You never realize how you’ll miss something until it’s gone.
This is so true of anything you use in your business that relies on power – your telephone system, your computer, your server, your printer, your copier, your fax machine………
If your business depends on these things, you can take steps to keep them operating during commercial power outages, or from being damaged by power fluctuations.
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What do I need?
There are many questions you need to ask yourself to determine what type of UPS battery backup is best for you.
How much do I need?
Each piece of equipment that you wish to protect has power consumption requirements that found in a section normally called ‘input requirements’. This specification should tell you how many volts this piece of equipment needs (normally 110 or 208), and how many Watts are required.
Write down the Watts required by each piece of equipment that you want to protect, add them up, and this is the approximate minimum size of UPS system you are looking for. You may wish to allow for contingencies:
|Watts required by all equipment
|Contingencies (misc. equipment)
|Total Watts Required
How much runtime do I need?
It is important to decide how long you wish your equipment to run during a commercial power outage. Most commercial power outages are under 5 minutes, however, you may want to provide for longer outages if your business would be adversely affected by a commercial power interruption.
What type of battery power do I want?
There are 3 common types of battery protection that people purchase for their equipment:
- Standby – The most common type of backup, batteries operate in ‘standby’ mode. They are constantly charged but ready to go during a power outage. This is the least expensive type of battery backup.
- Line-Interactive – Line-Interactive batteries offer better protection than standby systems since there is less transition time required to go from commercial power to battery power.
- On-Line – The most expensive form of battery protection is On-Line. Equipment connected to this type of UPS runs on batteries all of the time, which makes the transition time 0 in a commercial power outage. Equipment will last longer when plugged into a source of clean, smooth power.
What else to I need to know?
Some other considerations when purchasing a UPS battery backup system are:
- Type/Number of outlets – How many electrical outputs do you need? What voltage (e.g. 110 Volt, 208 Volt)? What type of receptacle (e.g. NEMA -15P, NEMA L5-20P, etc.)?
- Shape – Do you want a Tower or Rack Mount? Tower UPS system (standard) are less expensive, but are meant to sit on the floor or on a shelf. Rack-Mount are meant to fit easily in standard 19″ equipment racks.
- Management – Many UPS battery backup systems now come with a simple interface to allow you to monitor them remotely, and to automatically shut down in the event of commercial power failure.
- Warranty – UPS systems come with a warranty for the UPS itself and for the batteries which keep your equipment up during power loss. The warranty for the UPS may be for much longer than the batteries themselves. It is important that you understand how long each warranty is and what they cover. Additionally, many UPS manufacturers offer limited warranties covering damage to equipment plugged into their products (resulting from power surges that bypassed their system).
Care and maintenance
UPS battery backups can only work if you properly care for them. Some basic rules of thumb:
- UPS systems must be plugged in to stay properly charged. When you buy a UPS, plug it in as soon as possible, even if you are not using it. If you remove one from use and plan on storing, it, you should plug it in to power. The batteries in a UPS system go bad after not being charged in as little as 15 – 30 days.
- UPS systems work best in a climate controlled environment (office temperatures, dust-free, no water damage or moisture).
- Growth – be careful as you grow to not exceed your UPS system’s capacity by connecting too much equipment to it.