How Often Should You Clean Your Data Center?

Understanding how often you should clean your data center is important. The industry recommends routine cleaning to remove dust and other contaminants in subfloor and ceiling plenums and raised floor and equipment surfaces. However, the cleaning frequency of these areas is often unclear because other factors come into play when planning for an effective program.

Industry cleaning guidelines

Recommended frequencies are often based upon guidelines provided by organizations like ADCCP and ASHRAE. According to ASHRAE, data centers should clean their facilities at least annually, but point out that other factors may determine increased frequencies.  For example, an older facility may require more cleaning because of the age of the building. In addition, some data centers should increase cleaning during construction or other contamination-producing activities like equipment installations. Therefore, establishing a consistent cleaning schedule based on your facility’s individual needs is critical.

Subfloor and ceiling plenum cleaning

Subfloor and ceiling plenums are the conduits for airflow that cools servers. These areas are of particular concern because dust and other contaminants can be caught up in the airflow. As a result, airborne contamination can infect server components as the air flows through equipment. Recommended frequencies for subfloor and ceiling plenums are at least once a year.

Cleaning should include:

  • Removing large debris that cannot be vacuumed by hand
  • Vacuuming all accessible surfaces with a cleanroom ULPA-filtered vacuum
  • Vacuums equipped with shielded motors to prevent interference with servers

Raised floor cleaning

Raised floors should also be cleaned to remove dust and keep the surfaces free from other contaminates. Typical data center flooring has an anti-static finish to reduce issues with static discharges, so the floor needs to be cleaned to maintain its integrity. As a result, floor surfaces should be cleaned quarterly to properly maintain the surfaces.

Cleaning should include:

  • Vacuuming the entire floor surface with cleanroom ULPA-filtered vacuums
  • Damp mopping the floor surface with a non-ammoniated anti-static detergent cleaner
  • Scrubbing floor panels as needed with a low-speed machine that will not damage the finish

Server cabinet cleaning

Server cabinets should also be quarterly when raised floors are cleaned. Server cabinets need to be free from dust accumulation to prevent contamination from entering servers and causing issues that lead to failure.

Cleaning should include:

  • Vacuuming the exterior surface with cleanroom ULPA-filtered vaccums
  • Vacuuming the interior surface with cleanroom ULPA-filtered vacuums
  • Hand wiping exterior surfaces with a non-ammoniated anti-static detergent cleaner

Using a professional data center cleaning company

Always use a certified vendor specializing in cleaning data centers with experience working in critical environments. Datacenter cleaning vendors will deploy crews that are company-owned employees, supervised, uniformed, trained, and utilize the proper equipment and cleaning chemicals. A professional data center cleaning company can also help design an appropriate scope of work and frequency of needed services for your data center.

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