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Frequently Asked Questions

Classification of air cleanliness - ISO 14644-1 covers the classification of air cleanliness in cleanrooms and associated controlled environments. Classification in accordance with this standard is specified and accomplished exclusively in terms of concentration of airborne particulates. The document was submitted as an American National Standard and has been adopted as ANSI/IEST/ISO 14644-1:2015 in the United States, following the cancellation of FED-STD-209E. ASHRAE, the Uptime Institute, the Data Centre Alliance all recommend that Data Centre environments are tested and maintained to an ISO 14644-1:2015 level 8.

Particulate and other types of contamination build-up in equipment, in servers, on heat sync’s or fan bearings and will eventually cause failures within IT equipment and the associated plant equipment if left unchecked. This build up causes thermal clogging that will increase heat. This heat will result in servers slowing down, it will result in fans not operating efficiently and slowing down and possibly a complete failure. With the requirements for zero downtime and numerous redundancies built into modern Data Centre’s things such has loss of data or latency, and performance issues are scrutinised in more detail. Keeping contamination in check through regular cleaning can help to mitigate these risks.

This question has many answers but essential any room in your facility that houses Mission Critical active (IT, Electronics, Communications, UPS etc) equipment that is paramount to running your business should be cleaned professionally to the ISO14644 standard. These could include:
Large or small-scale Data Centre's; Internet Service Providers, Network Control Centres, UPS Rooms, Computer Rooms, Raised Floor Areas (Subfloors), Comms Rooms, Server Rooms, Network Rooms, IT Rooms, CCNR’s or MMR’s, Generator Rooms, HV & LV Power Rooms and any other critical technology area within your facility.

Look for a niche provider that’s core focal point is the Data Centre and Services relating to Data Centres. They will have an in-depth understanding of the environments and not only the services. Test them, test their knowledge around the parts that make up a Data Centre and how they affect one another. They should fully understand the criticality of your facility and your systems. Only then can they design a bespoke solution for you.

A qualified company will have the specialised equipment, trained technicians, and a great deal of experience in Data Centre cleaning and maintenance. They need to match your business, if you are a global organisation then they should have a global infrastructure in place to support the on-going needs of your estate. See our accreditations and how well we are qualified.

Each Data Centre is different and here at Critical Facilities Solutions we prefer to meet with each customer, inspect and survey their environment, understand their aspirations and then to tailor a bespoke solution that fits their requirements, budget and strategy.

Cleaning frequencies are designed to provide an easy and clear standard for determining what services and frequencies are needed for your Data Centre. Frequencies are based upon guidelines recommended by ASHRAE in their publication Particulate and Gaseous Contamination in Datacom Environments. Datacom equipment center cleanliness can be maintained by establishing a consistent cleaning schedule. Cleaning frequency should be increased during construction or other contamination-producing activities. The essential areas to clean and time intervals are described below:

Under Floor
Minimum of once per year:

  • Remove large debris that cannot be vacuumed by hand.
  • Vacuum all accessible surfaces with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum.
  • Anti-static wipe under floor structure.

Floor Surfaces
Minimum of once per week:

  • HEPA vacuum floor surface.
  • Do not dry mop or sweep the floor surface. This does not remove contaminants and can resuspend material.
  • Scrub/buff floor surface as needed.
  • Remove contamination beneath equipment racks and cabinets by brushing and HEPA vacuuming.

NOTE: Most raised floor panels are covered with high-pressure laminate (HPL). This surface material is very durable but should not be abused. High-speed buffers should not be used. Low-speed scrubbers can be used. Water and non-corrosive cleaning solutions should be used sparingly and should be removed promptly from the surface. HPL flooring should never be waxed. Some, but not al HPL materials are conductive for electrostatic discharge (ESD) control. Coating this surface with standard floor finish may block the ESD path through the panel. Vinyl composition tile (VCT) floors should be periodically stripped and refinished with antistatic floor finish.

Equipment and Rack/Cabinet Exteriors
Minimum of once per quarter:

  • HEPA vacuum and/or dam-wipe surfaces with an antistatic cleaner.
  • Environment - Walls, Sills, Ledges, etc

The simple answer is NO. These tests are a snapshot in time of the air quality within a room. Changes within the room immediately before or after a test could negatively or positively affect the results. It does not measure all particulate contamination that is settled under and above the raised access floor. Settled particulate should also be addressed when considering your Data Centre cleaning program. A practical approach is required which includes visual inspections, air quality testing, surface cleanliness testing and sample analysis is the only way to confidently determine if a room needs a clean or to the point, what level of clean the room needs.

handheld air particle machineA single Air Particle Count or Indoor Air Quality Test (IAQT) measures the volume of airborne particulate within one cubic meter (1m3) of air within the room. The ISO standard requires that a number of tests be taken at different positions in the room depending on the size and shape of the room. The sum of the results is then divided, and the average is the volume per cubic meter for that room (at least 90% of the room should be subject to air quality analysis).

Absolutely, 99.9% of our cleans in operational Data Centres are done while the environment is live and in full operation. No shutdowns or downtime is required for the vast majority of our cleans. The only acceptations would be if you want CFS to do internal cleans to Servers or Network Equipment (Component Level Cleans) or internal cleans on UPS’s, Air Handles or LV/HV PDU (Power Distribution Units) systems. We will work around your operations and your staff to ensure as little disruption as possible. Some activates however require undisrupted access to your work area for quality and Health & Safety reasons.

All vacuums should either employ a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter at a 99.97% efficiency at 0.3 microns; or a ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filter at 99.999% efficiency at 0.12 microns, all cleaning apparatus should be non-conductive, all cleaning solutions should have low VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).