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Maximizing Efficiency and Reliability with UPS Preventive Maintenance Services

Ensuring the ongoing optimal performance of your uninterruptible power system (UPS) is not unlike maintaining your automobile; both require regular testing and maintenance. Just as a trained mechanic should periodically look under the hood of your car and perform activities such as oil changes, preventive maintenance (PM) is necessary to maximize the efficiency and reliability of your UPS system. 

Uninterruptible power supply preventive maintenance is the practice of proactively conducting routine inspections, tests, and servicing so imminent issues can be detected and mitigated. An effective preventive maintenance procedure will include scheduled service tasks aimed at helping to prevent failures, including visual inspections, battery testing, firmware and software updates, and load testing.

men working on wall control system

Why Is Preventive Maintenance for UPSs Important?

Regular preventive maintenance visits provide the opportunity for technicians to detect and repair potential problems before they become significant and costly issues. In fact, studies show that routine preventive maintenance of UPSs significantly reduces the likelihood of UPS-induced downtime. One study revealed that customers who don’t engage in preventive maintenance are almost four times more likely to experience a UPS failure than those who complete the recommended two preventive maintenance visits per year. 

There are numerous benefits to engaging in routine UPS preventive maintenance, including:

Minimized downtime ― UPS systems are an excellent source of backup power in the event of a power outage, and a well-maintained system minimizes losses that can occur from unexpected downtime. It also helps prevent data loss and equipment damage that can occur during a power failure.

Increased UPS lifespan ― A regular maintenance schedule helps keep UPS components in optimal working order. A properly maintained system that lasts longer helps you get the most out of your investment.

Higher performance ― Regular maintenance ensures that your UPS system and its individual components operate at peak performance. 

Improved ROI ― Investing in routine preventive maintenance is significantly less than the potentially devastating and costly consequences of unplanned downtime events. Unexpected repairs and emergency services can add up quickly over time, but regular maintenance dramatically reduces their likelihood by enabling many impending issues to be detected and repaired before they become significant and expensive problems.  

Extended battery life ― As the most vulnerable part of a UPS, batteries are among the leading causes of load loss. Because of this, they require their own preventive maintenance care. Properly maintaining and managing UPS batteries will not only help extend their overall service life, but also reduce the likelihood of costly downtime.

The likelihood of catching other issues ― 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 providers can then offer appropriate facility-level recommendations.

4 UPS Components That Require Preventive Maintenance

Like your automobile engine, a UPS contains a number of moving parts that are susceptible to failure. Engaging in preventive maintenance affords the opportunity to regularly examine these parts ― greatly reducing the risk of a load loss and helping to maximize UPS efficiency and reliability. Four of the most common components that require regular preventive maintenance include:

  1. Batteries ― There are several factors that impact UPS battery life, including shelf life, ambient temperature, battery chemistry, and cycling. Regular maintenance will help you to estimate when batteries are approaching the end of life so you can schedule replacements before risking downtime. The type of batteries in your UPS will determine the level and frequency of service needed. While most smaller units contain sealed batteries that require little maintenance, other models utilize flooded-cell batteries that require monthly attention.
  2. Capacitors ― UPS capacitors, which store and release electrical energy, must be replaced at or near the end of their rated service life, which is typically around five to seven years. A service technician can diagnose their condition and perform a full or partial replacement of capacitor banks to maintain UPS performance.
  3. Air filters ― Because dirt and dust can block UPS air filters and lead to overheating and shutdown, these filters should be inspected every month. Regularly replacing air filters represents an inexpensive component of a comprehensive and effective UPS maintenance plan.
  4. Connections ― The internal connections on a UPS can be impacted by a variety of factors, including vibrations from buildings, local construction projects or machinery close to the unit. To safeguard against these problems, technicians should scan for hot spots on a regular basis.

6 Tips for Creating a Solid UPS Preventive Maintenance Strategy

The optimal UPS maintenance procedure will vary depending on your specific equipment types and requirements, with UPS preventive maintenance frequency ranging from monthly to annual. While your internal staff may be capable of completing basic tasks, such as conducting visual inspections, for most UPS maintenance services it is beneficial to take advantage of third-party providers. 

To maximize the reliability, performance, and efficiency of your UPS, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Stick to a schedule ― Establishing a regular UPS maintenance schedule is key to achieving ongoing reliability. Choose a set schedule and do not deviate from it. It helps to keep a record of upcoming maintenance to know when specific tasks should be performed.
  2. Identify a trusted service partner ― While some basic maintenance tasks, such as visual inspections, can be performed by in-house staff, most UPS service necessitates a trained technician from a professional service organization. This not only ensures the expertise required but also personnel safety. Seek an experienced company that specializes in working on UPS and power-related equipment, and make sure the firm is proficient with your specific brand(s) of equipment.
  3. Perform monthly UPS maintenance tasks ― At least once a month, delegate a competent staff member to conduct a visual inspection of the UPS to confirm that the overall environment is clean and free of dust and debris. It is also important to evaluate the room’s ventilation system and check batteries for any signs of leaks. If a battery monitoring system is in place, review the results, and test any generator that feeds the UPS. 
  4. Complete quarterly maintenance activities ― On a quarterly basis, a qualified service technician should inspect the UPS for loose wires, burned insulation or other signs of damage. This is also the time to measure the voltage of each battery cell or block, as well as test their ambient temperature.
  5. Engage in semi-annual UPS maintenance ― Twice a year, a trained technician should inspect and repair battery connections as needed, since loose or dirty connections can cause heat buildup in battery terminals, reducing system capacity and battery lifespan. Testing the UPS system and cleaning any equipment enclosures should also be completed every six months.
  6. Contract for annual UPS maintenance ― During this important yearly checkup, expect a technician to power down the system and inspect each of its parts for indications of corrosion or heat damage. They may use thermal scan technology on electrical connections to identify hot spots; conduct battery testing and load bank assessments; clear dirt, dust and other particles from the system components; and measure and check the torque of all connections, re-torquing any power connections as needed. Thorough battery capacity tests and inspections should also be completed.

Commit to a Preventive Maintenance Schedule With Unified Power

Wondering how to set up preventive maintenance? Unified Power offers a comprehensive range of service options for UPS, batteries, and generators. From UPS preventive maintenance and UPS battery preventive maintenance to emergency services, we have you covered. Depending on your needs, we offer four different levels of routine UPS preventive maintenance services. And with our ability to service equipment from any manufacturer, we provide the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected at all times. We can help you establish a UPS preventive maintenance checklist designed to maximize the reliability and efficiency of your power protection solution. Contact us today to learn more.

Contact Unified Power for UPS Power Solutions. We provide immediate help for UPS failure and mission critical power services to help you keep your UPS in the best condition possible, preventing failures and unexpected downtime.
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