Believe it or not, the biggest threat to your UPS system isn’t faulty equipment or your system’s internal components failing. It’s you, the operator. Take a look at how you, along with the other leading causes of UPS system failure, could be putting your facility at risk.
As the first line of defense in protecting your mission-critical equipment, the last thing you want to do is unknowingly compromise part of your system. If part of it breaks down, you could be left high and dry during a power outage.
There are a wide variety of threats that could cause your UPS to fail, ranging from its internal components to faulty operation. However, with the proper knowledge and regular maintenance checks, many of these issues can be avoided.
The Three Biggest Threats to Your UPS System
1. A Faulty Operator – As is the case with most equipment, the number one threat to your UPS is you, the operator. The operator, either by lack of training, misinformation, budget constraint or other issues, subjects UPS systems to conditions that accelerate breakdowns.
We have been in a number of “UPS rooms” with excessive heat, cold, humidity, dust, dirt, packing materials and other contaminants. While some conditions are unavoidable, many can be corrected with proper room planning and UPS maintenance.
A large number of repairs can be traced back to poor environmental conditions that cause a premature failure. In every measurement, operator error is responsible – or at least partially responsible – for more UPS failures than any other single cause.
2. Battery Failure – From an equipment point of view, battery failure is the next most common problem for UPS systems. Fortunately, the majority of these failures are predictable and can be avoided.
Because batteries are the effective heart of most UPS systems, it is vital they are properly installed and maintained. Temperature, humidity, correct sizing, exercising and testing all affect operation, reliability and longevity of your batteries.
Routine battery maintenance with accurate recordkeeping can help an operator budget, schedule and avoid battery failure issues. That’s why we recommend scheduling at least two preventative maintenance checks per year to ensure the health of your UPS battery.
Making sure your battery cabinet or rack is well maintained and kept in the appropriate environment is the single best thing you can do to enhance reliability.
3. Fans, capacitors, and other smaller components failing – After batteries, the usual suspects for UPS failure are fans, capacitors, contactors, sensors and circuit boards, with fans being the next likely item to fail. Once again, a routine maintenance plan will help you spot these components before they fail.
While you can’t catch everything, a complete inspection with thermal scanning, electrical and electronic systems testing as well as a visual inspection can help you catch potential problems before they happen.