In recent blogs, we have detailed the numerous vulnerabilities of uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), as well as their most common causes of failure. Although there are a multitude of factors threatening to reduce the lifespan of your power protection solution, there’s also an amazingly simple way you can help ensure optimal UPS performance while minimizing the risks of downtime: regular preventive maintenance (PM).
Because PM visits provide the opportunity to detect and repair potential problems before they become significant and costly issues, they are crucial to achieving maximum performance from your equipment. In fact, studies show that routine PM significantly reduces the likelihood of UPS-induced downtime. One study revealed that customers who don’t engage in PM are almost four times more likely to experience a UPS failure than those who complete the recommended two preventive maintenance visits per year. Here are five reasons you need to pencil PM visits onto your calendar:
- Prevent battery failure. While bad batteries rank as the top cause of UPS failure, the good news is that regular inspection can almost always predict it. Semi-annual preventative maintenance visits include visual inspection, thermal image scans and even testing with state-of-the-art battery analyzers systems, which check impedance, AC ripple and other factors to determine battery health. Trained technicians can then assess results and help determine if a battery string is failing, then provide a recommendation on when batteries should be replaced.
- Identify impending component problems. Batteries aren’t the only source of potential catastrophe within a UPS. During a PM visit, a technician will also examine and test a long list of other internal components, including fans, capacitors, internal connections, air filters, power supplies, contactors and relays.
- Hone in on detrimental environmental factors. Sometimes it’s beneficial to obtain a bigger-picture view, as issues that contribute to poor power quality aren’t always internal to your UPS. For instance, poorly designed or maintained electrical infrastructure and even dirty facility environments can result in thousands of dollars per year in wasted energy. By contracting with a solutions provider for preventive maintenance, you gain the expertise of a skilled technician who is trained at identifying larger issues, such as inefficient equipment and dangerous environmental conditions. These solutions providers can then offer appropriate facility-level recommendations.
- Assess generator performance. Designed to be a secondary source of power, generators must also be properly maintained to ensure they respond as expected when they are needed. Like UPSs, the most common cause of a generator failure is its battery. Although not included in a UPS service call, generator inspection is critical to maintaining facility infrastructure and mission-critical loads. Regular testing will also ensure the generator is properly sized, configured and maintained to support the UPS and infrastructure.
- Minimize downtime. Although regular PM visits will go a long way toward ensuring continuous uptime and safeguarding equipment, the fact is, power anomalies do occur — and a fast response is key to thwarting disaster. There’s no substitute for having a reliable, experienced UPS service provider on speed dial; one who will not only react quickly in the event of an emergency, but who is also familiar with your equipment and facility. This relationship can be fundamental to minimizing disruption and restoring business operations.