You tender a request for vacation weeks or even months in advance, highlight upcoming appointments on the calendar and share your daily availability with everyone in the organization — right down to the hour. But are you devoting the same level of care and planning to your UPS maintenance schedule?
If you aren’t sure exactly what needs to be done and when, you’re not alone. Yet it’s important to understand that a UPS is not a device you can simply stick in a corner and forget. An effective maintenance strategy — targeting both the overall UPS and its batteries —is critical to your system’s ongoing reliability and performance. The type of batteries will also determine the level and frequency of service; for instance, most smaller UPS’s use sealed batteries that require little maintenance, while other models utilize flooded-cell batteries that require monthly attention.
While some basic maintenance tasks — such as visual inspections — can be performed by in-house staff, most service necessitates a trained technician from a professional service organization, both for the expertise required and to ensure personnel safety.
Benefits of Regular UPS Maintenance Schedule
Maintaining your UPS system is the best way to keep it in working order when you need it most. The benefits of a regular UPS maintenance schedule include:
- Increased life span: A regular maintenance schedule ensures all components of your UPS system are in working order. A properly maintained system can remain operational longer so that you can get the most out of your investment.
- Optimal performance: Regular maintenance ensures that your UPS system is working at peak performance at all times.
- Reduced costs: Repairs can be costly and quickly add up over time. Regular maintenance reduces the likelihood that you will need unexpected repairs and emergency services.
- Reduced risk of 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.
Risks of Not Maintaining Your UPS
When you don’t maintain your UPS system on a regular schedule, you put your organization at risk in many ways, including:
- Loss of necessary power: Because many industries rely on UPS systems during an outage, a complete loss of power can create a critical ── and expensive ── situation. For example, a UPS system failure in the medical industry can prompt a life-or-death condition.
- Increased costs: UPS systems and their batteries can be expensive to replace when they become damaged or degrade due to lack of maintenance. Power failures can also cause costly equipment damage or data loss.
Potential for loss: When the power goes out and you don’t have a reliable backup system, business operations can grind to a halt, resulting in lost revenue and productivity while you wait for UPS service or for the power to come back on.
When To Schedule UPS Maintenance
It’s essential to remember to service your UPS system regularly so you can rely on it when the power goes out. But how often should you schedule UPS maintenance? Consider our overview of UPS maintenance schedule recommendations:
Monthly UPS Maintenance
At least once a month, assign a competent staff member to:
- Conduct a visual inspection of the UPS, making sure the overall environment is clean and free of dust and debris
- Examine and evaluate the room’s ventilation system to confirm it is operational
- Test batteries for adequate electrolytes and any indication of leaks
- If a battery monitoring system is in place, review the results
- Measure the batteries’ ambient temperature
- Measure the battery float charging current
- If a generator is part of the building’s emergency-power system and feeds the UPS, test it
Quarterly UPS Maintenance
On a quarterly basis, it is important for a qualified service technician to:
- Look for loose wires, burned insulation or additional signs of damage
- Measure the voltage of each cell or battery block
- Measure the ambient temperature and negative-post temperature of at least 10 percent of the cells or battery blocks (if possible, check all cells)
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 the system’s capacity, altering the battery’s life span and creating a chance for a fire hazard
- Clean and vacuum UPS equipment enclosures
- Test the UPS’s overall operation
Annual UPS Maintenance
During this important yearly checkup, depending on your equipment type and requirements, expect a technician to:
- Power down the system and inspect each of its parts for indications of corrosion or heat damage
- Use thermal scan technology on electrical connections using a diagnostic tool that identifies hot spots the human eye can’t detect
- Conduct a load-test to determine the capacity of the battery bank, which may require separating the UPS from its power supply and connecting the UPS batteries to a load to determine its power capabilities
- Clear dirt, dust and other particles from the system components
- Measure and check the torque of all connections, re-torquing any power connections as needed
- Run a complete operational test, including a monitored battery-rundown to calculate if the battery is near the end of its life, an AC ripple current and interconnecting cable resistance testing
For flooded-cell batteries, the technician should:
- Examine terminals for wear and buildup of dirt
- Measure and record the voltage and current of the entire bank
- Measure and record the voltage for each individual cell and test electrolytes
- Record and log measurements to track battery performance
Quick Tips for UPS Maintenance
To keep your UPS system running at optimal levels, here are a few quick tips you can follow for an effective maintenance strategy:
- Stick to a maintenance schedule: Regular maintenance is essential to ensuring your UPS system remains operational. Choose a set schedule and stick to it. Keep a record of upcoming maintenance to know when specific tasks need to be performed.
- Keep detailed maintenance records: Create written and electronic records of all maintenance performed on your UPS system so you can track what was done in the past and any maintenance that needs to be added to your schedule.
- Perform regular inspections: Delegate tasks to staff members to inspect equipment regularly. Doing so ensures you stay up-to-date on all your maintenance needs.
- Be prepared for unscheduled maintenance: In some cases, a regular inspection can reveal an unexpected problem that needs to be addressed. Know who you can contact when unscheduled repairs are necessary.
How to Find a UPS Maintenance Provider
Your UPS system is an investment, and you should be able to rely on it when the power goes out. Choosing the right UPS maintenance provider can mean the difference between remaining operational during a power failure ── or being left in the dark.
The technicians at Unified Power are highly trained and knowledgeable about the latest UPS models and maintenance procedures. Our preventative maintenance plan gives you peace of mind so you can rely on your system in a critical situation. We provide 24/7 corrective maintenance to fix your UPS system the moment you experience a problem. We also offer same-day shipping so your system can get repaired and back online as quickly as possible.
UPS Maintenance With Unified Power
We understand that your UPS system is a critical part of maintaining operations in the event of an outage. Unified Power’s maintenance services minimize the risk of system failures and helps prevent future losses. Our four maintenance service tiers allow you to choose the plan best suited to your needs. Contact us for a free customized quote for maintenance you can rely on.
Page updated on February 22, 2022.