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  • Essential Tech Check List: Building & Retrofitting Your Server Room

    Whether you're building a server room, adding on, or moving equipment there are many considerations to mull over. From the basics to alarm systems, it is important to ensure your server room is efficient and to protect your mission critical equipment. Previously in our blog, we have addressed the issues surrounding the microclimate present in your server room; however, it is critical to have an understanding of how a server room should be laid-out and managed. Use our check list as a guide for promoting security, efficiency, and productivity:

    Our Essential Tech Check List

    (1) Your Basics of Space

    • -Examine the layout of the space and how many units of space you have to work with.

    • -The walls (including ceiling) and doors should isolate the sounds that your equipment is creating.

    • -Check to see which way the door opens. There should also be no windows or other entry points other than the doors in the room.

    • -Consider the floor and whether your equipment will need raised flooring. Aim for anti-static floor finishing to prevent an unwanted static charge.

    • -Make sure there is enough clearance for racks and that they are stable enough to hold your equipment.

    • -Check for aisle clearance too, make sure your have enough room for exhaust to escape and not over-heat nearby equipment.

    • -Think about whether you need ladder racks, cabinets, shelves, patch panels, or rack mounts.

    • -Take into weight and size of each piece of equipment into consideration when designing the layout.

    (2) Keeping Your Cool

    • -Check and see what type if centralized cooling is available, whether an under the floor air distribution or an air duct system.

    • -If there is no centralized system available, get an air conditioner or cooling unit that is able to keep your equipment working productively while minimizing energy consumption and costs.

    • -If at all possible, fresh air vents are great and save on energy costs and consumption!

    • -Remove any and all radiators or other heating equipment currently present in the room. You don't need to add heat at all!

    • -Monitor your cooling system(s) to make sure it is working properly, especially when no one is there.

    • -Make sure your cooling units are not too close in proximity to your electrical equipment, think condensation and flooding. Do not place air conditioning units over your servers.

    • -Monitor the humidity to prevent static charge and electrical shorts.

    • -See if a chilled water system is in the budget or find something within the budget constraints to ensure that the hot air has somewhere to go.


    (3) Using Your Power

    • -Check to make sure that you have enough outlets to support power to all your equipment and not to overload them.

    • -Get backup power, preferably UPS to prevent data loss from power blinking or outages.

    • -Don't surpass the maximum electrical intensity per unit of space.

    • -Consider shut down capabilities of equipment (SNMP traps for example).

    • -Make sure your equipment is grounded.

    • -Monitor for power outages if you are not using back-up power systems.

    • -Monitor your back up power systems to make sure your mission critical equipment is not failing due to power loss.


    (4) Keeping Secure & Safe

    • -Have at least one phone present in the room in case of emergencies.

    • -Either check for a preexisting fire alarm system and install one if there isn't.

    • -Get a fire suppression system if there is not one there. Take into consideration of whether you will have a wet or dry suppression system and the effects that will have on your equipment. (Halon is a great choice!)

    • -Have reliable contacts to help resolve issues immediately, or form a system of escalation.

    • -Monitor for flooding, especially if this has happened historically in the past.

    • -Secure entrances/exits, this is expensive equipment with critical data, you don't want just anyone in there messing around!


    (5) Other Considerations

    • -Get the best cabling/wiring available within budget constraints. 

    • -Keep extra cabling/wiring around, because you never know when you may need it.

    • -Consider color coding wires/cables, a little more work now but definitely a time-saver in the future!

    • -Think about lighting: location & heat produced.

    • -If there is someone sharing the space, get them some earplugs! It's going to be loud in there with the equipment being used.

    • -Consider networking/phone lines being run in there and how much space you have left after that.

    • -Plan for future expansion or retrofitting (again).

    • -Leave the service loops in the ceilings.

    • -Label outlets.

    • -Get rid of dust, your equipment hates it!

    • -Check if you have a rodent/pest problem.

    • -Cover emergency shutoff switches so that it can't be accidentally triggered.

    • -Try to centralize the room in the building so that you can eliminate having to use more cabling/wiring than you need to.

    • -Meet OSHA and ASHRAE guidelines as well local codes.

    Is your server room or do you know of someone's server room that is not being monitored for temperature? Are you concerned with energy consumption, ability to monitor off-hours, and/or preventing mission critical equipment from failure? If you or know someone who is experiencing such issues, we want to hear form YOU!

    We will be giving away ONE FREE USB DEVICE per month to the server room with the most need! Valued at $129.99,Temperature@lert USB Edition is a low-cost, high-performance device that monitors the ambient temperature in your server room and alerts you via email when the temperature rises or falls outside your acceptable range.

