A UPS system is a critical piece of hardware for any modern business wishing to properly protect their electrical systems whilst also remaining operational in the event of a power outage or any other unforeseen emergency / weather event that may result in a surge of electricity and / or loss of power.
Of course, just like any other piece of equipment, a UPS system is not impervious to wear and tear. In order to ensure that your system is working optimally and remains functional when you need it most, regular servicing and maintenance is an essentiality.
In this article we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about proper servicing—including the recommended frequency—for your UPS. Let’s get stuck in!
What are the Benefits of Regular UPS Maintenance?
It’s not enough to have an uninterruptable power supply system (UPS) installed; if you wish to have full protection when you need it, you must properly care for and maintain your UPS system – regularly. Here’s how regular maintenance can benefit you:
Longevity: as robust and dependable as a high-quality UPS system is, like any piece of equipment they are subject to failure without proper care. By regularly maintaining your system and its components, you can ensure that your UPS remains operational for longer – thus giving you the most bang for your buck.
Peak performance: proper, regular maintenance will ensure that your UPS system works optimally at all times.
Save money: avoidable repairs are costly and add up in the long run. By having your UPS system regularly inspected and maintained however, you can spot any potential problems before they deteriorate, and have them rectified appropriately.
Lower the risk of downtime: to have a UPS in place and allow it to fall into disrepair defeats the purpose entirely. By keeping it well-maintained, you are significantly reducing the risk of any losses that may occur during unexpected downtime.
What are the risks of not maintaining your UPS?
Whether an online double-conversion unit or a military-grade ruggedized system, failing to regularly maintain your UPS will unnecessarily subject your business to the following risks:
Loss of critical power: a faulty UPS system will invariably fail when you need it most. In certain situations, a total loss of power can be devastating (particularly in a healthcare facility, for example).
Unnecessary increase in costs: a UPS system and its batteries are very expensive to replace when they become damaged or fall into disrepair due to a lack of proper maintenance. While paying for regular maintenance might feel like an unnecessary expense (particularly when looking for areas to cut back and save money), opting out can result in costlier repairs and potential damage to equipment / critical data loss.
Loss of productivity: if a power outage occurs and your UPS system is unreliable, your day to day operations can quickly grind to a halt – thus resulting in a loss of revenue, productivity, and even customer loyalty.
Corrective and preventive maintenance
There are two types of UPS maintenance, both of which are equally important:
Corrective maintenance: corrective maintenance refers to the process of carrying out the necessary repairs as a result of system failure. It’s about fixing any issues that may arise and restoring the unit to good working order.
Preventative maintenance: preventative maintenance is the key to ensuring that ‘corrective maintenance’ is very rarely needed. This method involves implementing a list of vital scheduled maintenance activities thus keeping the UPS unit in excellent working order and preventing the potential of system failure in the first place.
Quick tips for UPS maintenance
Before we delve deeper into the world of UPS system maintenance, here are some quick tips to consider:
Assign in-house UPS maintenance tasks to competent individuals.
- Always put safety first.
- Schedule regular maintenance for your UPS and commit to it.
- Keep a UPS maintenance manual and maintain detailed records at all times.
- Perform regular inspections.
- Understand that UPS components will fail eventually.
- Know precisely who to call when you need an emergency service.
Feel free to reach out to us today if you’d like a UPS maintenance checklist template to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the crucial criteria when putting together your servicing schedule.
When should you schedule UPS maintenance?
There’s no ‘set schedule’ for UPS maintenance as your needs and requirements will likely vary depending on your chosen UPS set-up, how often the system is relied upon, including a number of other environmental and situational factors.
Ideally, you should speak with your UPS provider and follow the recommended manufacturer guidelines. In any case, the following is widely agreed upon by reputable UPS maintenance companies as the optimal frequency of servicing.
Monthly UPS maintenance
You should assign a competent and well-trained member of staff to the care and upkeep of your UPS system. At least once a month they should conduct the following:
- Visual inspection of the UPS system, ensuring that the environment is clean and free of any dust and debris.
- Inspect and evaluate the room’s ventilation and confirm its efficiency.
- Carry out battery testing, checking for sufficient electrolytes while keeping an eye out for any leaks.
- For systems with battery monitoring systems in place, the result must be reviewed and recorded.
- Check the ambient temperature for the batteries.
- Measure the float charging current for all batteries.
- For premises with a generator as part of their emergency-power system that feeds the UPS, ensure that it is regularly tested and equally functional.
It might be worth having at least one other employee who can carry out the above inspections and upkeep – particularly management.
Quarterly UPS maintenance
At least four times a year you should have a qualified UPS service technician visit your premises to conduct the following:
- Inspect the UPS system for any loose wiring, burned insulation, or any other visible signs of wear and tear.
