
There are currently 6 servers in the rack and I took the BTU ratings directly from the product spec pages (plus I added 5000 BTU for potentially more machines in the future). Yes, the rating is the MAX BTUs. All have multiple power supplies. The biggest heat generator is an HP DL320S which has 12 hard drives (4070 BTU).

Some have mentioned the cost as an issue. However, unless I am missing something, the costs seems to tiny to install basically about 15' of duct work with a 'T' and a fan. Definitely, tiny compared to the heat that would be recycled in the house.

I am concerned with overheating my furnace by allowing it to suck in hot air. The air that this rack expels is currently between 95-105 degrees F. If this poses a risk to overheating the furnace, I may just take Yuri's advice and just blow the heat from the closet into the basement and let it rise naturally.

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Old 05-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #17
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


Jl....what were you using for your BTU conversion? According to the HP specs on that DL box...the watts is 575....which works out to about 1961 BTU.

Am I missing something?
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #18
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


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Originally Posted by jlds01 View Post
I am concerned with overheating my furnace by allowing it to suck in hot air. The air that this rack expels is currently between 95-105 degrees F. If this poses a risk to overheating the furnace, I may just take Yuri's advice and just blow the heat from the closet into the basement and let it rise naturally.

The small amount of heat you would be adding is really nominal considering the fact that it is mixing with your cooler return air so overheating the furnace won't be a problem.

Piping this into the return is fine for the heating season, but for cooling, you will be feeding an additional load for your AC unit to handle. While again nominal, there really are so many factors involved with doing this that you have to start to ask yourself if it is worth it. Fans and vents in the door really and truly make the most sense and will cause the least potential problems.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:54 PM   #19
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


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I looked up the manufacturer specs of my servers and the sum of all is 27,946 BTU.

From everyone's comments so far, I gather that the closet must connect to the existing system return vents. Connecting to the furnace's output is not an option due to the high pressure at the furnace. Another reason is because the furnace when then blow hot air back into the closet.

As for the fan, I think a simple "always on" fan is good enough. This is because the servers will always be powered on and always generating the heat. I don't think there is a need for it to kick on at a certain temperature, because it will hit that temperature within minutes; especially when I enclose the rack in a closet.

bcgfdc3, perhaps I misunderstood the other comments, but I did not feel that anyone stated that I would not be able to install a wye to vent between the cold air return and outside. If I am reading something wrong, please let me know?

I greatly appreciate everyone's comments and welcome any additional. I'll post pictures once the project progresses.

Venting that heat to the outside is a good idea, at face value. Problem is that the air that is blown outside has to be replaced some how. And that often means from outside air. Which in the summer can be high temp and high humidity. Costing more to cool it, then to cool the server area.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #20
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


Beenthere is correct, once you start exhausting it then hot air and dust get sucked into the house. As far as overheating the furnace no one knows 4 sure but you are free to try. Not a good idea IMO. Some furnaces are cranky and are already running within 10 deg F of tripping on the high temp overload so you may be kicking yourself if that breaks on the coldest day of the year. Not bad if you can do w/o the furnace for a day or 2 but running it too hot also shortens the life of the heat exchanger. You are asking the furnace to do something it was not designed to do. Exhausting the air could and will create a negative pressure in your house and could sucks fumes down the chimney and from a gas water heater and create CO Carbon Monoxide and damage the heater. Also the makeup air will come in your bathroom fans and range hood as those are the easiest places for it. Now you see why it is not the best idea to monkey with your house to that extent. It can be done but you REALLY REALLY got to be careful and know what you are doing.

A bit cloudy today so I cannot tell you 4 sure what is going to happen.
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Last edited by yuri; 05-28-2013 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:21 PM   #21
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


Perhaps make hot water instead, by co-locating an air-source heat-pump water heater.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:27 AM   #22
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


Do not forget to factor the noise level these beast will generate. You'll want to make sure you've got effective sound isolation. If you're building the closet just for these then be sure to de-couple it from the rest of the structure and use sound isolating fittings. Then insulate the inside of the stud walls AND ceiling.

The drone from drives and fans can really get annoying. I've got three racks and I've gone as far as to install fan controllers in the various machines to let me manually 'tune' their RPMs to something less annoying. Some a little slower, some a little faster, all tuned to be 'near enough' to each other sound-wise. Making sure not to compromise their purpose, of course.

I'd focus on making sure the space was effectively soundproofed AND had a way to add a mini-split system to handle it independently of the house's system. Start by using convection and perhaps a booster fan to circulate the air to the adjacent room. If that's not enough then I'd head to the mini-split next. Trying to graft it into your existing system without consulting an HVAC expert locally would seem like a bad plan.

Also, be sure you've got a power circuit capable of handling the load. Don't just assume a nearby outlet will handle it. This may complicate things if it requires pulling a wire back to the panel (which may or may not have enough free space for it).

Last edited by wkearney99; 05-29-2013 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:53 AM   #23
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Deflect Computer heat for a "Data Furnace"


another way to do it would be to bring an air pipe directly into the room from outside and then have one exhausting to the outside. 28,000 BTUs is a LOT of heat and you would have to move a lot of air to get rid of that heat. same amount of air as we pass thru a 2 ton AC condenser to get the same NRE, net refrigerative effect. If you don't move enough air then your machines will overheat. you could go with a 1.5 to 2 ton minisplit AC but now you are looking at $4000 or more to get one installed. you can DIY with them but need a lot of tools, vacuum pump etc so it is not as easy as it sounds on the net. Winter would be OK just release it into the house.

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Last edited by yuri; 05-29-2013 at 08:57 AM.
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