    Please send a brief description, pictures, and/or videos to diane@temperaturealert.com for consideration! Our team will select one winner each month based on description and need, because we firmly believe that companies in every industry 

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  • Prepare for Winter: Quick Monitoring Tips for Property Managers

    Despite the low temperatures and resulting struggles of late (particuraily in the Northeast) , 2012 data remarks this year as the hottest on record (for many states). Still, even with reports of record "highs" throughout the country despite no new "lows", the daunting winter months lie ahead. For homeowners and property managers, this can be a stressful time of year; failed water heaters and/or burst pipes. We've put together this short list to help you prepare for 2013's arctic assault:

    1. Know the heat thresholds!

    Most states have different guidelines for heat and hot water within homes and apartments, from specfic temperatures to seasonal adjustments. Temperature Monitoring devices are perfect for detecting faults in room temperature. This chart from the NYC  Department of houseing preservation and development illustrates a nice rule of thumb. During the winter months, homes should be kept above 68 degrees at a minimum. For hot water, a year-round minimum of 120 degrees farenheit is the baseline for New York dwellings. Propety managers need to make sure that they fall within state guidelines on both room temperature and hot water. For specific information on your state and law requirements, please check with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    heat and hot water poster resized 600


    2. Monitor and insulate those pipes!

    As winter brings the coldest temperatures to your basement, water pipes are of particular concern as the temperature drops. Air temperature in zones with delicate heating and/or water pipes must be adequately monitored to prevent bursting. Still, the question remains, when exactly does this become a concern? For southern states (and as a general rule of thumb, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, 20 degrees farenheit* is the calculated threshold for pipe bursting. Be sure to monitor rooms with pipes closely when the temperature drops below 20 to prevent bursting

    Quick Tip! If you suspect freezing in your pipes, run a faucet or drip from the sink to help relieve some of the pressure that may be building up within. Be aware that a 1/8'' crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day! 

    Quick Tip! Double up on insulation. An exposed pipe is a hazardous pipe, and any further exposure to the elements can lead to bursting. Also, be sure to check for leaks or gaps between sealants. Cover all of the nooks and crannies! See our blog article on pipe bursting for more information and applicable solutions.


    3. Listen and Respond: Your Occupants

    Aside from our suggestions, we can't stress enough the importance of communication. For the property managers that may not always be on premises, your tenants will have the best feedback as to the real-time concerns of your building. Make sure to alert (and educate!) them to the potential hazards that cold weather can bring to their homes, and encourage tenants to address concerns or problems quickly. 

    Quick Tip!

    Devise a two-fold strategy that relies on both technology and the human element for your property. Temperature sensors can alert you to major changes or potential problems for your property, a must for a remote owner. The human monitors ensure that no small problem goes unnoticed, and the incremental insight can help prevent an impending disaster. Check out our FREE E-Book for more tips.

    *This threshold is based upon research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois. Field tests of residential water systems subjected to winter temperatures demonstrated that, for un-insulated pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, the onset of freezing occurred when the outside temperature fell to 20°F or below. This finding was supported by a survey of 71 plumbers practicing in southern states, in which the consensus was that burst-pipe problems began to appear when temperatures fell into the teens. However, freezing incidents can occur when the temperature remains above 20° F. Pipes exposed to cold air (especially flowing air, as on a windy day) because of cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation are vulnerable to freezing at temperatures above the threshold. However, the 20°F temperature alert threshold should address the majority of potential burst-pipe incidents in southern states.

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  • The Concerning Environmental Conditions in Your Server Room

    Scorching temperatures, flooding, and humid conditions all come together to form the perfect storm. However, this doesn't occur in just nature. This can also occur in your server room! Servers are expensive pieces of equipment and the last thing you want to have is a server meltdown.

    Last week we discussed how temperature plays a significant factor in maintaining the lifespan of your server. When monitoring your server room, you need to be aware of the various conditions from temperature to humidity to flooding. Reason being that any of these environmental hazards can seriously damage your servers.

    Power outages, air conditioner failures, water leaks, or high humidity can cause an array of problems. Together, these conditions can shutdown or even melt server room equipment. Flooding and high humidity can cause electrical shorts as well.

    Air conditioners and cooling units are neccesary to prevent your server room temperatures from reaching scorching temperatures. Nevertheless, power failure can happen to anyone. When the power fails, the cooling units stop cooling. Without fully-operational cooling units, server temperatures can reach catastrophic extremes. According to ASHRAE, you have about 15 minutes before a temperature problem arises, mostly due to the high rate of change. In summary, Proper cooling systems, air conditioning units, and solid monitoring practices are important for any server room.

