Data Center Power Distribution

Strategies for Reducing Electrical Harmonics in Data Center Environments


As data centers become increasingly important in our daily lives, more and more businesses are investing in them. However, these facilities come with unique challenges, one of which is the issue of electrical harmonics. Electrical harmonics can cause a range of problems and can even damage equipment, making it imperative for data center managers to take steps to reduce them. In this article, we'll discuss strategies for reducing electrical harmonics in data center environments.

What are Electrical Harmonics?

Electrical harmonics are deviations from the standard sine wave that is used to describe AC power. These deviations can occur as a result of non-linear loads on the system, such as computer servers or HVAC equipment. When these loads draw power from the system, they cause disturbances that create harmonic currents and voltages.

These harmonic currents and voltages can cause problems in a data center environment. For example:

  • They can interfere with communication signals.
  • They can cause overheating in transformers and other equipment.
  • They can lead to voltage fluctuations that damage sensitive electronic components.
  • They can reduce the overall efficiency of the electrical system.
Strategies for Reducing Electrical Harmonics

Fortunately, there are several strategies that data center managers can utilize to reduce electrical harmonics:

1. Use Passive Filters

Passive filters work by filtering out the higher frequency harmonics from the power supply before they reach sensitive equipment. These filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making them a popular choice among data center managers.

2. Utilize Active Filters

Active filters work by generating an opposing waveform that cancels out the harmonic distortion created by non-linear loads. While more expensive than passive filters, active filters offer greater precision and flexibility.

3. Implement Chokes

Chokes are devices that limit current flow at high frequencies while allowing low-frequency current to pass through unimpeded. By installing chokes in the electrical system, data center managers can reduce harmonic distortion and protect sensitive equipment.

4. Improve Grounding

Improved grounding can help reduce electrical harmonics by providing a low-impedance path for harmonic currents to flow. This reduces the likelihood that these currents will cause damage or interference to other equipment.

5. Use High-Efficiency Transformers

High-efficiency transformers are designed to minimize losses and reduce the amount of excess heat generated in the electrical system. By reducing losses, these transformers also help reduce harmonic distortion.


Electrical harmonics can cause serious problems in data center environments, but with the right strategies, it is possible to mitigate these issues. Whether you choose to use passive filters, active filters, chokes, improved grounding, or high-efficiency transformers, taking steps to reduce harmonic distortion will help protect your equipment and improve overall efficiency.

By implementing one or more of the strategies discussed in this article, data center managers can ensure that their facilities are running smoothly and efficiently while minimizing the risk of downtime or damage due to electrical harmonics. 

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