temperature@lert blog

Go Back
  • Preparing a House for Vacation: 3 Points of Concern

    Prepare a House for your Vacation

    Especially for northeast dwellers, the spring and summer months are the ideal seasons for vacationing, leisure, and relaxation. Still, leisure and relaxation can be difficult to achieve if your home isn't protected. Simple points like temperature and security represent the main concerns to keep in mind before leaving your home. Keep your priorities straight: prepare your house for your vacation before you leave, and stay informed while you're away.

    1. 'Observed' Security: There are many different considerations for security in a vacation house, but we'll focus on a few key areas. We can all imagine the horror of a vandalized/infiltrated home when returning from vacation, and the points of concern extend far beyond a simple 'door alarm'. A dark house with an empty garage can draw attention to your home for a burglar, even if you've coated the windows with 'Protected By' stickers. Ultimately, the observed security, or the "look" of an empty house can play a large role in protection. By installing lights for doors, paths, and window areas, the house will appear "highlighted" versus a dark house without illumination. For a burglar, anything that is highlighted or illuminated is an inexpensive deterrent to their operations.  Motion detectors are an excellent example of 'observed' protection; the spotlight flash from the sensor works like a visual alarm, pushing would-be snoopers away from doors, windows, and other exterior parts of the home. Again, there is a reason that most burglaries occur at night, so be sure to use light to your advantage whenever possible. 

     

    2. Helping Hands: This is a highly underrated concept, and unfortunately, not enough homeowners have trusted/active relationships with their neighbors. When preparing a house for vacation, a trusted neighbor is an incredibly valuable lifeline. If you do have a good relationship with your neighbors, exchange contact information and provide them with a set of keys. If you have pets, this is preferable to giving a key to a house sitter or dog walker (whom you may or may not know). A trusted neighbor can hear, see, and report anything irregular or concerning. This level of human protection can be very helpful, and with a friendly neighbor, you avoid hiring a house/pet sitter that may come from an unknown source. Further, if you ever have a 'Kevin!' moment, an urgent change or forgotten duty is literally a phone call away. Don't place too much reliance on the neighbor for overwatch; this is merely an extra line of human defense while you're taking a vacation.


    3. Automation Technologies: Even an attentive and responsible neighbor may miss a critical problem or issue. For all of the safeguards that one can have, automation technologies and alerting systems are a 24/7/365 shield against fire, flooding, and humidity. Especially during the summer months, a flood may go unnoticed to even the most responsible of neighbors/house sitters, and by the time of discovery, it may already be too late. In preparation for a vacation, keep your home protected by flood, temperature, and humidity sensors for added safety. Alerts are the unbiased window into the status of your home, and with a trusted neighbor, you can divert immediate attention to the problem as it occurs and prevent further trouble/disaster. On the other hand, temperature sensors can provide insight into the status of many other systems in your home (air conditioners, etc), and abnormal temperature readings can indicate a variety of problems. Specifically for pet owners, high temperatures can be suffocating and can endanger the pets over time. With an automated temperature alerting system for flooding, temperature, and/or humidity, you can stay fully protected against a disaster as you relax on the beach or countryside. When preparing your house for vacation, monitor as many sensitive points as possible.



    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Server Room is too Hot?

    Is your Server Room too hot?

    If you suspect so, then you've come to the right place. For those unfamiliar with the potential hazards that a "hot server room" can cause, pay close attention! A neglected server room, that is, one with inadequate monitoring and poor supervision, is a serious hazard for your business. Remember, much of your company infrastructure (from web applications or database servers) lives and breathes on your server racks.


    According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), when the server room cooling system fails, you have about 8 minutes before temperatures reach dangerous levels for equipment. Even if equipment isn't knocked offline from a temperature spike, exposure to extreme temperatures can seriously decrease 
    the life of the equipment if your server room is too hot.

    Be wary of the potential hazards of an unsupervised server room. Try explaining this picture to your C-Suite.


    Ouch! Next time you realize that "my server room is too hot", remember that pre-emptive methods and monitoring devices are your best resources. These best practices will outline an ideal monitoring strategy for your server room. 

     _____________________________________________________________________________

     

    Monitor Temperature:

    Keep a logic-based system to prevent overheating. For example, if temperatures rise above 24°C, then an automated cooling unit should activate to counteract the rising temperature. 