    Tune in next week to learn more about how to effectively monitor your server room or learn more now from our free E-Book.

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  • Floodwatch: Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and Flood Sensors

    The Story

    For Hurricane Sandy victims, deterrance against mother nature was largely impossible. Large manmade structures were washed away, countless citizens were displaced, businesses suffered catastrophic damage. Even after a few weeks removed from the disaster, there are already many forgotten stories.


    The Damaged

    Take this story from the Huffington Post; in a small slice of life, a man returns to his Mochi ice cream factory to find thousands of dollars in melting ice cream in his freezers. Once a business with $1.5 million in yearly revenue, Yoshiaki Yuyama found himself surrendering to the realities of mother nature. Countless other businesses have been forced to rebuild, shut their doors, and in most cases, are squeezed into a legal battle with the insurance companies. Flood insurance is a tricky and complicated legal issue, and is the next unfortunate step for many of these business owners as they attempt to recoup their losses.


    The New Reality

    The scope of Hurricane Sandy was overwhelming for many small business owners and homeowners, and as the legal processes begin and the fingers begin to extend the blame, what can we learn from this disaster? Temperature@lert recognizes that while news outlets and Weather.com can give us the basic information on a storm; the possible effects, after-effects, and the strength of the system, businesses and homeowners must take both practical and legal steps to protect their assets. While all businesses in potential flood areas should have (at least) standard flood insurance, a legal agreement is not the only step to take. Floodsmart.gov notes that the average flood insurance claim is around $75,000, a testament to the damage that can be caused by flooding. For some smaller businesses and homeowners who are beyond danger zones, the legal option can often feel like an unneccesary extra. Hurricane Sandy's power extinguished that philosophy, as some are witnessing the costly consequences of flooding. 


    What you can do:

    Aside from the insurance question, and beside the massive damage reports of up to $50 billion, how can those in lower-risk areas prevent a disaster in the future? How can we save the businesses and homes that are outside of the sweet spot of a disaster, but within the "strike" zone? 

    -Review all emergency procedures
    -Keep steady communication: Establish means of communication (Phone, E-Mail, Social Media) with family members, employees, and superiors.

    -Use alerting devices to respond quickly.
    -Raise electrical components above projected flood levels.

    As a provider of Flood Sensors, Temperature@lert indeed believes that the value of installing any flood sensor can be invaluable in deterrance of flood damage. Flood Alert devices can provide smaller businesses and those outside the "sweet spot" with an extra level of confidence; reponsive flood sensors will alert owners to a flood problem almost immediately. From there, depending on the situation, owners and individuals can respond to their flooded zone in a timely fashion. In these cases, the difference between instant response and delayed discovery can be a blank check. See the infographic for more information on protecting your home or small business.

    Temperature Alert IG v3


    Depending on the size of your business or home, and the proximity to a disaster, a flood sensor is one way to protect yourself.

    Conventional door alarms work by circuit completion; if an alarmed door is opened, the circuit between the sensors is broken and an alarm is sounded.

    Flood Sensors work in the opposite mechanical fashion. Metal contact points are installed onto the bottom of the sensor.


    Once two of the metal contact points are in contact with water, an electrical circuit is completed and the device sends a flood alert. These devices are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and are typically resistant to distilled water or other non-flood substances. 

    When using a flood sensor, it's important to test the device regularly to ensure that it's functioning properly. Malfunctioning flood sensors can lead to severe damage, especially if there is pump automation involved, as seen in the (still) developing Kempsey situation.

    The Temperature@lert Flood Sensor is a low cost method of ensuring flood protection and alerting. Download our Free E-Book to learn more about Temperature@lert's monitoring solutions and flood sensors.

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  • Cellular Edition users can now order Water Leak sensor

    Our customers have asked, and we've listened.  IT customers, those managing server rooms and data centers use Temperature@lert's Cellular Edition as their fault-tolerant lifeline to let them know when things are getting warm. They've mentioned the need for a water leak sensor, and we've responded.

    Our latest smart, plug and play sensor is our Flood Sensor, a device that lets IT Professionals, Property Managers, Warehouse and Laboratory Facilities Personnel know when there's a water leak due to a leaky roof, pipe, chilled water unit, or sprinkler very quickly, allowing to take action before things get worse. 

    Following our legacy of products designed for real world applications, the Flood Sensor is engineered to prevent alerts due to naturally occurring condensation, helping prevent needless alarms. 

    The Flood Sensor can be added when ordering a new Cellular Edition unit or added to an existing device.  Just click on the Accessories Tab on our Cellular Edition product page to order.

    A full announcement of the Flood Sensor can be found in our Press Release section: Link to full Press Release

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