Properly balancing the load on your three-phase uninterruptible power system (UPS) helps to ensure the unit’s reliable performance and maximized capacity. Equalizing the load across all three phases is key to overall operating efficiency. Furthermore, when your power load is evenly distributed, it makes it easier to plan new build-outs and accommodate additional capacity.
However, the simple concept of load balancing is often overlooked, which can result in either your UPS transferring to bypass or shutting down as a self-protection and safety measure due to overload.
In a three-phase UPS, each phase works together to carry the critical power load. Yet because the UPS doesn’t recognize the difference between just one or multiple phases being taxed, the unit can interpret one maximized phase as the entire load being over capacity.
For example, if an 80 kVA UPS has a single phase that is utilizing all of its available capacity, the UPS will think it is overloaded and as a result, switch into bypass mode — despite the fact that in reality, only one phase is being taxed. The load, when correctly balanced, may actually be at only 50 percent of available capacity.
As a result, it is imperative to know exactly which devices are being supported — and their corresponding load — on the distribution panels. Overloading tends to occur in facilities where there is little control over the equipment being plugged in to the UPS outlets, or when a new device is added to a phase without consideration of the complete load.
Do you know exactly which pieces of your equipment are supported by each phase of your UPS system? The mission-critical nature of equipment and the enterprises safeguarded by power protection solutions demand that potentially damaging overloads be handled properly. Likewise, any new build-out should be designed to balance the new load, or at least arranged according to a design plan that safely segments it.
The new year is the perfect time to assess your UPSs and distribution panels and determine the exact devices being supported, as well as their corresponding loads. If needed, you should make adjustments to ensure that the entire critical power load is evenly dispersed on all three phases of the UPS. If there is any uncertainty, you may wish to contact a third-party UPS service provider, who is expertly trained on load balancing and can provide reassurance that your critical environment will remain up and running — and optimally performing — at all times.
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