     

    Monitor Humidity:

    Ensure that the humidity within your server room is not too high or too low. Low humidity levels can increase the liklihood of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD). Significant voltage can build up between dry surfaces and cause catastrophic failure if the humidity is too low. By contrast, high humidity levels can translate to increased rust of equipment. Keep in mind: the following suggestions serve as a general rule of thumbBe sure to check equipment manuals for pre-specified instructions on humidity levels if you suspect that your server room is too hot.


    Potential Risks for 40% Humidity and Below

    -ESD (Electrostatic Discharge)

    -Malfunctioning Equipment (Due to short circuits) 

    ______________________________________________________________
     

    Potential Risks for 60% Humidity and Above

    -Monolayers of water on surfaces

    -Rusting

    -Disk Drive Wear (corrosion/friction of disk head)

     

     

    (General Recommendation for Temperature: 10°C -28°C)
    (Ideal Ambient Temperature: 20-21°C)

    (Humidity: Between 40-60%)

     

    Monitor your Monitor!

    You can't sit in the server room all day, and what about after hours? Do you know when your server farm is beginning to overheat? Can you always rely on the designated employee to monitor the room and alert you?

    How do you know if humidity levels are rising on Saturday night? (while you're at home) Will you then "hope" that your racks aren't rusted by Monday morning? Find yourself hoping that your server room isn't too hot?

    Don't hope, be prepared! The best deterrant to these obstacles is a robust monitoring system. Temperature@lert's combination humidity and temperature sensor pack an excellent punch for holistic monitoring of your server room, and will prolong the shelf-life of your server equipment.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • 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 


    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • It's Hot! It's Cold! Oh No... It's Your Fluctuating Server Room Temperature Again...

    We know that every room, especially a server room, has its own microclimate. Even sensors that are inches apart can read different values! Although similar applications might share the same temperature threshold range, every sensor placement location is unique. It sounds strange; that there would be such fluctuations in temperature within inches, but this happens because your server room has its own minature weather pattern!

    So how do you figure out the correct temperature range for monitoring your server room? Or where to place your sensor? As many conditions as there are for the actual ourdoor weather patterns, there are many variables for sensor placement and operational range because of the changing indoor microclimate.

    Essentially, in order to determine the right thresholds for your server room "environment", you need to acquire adequate baseline knowledge. This process is called "baselining", which involves monitoring your server room first to establish a history of normal conditions. Temperature is a significant threat to your equipment and in order to battle this, you need to discover and establish your server room's microclimate (i.e. baselining)!


    Baselining is basically achieved through studying the space of your server room while considering the components within it. Thic can be done to determine the proper ranges for both temperature and humiditySo what spots are the most critical for consideration when it comes to sensor placement?

    1. Hot Spots
    At the bare minimum, place at least one sensor in a central location in the room. Note: every room has its own mini weather pattern, and conditions from one part to another can vary based on what the room contains and where vents/returns are located. The simplest rule of thumb is that heat rises. So, the higher the sensor placement, the warmer the temperature

    2. Cooling Vent Locations
    Whether it is an air conditioner, economized cooler, or another chilling device, it will affect the sensor reading depending on proximity of the sensor to the vent. If you want to monitor whether your cooling unit may be going out at different times,place a sensor in the air duct and you can determine when the cooling unit is off. Placement of a sensor in close proximity to the cooling unit may cause the sensor to pick up cooling unit "cycles", sending you false alerts in the process.

    3. Exhausts
    Besides cooling vents, you need to also consider hot vents from server cabinets or compressors. Placing a sensor near or in between these areas is crucial as high temperatures can cause damage to hardware. The exhaust-based alerts will draw attention to the high temperatures within the servers, allowing you to prevent loss of hardware (and revenue!)

    4. Ancillary Humidification Systems
    These systems help control humidity. Too much humidity can cause condensation, which leads to electrical shorts. Not enough humidity causes one to have quite the mini-electrifying experience with static electricity at its peak. Place your humidity sensor in a location seperate from the ancillary humidification system in order to prevent the sensor from getting shorted and to avoid false humidity readings.

    By monitoring temperature and humidity, one can have early warning of any disasters looming in your server room. It is always better to prevent a disaster rather than mop up after it (speaking of, flood sensors are great too!). If you need assistance in determining the best practices and routines for your server room, please feel free to shoot me an email:diane@temperaturealert.com.

