Humidity in the data center: how low is too low?

By robo_dev ·
In my home data center I monitor for humidity with a RackBotz monitoring appliance in the server rack.

This morning it's sending me low humidity alarms, as it's showing 16% humidity.

I've read about the 'triboelectric effect' where components can fail due to ESD (electro static discharge) happening without human interaction. Anybody ever seen that happen?

Obviously I will use my static grounding strap when working in the server rack at this humidity.

Maybe Sears has a sale on humidifiers.....

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Well while not seeing it happen with computer gear

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Humidity in the data cent ...

I've seen Low Humidity adversely affect other electronics. Most notably in Repair Situations where a improperly grounded tech gives the Device a ESD Hit when they touch it.

With Low Humidity Static doesn't bleed off anywhere near as fast as when the Humidity is higher but having said that there are numerous other factors that come into play.

Just make sure that you have good earthing and things tend to be OK.

I hope that is of some use.


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Could also be

by santeewelding In reply to Humidity in the data cent ...

An ephemeral concern, due only to what you have read.

Where I am, low, single-digit humidity is not unknown, for days on end. Brush fires, yes; but a bonfire of electronics? Not that I've heard or experienced myself.


Add: so low, that it makes the calendar page on the wall curl up.

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More curious, really, if anyone ever had unexplained failures

by robo_dev In reply to Could also be

that seemed to coincide with low humidity.

I've seen expensive parts get zapped with ESD, so I know not to do that again.

Once a girlfriend walked across the carpet to adjust the volume of the TV, and ESD blew out the audio circuitry of the TV when she touched the volume control.

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Humidity that low Iis hard on us Southerners

by _Papa_ In reply to Humidity in the data cent ...

...especially ladies who are concerned about dry skin.

A whole house humidifier might be worth the investment if the air stays that dry in heating season, otherwise your equipment room A/C Is probably the culprit if it's set below about 60.

But I tend to agree that later equipment is not as prone to ESD damage since most chip ports are protected by zeners now.

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by gario In reply to Humidity in the data cent ...

is what most data center strive for, but as i understand this is your home at 16%. I know this sounds crazy but you can Boil a pot of water or use a water air cooler.

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A whole-house humidifier is on my christmas list

by robo_dev In reply to 40-55%

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