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UPS Maintenance and its Importance to Mission Critical Applications

Published by Jason Koffler on 10 January 2019

You may rarely think about your system’s uninterrupted power supply, also called UPS, until the power supply gets interrupted due to system failure. Like any piece of equipment, use and age can degrade components and functionalities. At best, this critical power supply system can cause reduced efficiency while at worst it shuts down all applications, including mission-critical functions.

Whether you work with Riello UPS, Eaton UPS, Datacentre UPS or other systems, you need regular inspections and maintenance.

Why Consistent UPS Service Is Critical to Core Functions.

UPS systems require regular maintenance to keep them running at peak efficiency and prevent power failures that will cost time and money. A well functioning UPS system at its most basic design provides a backup to selected functions during a power outage.

A more sophisticated design will prevent the usually hard to detect interruptions in power supply that can affect more sensitive applications. It can also protect against potentially damaging power surges.
Common Maintenance Problems in UPS Systems

While any component of a UPS system can fail, some problems occur more commonly than others. Fans, for example, keep the unit from overheating but their failure represents a typical problem with UPS systems. Also, dust and dirt can clog or otherwise hinder effective operations. Both cooling and obstruction issues represent some of the most common problems that proper maintenance can prevent. Battery corrosion and UPS systems not properly configured to the job in the first place can also cause significant problems.

Keep to an Inspection and Maintenance Schedule.

While it should be noted that any machinery will have problems and eventually fail, keeping to a regular inspection and maintenance schedule can prolong your UPS system’s life and enhance its efficient operation.

Experts suggest that examinations of a UPS system should take place weekly. Weekly inspection tasks should include:

Make sure no objects get placed on top of the system itself, especially on air vents Check for warning lights or alarms illuminated on the display Verify that the cooling system is working properly

Ensure regular oversations and measurements carried out, the user or a qualified Technican can do this.

Every three months, examine the battery closely to make sure that it has not developed any problems. You will likely need a qualified technician or thoroughly trained staff member to perform these tasks. A checklist should include taking voltage and conductance readings and visual inspection of the condition of the battery and components. At the very least run the battery and UPS test functions via the front panel or UPS management Software. Discuss any alarms or performance issues with your account manager.

APC, Eaton, Riello and Tripp Lite have great test functions accessible via the front panel and UPS Management software.

Every six months, a qualified technician should do the following:

Examine, record, and, if necessary, make adjustments to the accessible electrical system parameters. Perform a thermal scan on all accessible electrical components and the battery distribution system Check out all accessible electrical and mechanical components

Finally, to keep your UPS system running at its best, do the following once a year:

- Put system in maintenance bypass
- Measure, repair, and record all electrical parameters, including those with less accessibility not checked every six months
- Visual inspection of all components, especially those that have less accessibility and are not on the six-month checklist

Again, following this checklist will not keep your UPS system running in perpetuity, but it will likely ensure that it remains in service for many years to come.
Maintain Detailed Maintenance Records

Following an effective maintenance plan for your UPS system does much less good when technicians keep poor records or none at all. When breakdowns do occur, as when a doctor treats a patient, a detailed file of the system’s repair and maintenance history can help them make an easier and more accurate diagnosis.

Make sure that you have a system and proper protocols in place for record keeping. Each technician should be able to recognise all actions completed and details from inspections made.

Good record keeping also protects the safety of technicians, inspectors, and others who work with your UPS system. It allows anyone working with the system to know which issues may become dangerous over time and how to avoid getting injured.

How and Why Preventative Maintenance Helps.

With UPS systems playing such a vital role in an increasing number of today’s businesses and other organisations, performing proper and regular maintenance is a necessity. If a UPS system goes down during a power outage or fails to protect against surges, the costs could become immense.

Minimises Downtime.

Downtime could present one of the most costly results of not performing regular maintenance and inspections. While waiting for the UPS to be repaired or a power outage to end, customers or clients will go unserved. Projects go uncompleted. Vital communications could go unconnected.

When your business cannot function, it loses profits. When your organisation loses its mission-critical applications, clients go unserved. The costs often add up to more than the price of regular maintenance.
Ensures Proper and Efficient Function

A UPS system does not have to fail entirely to create problems. Poor functionality can also show up in reduced efficiencies.

A properly running UPS system should run at well above 90 per cent efficiency. A higher number correlates to the system using less external power to function. While the difference between a 95 per cent efficient and a 75 per cent efficient system may make little difference in a monthly bill, over a few years the costs can add up to significant numbers.

When you consider that some UPS systems can run for over a quarter of a century, you may get an idea of how much money can be saved by keeping the system running as efficiently as possible.
Ensures Faster Response When Failure Occurs

Failure can and will eventually happen to even the best maintained machines. Regular maintenance and detailed records will help those called to repair the system complete their task more quickly. If they can see problems fixed, issues noted, and other essential details, this can help them get your system back up and running more quickly.

Call us today to learn more about how our experienced and trained technicians can keep your UPS system running at its peak of capability.

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