Seal Existing Cutouts in Raised Floor Systems for an Energy Facelift
Using grommets in raised floor systems is a well-known and effective way to prevent bypass air from escaping the underfloor, improving both the cooling capacity and efficiency of the system. While installing grommets during the initial installation of the system is ideal, many businesses are today looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of an existing or old raised floor system, and grommets are the key.
Uptime Institute, Inc. states that electricity consumed by IT equipment is the driving force behind the infrastructure costs of any data center, and between 50-80% of conditioned air does not reach the air intake of the equipment because of unsealed cable openings. This bypass airflow causes hot spots in equipment, cooling inefficiencies and, of course, increased costs. Sealing the cable and hose openings is the most cost-effective move you can make to update existing raised floor systems and bring your infrastructure into the 21st century. Computer raised floor grommets will specifically address bypass airflow and its harmful effects on cooling.
Benefits of Computer Raised Floor Grommets
With energy costs on the rise and more data centers seeking to improve their existing raised floor systems, grommets offer a unique advantage. These inexpensive additions can truly give any system an energy facelift and optimize your existing cooling infrastructure without the expense of an entire system replacement.
Grommets will increase the existing cooling unit capacity and may reduce or eliminate your need to buy additional cooling units, while simultaneously improving equipment reliability and boosting the lifespan of the equipment.
Installing grommets will improve the static pressure beneath the data center floor tiles, improving the delivery of cool air through perforated computer floor tiles or grates and mitigating the heat load of expensive equipment. Grommets may be installed quickly and easily, and a wide variety of styles mean they are compatible with any system, regardless of age.
Energy loss from bypass air is very easy to avoid by installing air sealing grommets. A 5,000 square foot data center with 150 open cutouts will experience an energy waste of about $7,000 annually, in addition to premature wear of the delicate equipment. This same data center can save approximately $7,000 with a one-time investment.
Grommets are one of the most essential components of any raised floor system, but it's important to ensure the seal is maintained for ultimate efficiency. You'll find many types of grommets for sale today, including the brush style with specialized overlapped bristles that block the flow of air. If you choose this style, make sure no cables are passed through or that the cables are centered in the grommet, not directed through the corner, which prevents the grommet from effectively creating a seal. This simple mistake could reduce the efficiency of the grommet by as much as 85%.
Finally, it's worth upgrading outdated grommets from an old computer raised floor to newer energy efficient models, which may be retro-fitted to boost reliability.