The damage caused by unpredictable power outages is extensive and costly. If the power in the main grid line goes out, then your job site will be enveloped in darkness, in the absence of a backup power source. Dark job sites result in lost revenue, network downtime, data loss, and angry clients. The best solution to all this chaos and confusion is to install an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) at your office or job site.
However, apart from unplanned outages, one of the major reasons of electrical system failure is human error in the realm of UPS battery installation and maintenance. If you think that just installing a UPS would save you from power outages, then you are wrong. Similar to any technological marvel, you would need to care and maintain the UPS to extend the battery life of the gadget. However, before we delve into the tips and tricks of maintenance, let us understand the primary functions of a UPS battery.
What is the Function of a UPS Battery?
The main component of the UPS is its battery, as it comes with power retention capability. The maximum lifespan of a UPS battery ranges between three to five years. During a power outage, a UPS battery provides electrical power to all the connected devices, giving the user ample time to save data, shut down computers safely, and protect the internal components of the devices from damage. UPS batteries can provide power to a number of electronic devices, data servers, lighting equipment, heavy machinery, and much more.
While it is impossible to extend the lifespan of a UPS battery forever, the shelf life of the device can be extended up to a maximum with proper maintenance and care.
Tips and Tricks to Extend UPS Battery Life
UPS battery installation alone cannot protect the device from power surges and spikes. To ensure that the UPS is performing properly, it is important to keep the UPS batteries in good shape. Here are a few tips and tricks you can employ to extend the battery life of your UPS.
1. Pick out a Cool and Dry Place for UPS Battery Installation:
UPS batteries are either Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries or Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries. Therefore, controlling the ambient temperature is necessary for the maintenance of UPS batteries, as both excessively high and low temperature than the standard level can diminish the power retention capability of the battery. Ensure that you choose a location with a temperature of not more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit for UPS battery installation. Also remember to leave space of at least two inches on each side of the UPS for optimum airflow during the battery installation.
2. Avoid Common Battery Installation Errors:
Most UPS battery failures, unfortunately, take place due to improper battery installation techniques. Some of the most common battery installation errors are:
Lose intercell connections
Impaired post seals
The absence of vent caps
If these battery installation errors are avoided, it can extend the life of a UPS battery to a great extent.
3. Store the Substitute Batteries Properly:
Having a backup plan is always a wise thing to do. Similarly, buying backup UPS batteries is a good idea for the long run. However, ensure that the batteries are not left dormant or unused for long periods of time. When batteries kept too long in the dormant state, it results in impairing the power retention functionality of the gadget, leading to a shorter lifespan. Compared to the counterparts, lead-acid battery discharges a small amount of energy, automatically, if left unused. While newly purchased batteries can be stored for up to 12 months, it is advised to charge it at regular intervals (every three to four months) before battery installation and establishing the connection to devices.
4. Conduct Regular UPS Battery Maintenance:
The best way to extend the lifespan of a UPS battery is to conduct proper maintenance at regular intervals. For example, recharge a fully discharged battery within 48 hours to effectively avoid damage to internal components of the UPS. However, keep an eye on the charging status, as over-charging or excessive discharge can lead to shorter battery life. Moreover, you must also monitor the internal resistance of a UPS battery. If the battery’s internal resistance touches the 30 percent mark, it is advised to replace the battery immediately.
5. Calibrate the UPS Batteries Annually:
Another way of extending your UPS battery life is to conduct runtime calibration at least a couple of times in a year. Calibration once or twice a year is enough to keep the batteries in perfectly good shape. However, you must refrain from excess calibration as it can reduce the UPS battery life significantly.
6. Connect the UPS to Energy Saving Devices:
If you connect the UPS battery to energy saving devices, it can extend the lifespan of the battery. This is because ordinary electrical devices consume more power than energy saving devices. For example, at the same level of brightness, ordinary bulbs consume 75 percent more power than CFL bulbs. Similarly, LED bulbs not only consume less power but also last longer than ordinary bulbs. Devices which consume less power help keep the temperature of the UPS in control and thus help in extending the battery’s lifespan.
The UPS battery will not last forever. Eventually, it will need to be replaced. However, replacing it well before the manufacturer-mandated time is a bad investment. Correct battery installation techniques, along with the above-mentioned tips will surely help you to extend the lifespan of a UPS unit.