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How long do UPS systems last?

Your Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system plays a critical role in providing seamless power for your business during an outage. However, determining how long a UPS will last requires an understanding of its size, required energy supply, battery capacity, number, and condition.

You need to know that your UPS system will last long enough for your specific needs. Here’s everything you need to know…

What is a UPS system for?

Your UPS serves as a vital power source for your business when utility power fails. It seamlessly provides energy, allowing you to shut down safely without losing essential data or switching to an alternative power source like a generator.

What size UPS system do I need?

Calculating the required size of your UPS is a process that takes all your business requirements and outputs into consideration.

Vital Power’s team of expert UPS engineers will help recommend the right systems for your needs, and can help measure and predict required output. We’ll calculate UPS efficiency and ore to make sure you’ve got a reliable system that will cover all your equipment comfortably in the event of an outage.

UPS load ratings are measured in volt-amperes (VA), and can differ in size from 300 VA up to multiple million VA. The more VA a UPS system has, the more power it supplies.

How to work out what UPS size you need

Though our team of engineers will be able to make the final recommendations and provide expert insight, you can get a rough estimate of the UPS system you’ll need so you can have an idea ahead of time.

Step 1 – List all the equipment and devices the UPS will need to supply.

Step 2 – Calculate the volt and amp requirement of everything on the list.

Step 3 – Multiply volts x amps for each device to get the VA amount.

Step 4 – Add all devices’ VA amounts together to get a total.

Step 5 – Take the total and multiply by 1.2, allowing room for extra output and growth as required.

This will give you a rough estimate of the amount of output and power draw required.

How to Calculate UPS Runtime

UPS System Maintenance

How long your UPS can run for will depend on the power drawn and the batteries’ size and number. Obviously, more demand will cause batteries to run out more quickly. Most UPS manufacturers will provide approximate runtimes with their equipment, though these will of course vary based on the situation and other differentials on-site.

UPS performance and runtime can be affected by the age of the battery, the condition of the equipment, the operating temperature and several other factors.

Battery Life and Maintenance

UPS Battery Maintenance

Battery life is a crucial aspect of UPS longevity. Regular preventive maintenance, including monitoring battery alarm systems, conducting discharge cycling, and ensuring batteries are kept fully charged, is vital. This maintenance helps prevent premature battery failure and ensures optimal performance during power outages.

As general rule of thumb for UPS systems, battery packs typically last between three to five years, depending on usage patterns, environmental conditions, and the type of battery. However, with proper maintenance and care, the lifespan can be extended.

Several factors impact the lifespan of UPS systems. These include the power source quality, energy storage capacity, power factor, and the wattage rating of the UPS. Additionally, the temperature and humidity levels in the server room or data centre where the UPS is installed can also affect its longevity.

To maximise the lifespan of UPS systems, it’s essential to invest in high-quality equipment, conduct regular preventive maintenance, and monitor battery health closely. Having efficient energy management practices, such as load shedding during peak demand periods, can also help extend UPS lifespan by reducing strain on the system.

How long does my UPS need to last?

UPS Maintenance

It sounds obvious, but your UPS needs to last long enough to sustain your equipment if there’s an emergency outage. While the UPS is designed to ensure you don’t suffer total downtime in a power failure, it’s important to couple this with a wider power outage contingency plan.

You’ll need to know what to do in an emergency to ensure safety and operational sustainability. This might involve knowing which systems to shut down, relying on a standby generator or other plans. Our team at Vital Power can help design a bespoke contingency plan for your business to offer peace of mind.

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