Raised Floor Data Centre Cleaning

In a majority of situations, the underfloor of a data center is its air plenum as well. Failing to clean underneath a raised floor may result in contaminants getting drawn into highly sensitive computer equipment.

raised floor data centre

That can cause overheating and reduce the life of the equipment. Dirt may clog up perforated air tiles which can reduce output along with the cooling coils and AC filters. It may get inside of the cooling vents of pieces of equipment inside of the server cabinets which reduces them being able to cool themselves. The accumulation of dirt and dust over time inside the electronic equipment can result in overheating and ultimately failure.

Keeping your data center clean, both underneath and above the raised floor not only helps to improve its energy efficiency and aesthetics but its up-time as well. Contaminants under the floor also contribute to making the raised floor area dirtier since the debris will circulate throughout the data center. That will also result in the cleaning coils inside your units needing to be cleaned more frequently along with replacing the filters more often to keep cooling capacity maintained properly.

Note: While you are cleaning underneath the raised floor, search for black rubber dust inside of the front part of the A/C unit. That may be a sign that the blower belts are misaligned (If, that is, the HVAC system is still equipped with an old style belt drive motor). Misaligned belts can not only contribute contaminants inside of the underfloor plenum but may also be a sign of potential problems in the future if the belts are not realigned and replaced. Modern HVAC units these days are equipped with Variable DC motors which run clean and efficiently.

Cleaning Tips

  • Before mopping the floor, always vacuum it first. A dry mop should never be used. That will just push dirt into the openings and cracks of the perforated tiles. If dirt and dust are allowed to collect inside of the perforated tiles that will reduce the flow of air throughout the openings of the tiles, which will starve essential cool air from getting to key electrical equipment. If dirt gets pushed through the tiles’ perforations, it can end up being circulated back in the air and end up collecting on the equipment inside of the data center.
  • Whenever you are cleaning underneath the raised floor, make sure that you do not take out too many floor tiles at the same time. That may reduce the static pressure underneath the raised floor and result in equipment overheating in other parts of the raised floor environment of the data center.
  • Don’t just clean the floor. Before you start to clean your raised floor, you should first clean the cabinets and server racks. Start at the top part of the room and continue to work your way down. First, use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to dust the top part of the racks.
  • Take the necessary steps to eliminate or limit debris and dirt from being able to even enter into the data center. Place sticky mats in front of all of the data centre’s entrances and use a staging area to unpack the servers before you bring them inside the clean area. If you limit contaminants from entering into your data center, it will be much easier to keep your data center clean.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner that has a good HEPA filter to clean perforated tiles to ensure that all dirt that is trapped inside of the tiles is removed instead of simply being blown back in the room.
  • You should clean your raised floor once a quarter and the underfloor once a year at least or as needed.

Cleaning Tools

  • A dry mop or broom should never be used. That just spreads the contaminants around which frequently results in them being suspended up in the air before they end up settling on another part of the floor.
  • Wiping cloths and mops should be made out of low lint materials that have been designed for use in clean area environments. Only use mops in clean areas of the data centers, and mops that have been used outside of the computer room previously should not be used.
  • Use good vacuum cleaners that have HEPA filter systems. They should be solely dedicated to being used only for cleaning your data center.
  • When power scrubbing equipment is used on raised floor tiles be sure you only plug them into maintenance outlets. Use low-seed scrubbers only on raised floors; higher speeds can create airborne particles. Also, you won’t want to run the risk of your scrubbing equipment bumping into the cabinets and racks.
  • When cleaning chemicals are used, make sure they approved for use in data center environments.
  • All tools and attachments that are used to clean your data center need to be non-conductive. Also, if they are corded, they should not be plugged into empty rack PDU outlets but only maintenance outlets.

Cleaning Staff

  • Staff who clean underneath the raised floor need to be trained properly and made aware that they need to be very careful anytime they are cleaning around communication and power cables. Pulling on or move the cables may cause an outage to occur.
  • If your employees are trained properly, they can perform the cleaning. Throughout the process, make sure they are supervised properly.
  • If you decide to use an outside cleaning service, make sure their cleaning methods align with the certified data center accepted cleaning standards.
  • It is also required by the ADCCP that certified data center cleaning services show they have the minimum and appropriate insurance coverage according to accepted industry standards.
  • If you are going to hire an outside service provider, ask for references and call them to find out if they had any issues with the provider.