About 2 years ago now I moved from tower and desktop-based equipment to rack-mounted servers and rack shelving for the few remaining no rack mounted equipment. I moved from 2 mid-tower PCs (Intel i3s with 16 GB ram) to running 5 - HP DL380 G5 and 1 - Dell 2950 G3. While the move definitely gave me more power and ability to expand my setup I did have to purchase a portable air condition to cool the room down. This setup did work great other than the electric bill and also the need to keep a ground window open to vent the warm air. For financial reasons I decided in the spring of this year to scaled my setup back but down to running the previous mid-tower PCs and the 2950 on the main floor which not only reduced the overall operating costs but also removed the need for the AC, but did make the house rather loud especially considering they were basically in the living room.
Fast forward to this fall when I am in a better spot financially and also finding the need to have more capabilities than the reduced setup can provide, so I decided to rebuild my setup and make some configuration and hardware changes to the setup. I also decided to move the setup from my main floor back into the basement. I should clarify that I live in a townhouse and what I call the main floor is really the second floor and the basement is really at ground level.
This new setup has me running the Dell 2950 G3 and 3 of the DL380 G5 servers and seeing the mid-tower PCs go back into the parts closet. Since moving them down to the basement I have been trying to find a cooling solution for them, as even though we are getting into winter in Canada I still want to make sure everything is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
I would ideally not have to run the AC at all or if I do have to run it not have to leave the window open in that room. I have tried venting the AC air into the cold air return of the house but the aluminum tube that I used got rather warm and concerned me. The room with everything off is sitting at about 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) even though the house is set and sitting between 21 (69.8) and 23 (71.6) degrees. Right now I have the servers running with no AC or other cooling measures and have placed a remote thermometer to monitor the room temperature to get a more accurate baseline of where I am at with everything powered on.
I am hoping the community has some ideas or recommendations for some solutions. I did want to note I did talk to 3 HVAC professionals before trying the idea of venting the AC to the cold air return who said that it was safe to do and should be a viable solution but when I notvied the tube getting warm I took the setup down while I reevaluate the situation.
I am hoping to replace the current equipment before the end of the year or early next year with some newer technology though it will be probably less enterprise-grade though still be in a rackmount chassis.