How Long Does a UPS Last?

No one expects a UPS system to last forever, but when your mission-critical equipment must keep running, the question is, “How long does a UPS last?” The answer lies in understanding the lifecycle of a UPS – in particular, its key components.

When are you at most risk for UPS failure? In this case, it is the individual parts of the UPS that provide the answer. You have to know the lifecycle of key components such as batteries, capacitors and other critical components to assess how long your UPS will last.

The Lifecycle of a UPS: Component by Component

Some UPS systems may normally last up to 13 years or more before they need to be replaced. However, its critical components are subject to failure far earlier than the UPS itself.

Below is a timeline of the expected lifecycle requirements for most data center and facility UPS systems. Note how nearly every four years, some component of your UPS is at risk for failure, and likely needs to be replaced.

UPS System Lifecycle

The lifecycle chart illustrates why most UPS manufacturers recommend having your system tested and inspected by a trained service professional at least twice a year. (Click on chart for enlarged version.)

These tests are important to help you understand how your UPS, batteries and internal components are trending and helps to establish proper metrics for replacement. For example, battery failure can almost always be predicted by routine testing.

Covering Lifecycle Costs

It is important to understand these lifecycle costs before you purchase a system. The initial capital expense of a unit may only represent 30 percent or less of the total life cost of a system.

Properly sizing a unit to maximize efficiency, understanding future load requirements, and ensuring that the system is not straddled with the expense of a manufacturer’s proprietary software are all ways to eliminate wasted resources.

Additionally, there may be resources available in the form of grants or energy credits by increasing energy efficiency in your UPS system.

Like any machine, a little knowledge of the critical parts and regular maintenance may help to extend the lifespan of your UPS, yet for any facility manager, it’s not just about delaying the eventual replacement costs.  It’s about ensuring your critical systems stay online.

The question is not how long does a UPS system last, but rather, is the cost of downtime more than the maintenance required to keep your mission-critical UPS systems online and healthy?

9 replies
  1. Pranav B Shah
    Pranav B Shah says:

    Uninterruptible power supplies, also known as backup power supplies, keep your business running by providing continuous power to your critical systems, such as computers and networking equipment, in the event of a power failure.

    An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is a device that supplies emergency power to a computer or other electrical equipment in the event of a power outage.

    The life of a UPS can be affected significantly by its in-use environment. Factors like the quality of power input, battery temperature, and the frequency of a UPS’s discharge cycles can all affect how long it lasts.

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    grademiners says:

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  3. Chance Cook
    Chance Cook says:

    It’s good to know that I can extend my UPSs lifespan by knowing a bit about the critical parts. I figured only professionals could fix it up. But I am glad that is not the case.

  4. William
    William says:

    Thanks for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.

  5. Steve
    Steve says:

    One of the best and comprehensive article on lifecycle of a ups, i am bookmarking it so i can read it again.thank you mike bergum, you really inspired me to learn more.


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  1. […] the real cost for most UPS systems happens after the unit is installed. We’ve covered the lifecycle of a UPS before, but it is worth repeating. The main driving factors in the cost of a UPS system include the […]

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