Adding Extra Ventilation To The Basement Linux Server Room

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 30 April 2015 at 09:02 PM EDT. 5 Comments
HARDWARE --
One month ago I detailed the construction process of building a new server room in my basement where Linux performance tests are constantly being done and it's up to about 50 systems running down there. While initially there weren't any thermal concerns, now that it's getting warmer here in the midwest of the United States, temperatures are quickly rising... Here's the steps I did to add some power venting to the basement and already it's sharply dropped the temperatures in this server farm.

See The New Linux Performance Test Lab Is Already Being Expanded for the most recent installment of the articles detailing this big server setup.

Today's article briefly goes over how I added a power vent to the basement to pull in cool air from the Phoronix front office and down into the basement. I'm also going to be adding an exhaust fan to the basement over the weekend, which I will detail in a follow-up article on Phoronix. However, already with having this fresh source of constant fresh air, the server room temperatures are making a big difference... Previous to this the server room temperatures this week were peaking at 81~85F (27~29 C) while since adding this intake fan the temperatures are hovering around 22 C while these systems are fully occupied.

While various companies make through-wall ventilation fans for dispersing air into a different room, due to the positioning of power outlets and other difficulties, I didn't simply add one of those but had crafted my own solution. Basically adding in some flexible duct work that goes through the sump pump closet I built during the server room construction so it's able to tap the fresh air from the upstairs office and send it down through this closet and into the server room.


The fan I went with was the VenTech DF6 6-inch duct fan. This 6-inch duct fan pushes 240 CFM and draws just 37 Watts.

This VenTech DF6 duct fan is also rated the number one best seller on Amazon for household ventilation fans with 246 customer reviews. The fan is very quiet too and can barely be heard outside of the closet, though slightly more noise from the front office.

I started by removing one of the cement board panels that was inside the sump pump closet I had added. After that using a jab saw I made a 10 x 10 inch opening into the front office. For that boot I used this Speedi-Boot SBH-10106 10 x 10 to 6-inch diameter register vent boot with adjustable hangers. Using the Speedi-Boot made the installation very easy and quick.

Once the boot was in place, I re-added in the stone wool insulation around the vent for dampening the noise of the duct fan. I used 6-inch flexible ventilation ducting to the boot. Originally it had R6 insulation around the duct, but I removed it due to being easier to work with and really not needing any insulation in this setting.

I then attached a furring strip to the wall near the power outlet and using metal straps had mounted the VenTech duct fan to the wall along with the two segments of flexible ducts.

On the wall in the basement server room I then made a 6-inch circular hole and installed this American Metal 6-inch Round Diffuser with this Accord 6-inch Damper.

Once connecting everything, this 6-inch, 240CFM duct fan immediately began pulling fresh air into the cellar and making a big difference for the server room temperature!

While it's already been a big improvement, I'm still adding an exhaust fan to the outside on the opposing wall. I'll cover that in another article in the days ahead. If you missed the initial construction article of this server room, read Turning A Basement Into A Big Linux Server Room.
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About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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