    Happy Monitoring!

    Full story

    Comments (1)

  • Friday the 13th Promotion = 13% Off Your New Sensor

    Did you know that an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States have a fear of Friday the 13th? Well have no fear, luckily Temperature@lert was here to save you this past Friday the 13th. Having started on April 13, 2012, Temperature@lert will continue to offer 13% off any new sensor purchase (temperature, temperature/humidity, or flood sensor) through the month of April. There's one more week left

    Just enter in promo code:  FRI41312 after you place your sensor of choice into your basket.

    *Limit One Discount Per User

    Feel free to contact us for more information info@temperaturealert.com regarding this April Promotion.

     

    Full story

    Comments (1)

  • Temperature, Humidity or Both, That is the Question

    Historically, temperature monitoring has been one of the most important factors to monitor for sensitive applications.  Whether you’re monitoring server rooms to tell when the AC goes off and jeopardizes costly electronic equipment containing valuable data, or a medical office refrigerator containing perishable vaccines, temperature is one of the most critical parameters to monitor to keep things safe.

    With the advent of low-cost solid state Relative Humidity (RH) sensors, customers with many, diverse applications are reviewing their decision about monitoring humidity as a parameter that may be needed to protect product quality or safety.  For example, servers are generally kept in an air conditioned room, so temperature and humidity are kept at safe levels.  However, a closer look at servers operating in summer months in humid environments has demonstrated that the AC is working very hard to keep temperatures at thermostat set points.    Greenhouses may need to maintain humidity within controlled limits for certain species of plants to thrive.

    While temperatures are maintained within safe operating levels for the most part, RH can creep up significantly as the dehumidification function of the AC system is overwhelmed by 85%-90% humidity.  This is often not a serious problem unless the AC outlet is directly discharging onto electronic racks.  In that case, the rack temperature may be cooled to below the dew point, leading to potential condensation on sensitive electronics.  Over time the condensed moisture will corrode connectors, leading to system performance degradation or, in the extreme, failure.

    Easier to understand may be the case of valuable manuscript storage where extremely high humidity levels may lead to mold or mildew while low levels may lead to paper or parchment cracking.  Here, both would be important to monitor.

    The following table describes various applications where both temperature and RH may be considered and some guidelines as to whether or not adding RH monitoring and alerting may be beneficial.


    Sensor

    Factor

    Importance

    to Monitor

    What is Protected

    Consequence of High/Low Event

    IT/Server Rooms

    Temperature

    High

    Electronics

    IC Failure

    Humidity

    Medium/High

    Electronics Corrosion

    Lab & Medical Refrigerators & Freezes

    Temperature

    High

    Vaccines, Pharmaceuticals

    Ineffective/Defective Medication

    Humidity

    Medium/High

    Ineffective Medication

    Restaurant & Food Distributor Refrigerators & Freezers

    Temperature

    High

    Food

    Spoiled Food,

    Microbe Growth

    Humidity

    Low/Medium

    Food

    Dried Out Food, Spoiled Food

    Homes, Property Management

    Temperature

    Medium/High

    Water Pipes

    Frozen, Broken Pipes

    Humidity

    Low

    Specialized Items

    Varies

    Agriculture

    (Fields, Nurseries)

    Temperature

    High

    Plant Health, Yield

    Frost Damage

    Humidity

    Medium

    Plant Health, Yield

    Unhealthy Plants

    Pets, Livestock

    Temperature

    High

    Animals, Pets

    Sickness, Death

    Humidity

    Low

    Animals, Pets

    Varies

    RV’s parked in Campgrounds

    Temperature

    Low/High

    Pets

    Sickness, Death

    Humidity

    Low

    Pets

    Varies

    Energy Management

    Temperature

    High

    HVAC Systems

    Poor Efficiency ($)

    Humidity

    Medium/High

    HVAC Systems

    Poor Efficiency ($)


    Table 1: Factors to consider when deciding to monitor Temperature and Relative Humidity


    With the low cost of digital RH sensors, adding humidity monitoring can be a cost-effective choice that more and more customers are making.

    For questions or additional information, contact Temperature@lert at info@temperaturealert.com.



    Full story

    Comments (0)