drop ceiling panels containing an aisle in server room

Tips For Installing Drop Ceiling Panels For Your Data Center

Installing a drop ceiling system in your data center can be a major factor in your efforts to optimize cooling efficiency. Deploying a drop ceiling above the white space addresses several cooling issues, in that it:

  • Reduces the quantity of air that need to be cooled, especially in rooms with high ceilings
  • Increases control of ducted return air in the hot aisle
  • Delivering warmer air to cooling units will increase cooling capacity
  • Allows for implementing hot aisle containment to significantly increase cooling efficiency

However a drop ceiling may sometimes present new problems. Here are some things to consider when choosing containment-ceiling panels for your data center.

  • The first thing to think about is the height of your ceiling. The plenum area should be at least 2 feet high to allow for airflow.  You will typically want the floor to drop ceiling height to be at least 8 ½” feet so the room should have an overall height of at least 10 ½” to install a drop ceiling.
  • Most drop ceilings are installed with thin wires, which mean that it cannot bear much weight.  Consider a more rigid support system to provide more weight bearing capacity.  This can pay off when it comes time to install aisle containment, security cameras and other moderate weight infrastructure.
  • Install return extensions on your cooling units, which penetrate into the drop ceiling grid.  This will allow warm exhaust air from servers to be fed directly to the return of your cooling infrastructure.  This prevents air mixing and increases cooling capacity.
  • You will need to extend your fire suppression system down to the drop ceiling space.  Take this opportunity to ensure that there are smoke detectors and sprinkler heads (or fire suppression nozzles) in both the hot and the cold aisles.  This will prevent any issues from the Fire Marshal when using aisle containment.

At Cool Shield our experts provide aisle containment solutions to help our customers get the most from their cooling infrastructures. Because we understand that each data center is different, we are committed to applying unique technologies to meet every challenge. Whether you need a new gasket or a whole ceiling containment solution, we are here to help. Contact us today to find out more about out data center ceiling panel options.