- Check and measure the voltage of each individual cell and / or battery block.
- Measure the ambient and negative-post temperatures for all battery cells and / or battery blocks. At the very least, you should have 10% checked to be on the safe side.
Semi-Annual UPS maintenance
Twice a year you should have a qualified UPS service technician visit your premises to conduct the following:
- Thoroughly inspect and repair the battery connections as necessary (this is because loose and / or dirty connections may cause a build-up of heat in the battery terminals thus reducing system capacity and lowering its overall lifespan – not to mention the increased risk of a fire hazard).
- Thoroughly clean and vacuum all UPS equipment casing and enclosures.
- Carry out standard testing for the UPS system’s overall operational capacity.
Annual UPS maintenance
Annual UPS maintenance is critical. Even if you decide not to carry out monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual maintenance, it is strongly recommended that you do not skip your annual check-up. Here’s what you can expect your qualified UPS technician to do:
Conducting a total operational test. This will include an AC ripple current, interconnecting cable resistance testing, and a monitored battery rundown in order to calculate the likely life expectancy of the connected batteries.
- They will power the system down and inspect each of its components for any indication of heat damage or corrosion.
- Using thermal-scan technology they will check all electrical connections that can help to identify any hot spots that the human eye would otherwise miss.
- Carry out load-testing in order to determine the overall capacity for each individual battery bank.
- Thoroughly clean and remove all dirt and dust from every system component.
- Check and measure the torque for all connections and repairing any power connections as necessary.
For UPS systems that use flooded-cell batteries, the technician will do the following:
- Check the terminals for any wear and tear and a build-up of dirt.
- Measure and record the current and voltage for the entire battery bank.
- Measure and record the total voltage for every sell, including an electrolyte test.
- Track battery performance and then record and log all of the findings.
Issue replacement batteries / battery banks as necessary
Minor UPS servicing
Minor UPS servicing should be performed on a quarterly basis and check the following criteria:
- Adjust all date and time displays on UPS modules.
- Check the physical condition of all UPS casing enclosures.
- A visual inspection of internal components.
- Determine the condition of cooling fans (e.g., checking for any unusual noises).
- Check and confirm all displays are operational.
- Visual check on all electrical connections (main power cables, output feeders, ground connections, etc.) using thermal-scan tools.
- Carry out electrical measurements and compare will the recognised ‘standard operation ref values’.
- Examine AC and DC filter capacitors.
- External cleaning for enclosures and dust filters.
- Check environmental operating conditions (e.g., room temperature and humidity, air exchange, safety equipment etc.).
Major UPS servicing
Major UPS servicing is carried out annually. This includes all of the criteria mentioned above in Minor UPS Servicing, with the following, additional critical checks:
- Verifying the load transfer between inverter output and the bypass line.
- Check the overall operability of manual bypass.
- Simulating a mains failure and other emergencies to ensure that the UPS system is working accordingly.
Is UPS Solutions a UPS maintenance provider?
Not only do UPS Solutions supply some of the finest UPS systems on the market, but we also offer installation and maintenance services. Whether you need essential power protection for your small to medium-sized business or you have a server room in a large data centre facility requiring round-the-clock protection, UPS Solutions have got you covered.
In addition to training your employees on how to operate your new UPS system (and keep an eye out for any potential problems), we can also carry out regular system maintenance to ensure that your UPS is in perfect working order and ready for every eventuality.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of maintaining your equipment or you aren’t quite sure what frequency of servicing is best suited to your chosen UPS system, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We will gladly offer our unbiased advice to ensure that you get the very best out of your UPS at all times.
Frequently asked questions
What is UPS maintenance?
UPS maintenance refers to the process of testing your equipment for any potential problems, identifying common wear issues, and taking preventative measures to ensure that your systems remain functional when you need them most.
What are the maintenance of UPS?
UPS maintenance companies target a broad area that can include anything from checking and updating the date and time on your monitors and inspecting the physical condition of your UPS enclosures, to tracking and recording battery performance and conducting mains failure simulations.
How often should UPS be maintained?
Ideally, your UPS systems should be maintained monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. At the very least, an annual check is necessary.
As for home office UPS systems, a similar frequency is recommended to ensure that your equipment is in good working order. However, if you are comfortable carrying out some routine maintenance yourself, you may be able to get away with annual checks from a licenced UPS technician.
Do UPS need maintenance?
Just like any piece of equipment, UPS systems require regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good working order. Over time, the internal components of a UPS system will be subject to wear and tear and require routine maintenance to prevent system failure.
What is the average lifespan of a UPS?
Your typical UPS system should last for at least 13-years before needing to be replaced. Ultimately, the overall longevity of your UPS system will depend on a wide variety of factors including the quality of the system itself, how well it is installed and maintained, and a number of other environmental factors.