Infrared Thermography Imaging Surveys



Building Envelopes

Roof Surveys

Facilities Management

Data Centres

Power Industries

Sewer Inspections


Contact Us




Accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005

UKAS Accredited Company Registered in England & Wales No. 527550

Thermography testing on Data Centers

Introduction to Infrared Thermography on Data Centers
Important buildings such as Data centers and other mission critical facilities with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems can experience extremely high ROI (return on investment) with a properly integrated infrared thermography program.

A successful infrared program includes all of the facility equipment from construction and operation to server efficiency. Commissioning of data center initial construction as well as the addition of new equipment is accepted as standard operating procedure for information technology (IT) facilities.

Downtime at Data Centers
Downtime in these facilities is not an option, and should be avoided at all costs. Infrared thermography is being utilised for regular electrical switchgear surveys, optimising of cooling systems and servers, and commissioning of all electrical equipment, including UPS modules , PDU (power distribution unit) equipment and computer servers. Many construction project specifications have infrared surveys as a requirement before the building is turned over to the owner.

Data center infrared thermography must have total accountability for all infrared data in the commissioning process, regardless of whether or not there are problems. This accountability can be achieved by documenting all equipment inspected with time, date, location and equipment condition. The infrared thermographer must create a data log and record the infrared video onto a digital storage device of some type. New technologies in data acquisition and report preparation will make historical data (images previously taken) available for comparison. This will enable the infrared thermographer to more closely compare circuit boards and other UPS equipment with previously acquired images. If something fails or causes downtime in the system, an IR image of that component may be referenced to document that the equipment was operational, at thermal steady-state and in acceptable condition when the survey was made.

Infrared surveys and Commissioning of Data Center Equipment
The Thermography commissioning/surveying process should include these types of equipment and considerations. The following infrastructure support equipment should be tested:

• All distribution electrical panels.
• All associated switchgear.
• Emergency diesel generator systems.
• Battery banks, breakers and charging systems.
• Cooling systems, including chillers and all HVAC equipment.
• CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units.
• ATS (automatic transfer switch) equipment.
• UPS modules.
• Resistive load banks and associated cables/connectors.
• Static transfer switches.
• Rotary UPS system, if applicable.
• Transformers (utility and site).
• PDU (power distribution unit) equipment.

Loading Considerations:
• All normal switchgear and electrical panels need to be checked under load.
• Test generator leads and emergency source for the automatic transfer switches under load.
• Resistive load banks must be attached to the PDUs and tested with increasing load percentages.
• Each UPS module must be tested independently including a full load battery test.
• UPS battery connections and individual battery cells should be checked during and after the discharge.
• Rotary UPS systems must be checked during operation. (Rotary systems utilize the same rectifier technology as static topologies on the front end to create DC current from AC, but use spanning motor-generators to re-create the sine wave on the output.)
• Each PDU must be tested on both the preferred and alternate sources as well as in each respective bypass.
• All normal transfers should be verified operable.
• PDU distribution breakers must be checked after they are put into service on the panel boards.

Figure 1: Resistive load bank is shown with a bad cable connection.

Causes for Electrical Failure and Downtime in Data Centers
The critical power distribution system takes conditioned power from the UPS and distributes it throughout the facility to individual loads. Most site failures occur in areas where hot electrical work is required and physical maintenance is difficult to perform.

Typical causes for failures include:

• cover slipped while accessing load panel,
• overheated breakers tripped unexpectedly,
• wires were not physically secured under screws,
• screws were not torqued adequately
• wires or circuit breaker handles were dislodged while adjacent work was being performed,
• screws were stripped,
• insulation was skinned causing faulted wires,
• rotations were reversed.

Infrared Thermography surveys for Servers and Server Racks
Ten percent of all server racks currently in service are too hot to meet industry standards for maximum IT reliability and performance.

“Institute research into computer room cooling indicates 1/3 all perforated tiles are incorrectly located and 60% of all available cooling capacity is being wasted by bypass airflow. Increasing under-floor static pressure to get air where it needs to go requires permanently blocking all unnecessary air escape routes. This includes sealing cable cutouts behind and underneath products or racks (this unmanaged airflow is what is really cooling most computer rooms) as well as the penetrations in the floor or walls or ceiling and any other openings in the raised floor. Perforated floor tiles with 25% openings can be replaced with 40% and 60% grates to permit a much higher airflow. For sites with unused raised floor space deliberately spreading equipment out to create white space and reduce the averaged gross watts per square foot power consumption will be a viable option.”
(4. Brill, Kenneth 2006)

Figure 2: Server cooling fans are shown. The top fan is operating normally, while the bottom fan has failed.

Figure 3: High density server being tested at increasing CPU utilizations.

Server infrared applications include:
• Thermally mapping complete data center from sub-floor to ceiling.
• Verifying proper hot aisle/cold aisle operation preventing short circuiting and bypassing of air flow.
• Verifying high density server farm cooling capabilities.
• Monitoring server rack temperature distribution patterns.
• Finding internal server fans which are inoperable or damaged.

Do the smaller companies have UPS and server systems? Absolutely! In order to successfully complete the commissioning process and maintain the systems, large and small companies must find thermographers that are close-by and have experience in critical facility activities. A thermographer interested in providing these services must be commercially available to the UPS, electrical and facilities maintenance contractors. Having a great professional reputation with no accidents or system failures is essential to being the preferred thermographer for data center infrared work. What these infrared service clients want APT Thermography provide professional, experienced and qualified thermographers in the electrical infrared industry.

Why Infrared Thermal Imaging Surveys
In summary its main benefits are:

Quick inspection.
Results easily shown in pictures.
Shows location of air leakage.
Shows thermal insulation defects.

We use the latest detection equipment with fully trained personnel to achieve reliable results in the most demanding building applications.

We carry out many surveys each year and guarantee to offer a professional, reliable, and helpful and offer competitive pricing. We offer a last minute service at no extra cost, and we also undertake weekend Infrared thermography surveys on both on Saturday and Sunday in order to meet your out of hour’s survey requirements. We offer a nationwide service offering a single supplier for all of your regional offices and projects.

Most of our clients, who use us for the first time, continue to use our services because of our proactive approach, this has led to nationwide agreements with many the top UK Companies, which allows them to benefit from even more competitive rates as well as unrivalled service.

We also offer other specialist testing and reporting, such as:
• Air leakage Testing to Dwellings and Commercial Buildings
• Fire Enclosure Testing
• Sound Testing
• Energy Performance certificates, EPC, SAP & SBEM

APT Thermography - Further Information

If you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact us:

By Mobile - 07967 233836 (available 7am to 10pm)
By E-mail -

Infrared Thermography Surveys


APT Thermography

Head Office: Unit 2, Sayells Farm, 7 Harlington Road, Upper Sundon, Bedfordshire, LU3 3PE
Tel: 07967 233836 or 07775 623464