Mini-Splits for Server Rooms: Ensuring Optimal Performance & Efficiency

Source: GREE
Author: James McIntyre & Gregory Brunts

In an increasingly technologically dominated society, data centers have become the backbone of many business operations, and the need for them continues to grow. The cost related to the construction of new data centers across the globe is projected to be in the billions over the next few years. But what does that mean for the HVAC industry?

The Role of Mini-Splits in Server Room Air Conditioning

Simply put, data centers and server rooms are packed with computers. While computers are integrated with fans to help cool themselves, they still create a lot of heat output and are unable to provide the amount of cooling needed to maintain a safe temperature. Essentially, data centers get very hot and need meticulous environmental management to keep them running smoothly.

The computers and other equipment in data centers and server rooms are highly susceptible to damage from heat and humidity. Overheating can cause complete failure or shutdown of the computer systems, leading to costly downtime.

Data centers are often created with this in mind, but in the instance of server rooms, that may not be the case. Server rooms are spaces within a building dedicated to housing these computer systems. These server rooms are found in many commercial buildings and small businesses alike. Because of the unique load requirements of server rooms, year-round cooling is required, so cooling the space with the building’s air conditioning system is not an option.

For these types of situations, a ductless mini-split offers a cost-effective solution to maintain consistent temperature control for the servers.

How Server Room Mini-Splits Create Precise Temperature

Mini-splits are perfect for creating strict temperature control in spaces that cannot be regulated by the existing HVAC system. Since mini-splits are ductless, they don’t need to be tied into the existing HVAC system and can function entirely independently.

One such advancement is the capability of subzero cooling. These units have a wider temperature range for the AC setting and can provide cooling even when the outdoor temperature is below zero. While this is a common feature in the heat setting, not all mini-splits are capable of cooling when faced with subzero temperatures. This may not be an important factor to consider in a residential space, however, it is crucial for the safety of server room equipment. If the server room gets too hot, the mini-split needs to be able to cool the space down quickly, regardless of the outdoor temperature. GREE is proud to offer subzero cooling capabilities through its ultra-reliable Vireo GEN3 system.

Subzero Cooling for Server Rooms with GREE’s Vireo GEN3:

The Vireo GEN3's wide operating temperature range ensures comfort and stability, regardless of outdoor conditions. Its subzero cooling capability is especially valuable for server rooms, where precise temperature control is essential. Unlike traditional HVAC systems, the Vireo GEN3 operates as an independent zone, focusing solely on creating the ideal climate for whomever or whatever needs it, in this case, sensitive computer equipment. With high efficiency and reliability, the Vireo Gen 3 offers a subzero cooling mini-split with cost-effective performance for commercial spaces where precision is vital. Experience efficient subzero cooling with the Vireo GEN3, ensuring your equipment remains in a safe and controlled environment.

Benefits of Installing Mini-Splits in Server Rooms:

With energy costs rising across the board, mini-splits have become a popular option for both heating and cooling in recent years. They often have higher SEER ratings than comparable AC units and heat pumps. And because they are ductless, they completely avoid the energy loss associated with ductwork.

On average, mini-splits last just as long as central AC units but they have significantly lower operational costs. This is a major selling point as they can save customers quite a bit of money in the long run. For localized spaces that need very specific temperature management, mini-splits offer high efficiency and low utility costs. Because these are variable-speed systems, they can help mitigate the problems associated with oversized or under-utilized HVAC systems, like high humidity and overcooling, when the servers aren’t operating at full capacity.

Mini-splits are quiet and require very simple maintenance. Customers often report that they can barely hear the mini-split while it is working.

Installation Considerations for Mini-Splits in Server Rooms

Mini-splits can be mounted in a variety of ways to suit the configuration of the server room. One or more heads can be installed to satisfy the cooling needs of the space. Mini-splits are often mounted on exterior walls for ease of connection to the outdoor unit but with a bit of creativity, they can be mounted anywhere that the lineset can reach (and the aesthetics of visible linesets are likely to be less critical in a server room environment).

Mini-splits come in both wall, floor, or ceiling-installed configurations. If you are looking to circulate air throughout a large, open space, a wall-mounted or floor-ceiling option will likely be your choice but in the case of server rooms that have many heat-producing equipment pieces on the floor, a floor-mounted mini-split will be able to cool the room much faster. Regardless of the style of air handler that you choose, it is most important to install the unit in a central location to ensure even air distribution.

Another important consideration for mini-split installation in server rooms is the location of the thermostat. Most of these units have a built-in temperature sensor, so the location of the unit itself is an important consideration. We also have wall-mounted controllers, or thermostats, that could be mistakenly placed. It's crucial to ensure the thermostat is placed in a centralized location near the computer equipment to maintain the proper temperature and prevent overheating.

Ultimately, GREE’s mini-split heat pumps offer the perfect solution for maintaining precise temperature control in server rooms. Combining the efficiency and flexibility of ductless mini-split systems with the heating and cooling capabilities of heat pumps, GREE ensures that your server room equipment operates optimally year-round. If you’re an HVAC contractor and your client needs server room cooling as part of a larger system, consider using our system builder tool to create the perfect HVAC setup for their needs.

If you have questions about installing mini-split heat pumps in your server room, we invite you to explore our instructional videos and FAQ page. Our comprehensive resources will provide you with valuable insights into the benefits and installation considerations of mini-splits.

For homeowners or business owners seeking a trusted installation specialist, please visit our contractor locator page. Our certified GREE installation specialists are ready to assist you in choosing the ideal HVAC system for your specific needs.

At GREE, we're committed to delivering innovative HVAC solutions that guarantee optimal performance, energy efficiency, and peace of mind for your server room. Trust us to keep your server room running smoothly, no matter the temperature outside.