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IT Untangled: What Does HVAC Have to Do With IT?

There have been some historically great duos. Try peanut butter and jelly. Batman and Robin. And who could forget IT and HVAC?

Fortunately, unlike super duo Tom and Jerry, IT and HVAC work hand-in-hand to create the ideal environment to keep your business running on all cylinders.

While most of us are familiar with Information Technology, also known as IT, its lesser known partner in crime is the HVAC system. Much like a square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares; HVAC isn’t always about IT, but IT should always have a sustainable HVAC environment.

Let’s dig deeper.

What is HVAC?

To start with the basics, HVAC are initials that stand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.  

HVAC’s purpose is to control an environment. Its control functions can vary by project, but it has the potential to control almost anything. Think temperature (heating and cooling), humidity levels, air movement/distribution, and cleanliness of the air.

You likely benefit from your office’s HVAC system - think central cooling and heating.  But you may not have considered how IT is affected by it too.

How Heat Affects Your Devices

When IT devices run, they get hot. "Devices" doesn't only mean fancy servers either.  Your computer gets hot; your video game consoles get hot. Heck, if you want to take it old school, remember your VCR getting hot? The temperature of ANY device will rise while in use; especially when they’re being utilized at maximum performance.

Bottom line: electronics and heat do not mix. Heat causes hardware to fail, and it shortens the life spans of the equipment. An HVAC system helps remove the heat that is being generated when things like your server run.

Proper HVAC safeguards the strain of high performance without burning out your hardware. This prolongs the life of the device(s), maximizing your budget.

HVAC and IT Equipment

IT equipment needs a proper HVAC solution to function. Servers, printers, network equipment -- all need particular temperature ranges to operate ideally. Allowing your equipment to get too hot or humidity levels to rise, can cause permeant hardware damage.

This is where an HVAC system comes into play. An HVAC system keeps all IT devices at their proper range. The system will cool, ventilate, and track the humidity levels for you.

The server room, typically the backbone of a company’s IT operations, is known to get especially hot. If it gets too hot, equipment can malfunction – leading to major business disruption. This is why server rooms should have a separate, dedicated air conditioning unit, with its own thermostat.

A good IT service provider will monitor the temperature and humidity level in a server room. They can set alerts for significant fluctuations and create a plan to combat any recurring issue(s). Speak with your managed IT service provider about how they are currently monitoring your cooling and ventilation, plus ways to optimize this to expand the lifespan of your hardware.

Related: How to Find the Right IT Support

IT Untangled

IT can be complicated. We're here to help "untangle" it for you.

IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand. 

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