Prevent False Alarms in the Data Center

Smoke Detector LabelsSmoke detectors are an important element of defense in every data center. Most data centers have passive, photoelectric type detectors within the room. (Even rooms with advanced, sampling systems like VESDA, will have passive detectors as well.) The photoelectric device operates by sending a light beam across an air chamber. If there are smoke particles present in the air, the light is diffused and the alarm is sounded. Unfortunately, dust particles can sometimes be indistinguishable from smoke.

The air circulating throughout the data center is often as clean or cleaner than that of other office spaces. So, operation of the alarm system should also be comparable. However, for data centers with underfloor air, the situation can be quite different.

Dust will settle and accumulate in pockets of low airflow through out the underfloor, e.g. behind floor supports and other obstructions. At some point when a floor tile is lifted for access, the airflow can change suddenly and release the accumulated dust. The physical movement of workers and/or cables can also dislodge contaminants. This can result in false alarms from the smoke detectors.

Routine underfloor cleaning from a professional data center cleaning company can eliminate any large accumulation of dust. So in addition to a clean appearance and a safe environment for your equipment, regular maintenance can help prevent false alarms.

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