Friday, August 14, 2015

Cooling the server area

Problem, cool down the server area.

The server is placed under a stair and the server area is insulated.
The area is in contact with the garage and the laundry room. The garage of course is not an insulated area, but the laundry it is.
Thus the idea : drill a hole in the stairs and connect a fan to aspire the fresh air from the laundry room.

So I did drill a 2 inches hole in the stairs, covered with a 2 inch air vent.
Initially I just attached a PC fan to the hole, from inside the server area, with the idea to aspire the air.
It did work but not much. I needed a more powerful fan.

But powerful fan are also bigger, no space to attach a bigger fan.
Thus the idea to build a box, connect a 3 inches flexible pipe (the one used for the dryer) to the hole in the stairs and place the fan on the box.
I had around some foam insulated box and voila' :)

An economic cooling box for the server area.

The cooling box. Just cut a hole for the fan

The pipe coming out from the box

The hole in the stairs ...

... with the cover

The box installed.I changed the fan with a blower, the fan was not powerful enough to suck enough fresh air from the small hole.

The final installation
It works !
Here some graphs:

The fan is controlled by an X10 appliance module, controlled by the server itself.
There are also some temperature sensors, one of them inside the server area. A script  on the server checks the temperature of the server area and the CPU every 5 minutes.
It uses Digitemp to read the sensors and Sensors to read the CPU temperature.
If the temperature goes above a threshold, the server activate the blower and fresh air enter in the server area.


  1. Awesome Steve.
    Did you put the coolant in the box ?

    -Marcel Q.

  2. No, the idea was to bring the fresh air from the laundry room into the server area. Still it seems that the blower I used is not creating enough vacuum to suck enough air. It cool down enough to keep the temperature around 29 C (the server and the UPS are generating a lot of heat) but I would like to go down about a couple of degree more. The ideal would be to have the intake from a HVAC conduit instead the laundry room, but I don't have nothing close enough, it would be a major remodeling bring a conduit there. I could eventually drill another hole and have TWO air intake, it should help.
    Or maybe build in the box some kind of heat pump, but it would not be an easy and fast solution like this one :)