Dust in commercial buildings


Computer server room

Today, computer hardware is at the forefront of all our activities. It goes without saying that, for a vast majority of modern companies, a computer room in good condition is an indispensable, even vital, asset to the smooth running of business. Computers, servers, telecommunication closets, etc., must be particularly well maintained to avoid breakage or breakdowns that would hurt most businesses. For that, as IBM proposes, the cleanliness of the environment is one of the main factors to ensure the proper functioning of the computer equipment and its longevity. For example, due to its nature, a server room requires special attention, which far exceeds that given to traditional work environments. In addition, it facilities are very sensitive to pollution, visible or invisible. In this sense, the builders recommend a rigorous and systematic maintenance of their equipment. In addition, in the event of a claim or incident, insurance companies only compensate their clients if they have complied with the manufacturer's standards for maintenance. Companies specialize in this field and offer several services such as:

  • Preventive maintenance of appliances
  • Dusting of the casing floor;
  • The evacuation of work residues (cables, rubble, etc.);
  • The flatness of the false floor;
  • Cleaning surfaces, etc.

But first and foremost, good air circulation is essential, unpolluted air, since it is the air that ensures the proper functioning of computer equipment by cooling computers, servers, cabinets containing computer equipment. etc. : overheating is one of the most important causes of power outages and blackouts.

Dust. Premises housing computer equipment should be cleaned daily and with special attention to avoid the accumulation of dust and too high levels of airborne particles. For example, to wash the floor, it is recommended to use a mop moistened with clear water, because the additives present in the cleaning products can damage the computer equipment. Raised floors require special maintenance, and annual cleaning of the plenum requires the expertise of specialized companies to keep the filters of the computer units intact and to ensure a satisfactory level of hygiene for the staff. In addition to the monitoring required by dust, there are also temperature and humidity levels which can also cause equipment breakdowns, such as those of other air pollutants that can cause rapid and very damaging corrosion of computer equipment.

Indeed, as stated in the Hewlett Packard preparation guide, air pollution and dust pose many dangers for electronic equipment: masking disk drive heads, short circuit components, tampering with contacts insufficient cooling, deterioration of moving mechanical parts, risk of deterioration of magnetic media, premature clogging of internal filters or air conditioning, etc. In addition, the dusts are of different types and do not react in the same way when they come into contact with the electronic components:

Fine or abrasive dusts;
Conductive dust;
Dry or insulating dust.

Fine dust causes abrasion of components, especially those of moving parts; and its accumulation on the housings promotes the retention of water and moisture. Conductive dust causes short circuits, while dry or insulating dust can interrupt current flow and increase contact resistance. Dry dust is characterized as a thermal insulator since it reduces heat dispersion and increases local temperature. This process can damage electrical circuits and even cause fires or explosions.