Think Around the Box

The right environment improves efficiency and extends the life of your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment.

Industry experts agree that regular proactive and preventive maintenance performed by professional field service technicians can maximize the life and efficiency of your backup power supply equipment. But creating and maintaining a safe, clean, climate-controlled setting outside your unit(s) may be just as important for performance and safety. Here are a few ways to get the most from your backup power dollar in 2015.

1) Keep it clean
Your uninterruptible power supply area should not double as a storage area. Get rid of any trash or unrelated UPS Unitmaterials around your uninterruptible power supply units. This creates better airflow plus safer (and faster) working conditions for technicians. In addition to eliminating what you can see, make sure to remove dust and contaminates from the whole UPS system environment with a thorough cleaning. This keeps cooling efficient and UPS parts running smoothly.

2) Temperature matters
Make sure it’s not too hot or too cold for your UPS units by checking your thermostat regularly. Electronic components work best when they’re kept cool but not cold. In general, manufacturers specify that equipment can operate in ambient temperatures between 0°C and 40°C, but we know temps at the higher end are not good for most UPS parts and that UPS batteries work best between 20°C and 25°C. More specifically, a battery operating at 25°C has an expected life of four years. That battery life is halved for every 10° above or below 25°C.

In climates prone to extreme humidity, electronic components are vulnerable to moisture condensation. If humidity is the norm in your location, set the room to the lower end of the safe spectrum so that it remains above the dew point at all times.

3) Ventilate
Good airflow will help you manage the temperature as well as air quality around your uninterruptible power supply equipment. Make sure that the ventilation system is able to remove airborne toxic, corrosive or other contaminants and is capable of removing flammable aerosols and gasses such as hydrogen, which is a particular concern with UPS batteries. Hydrogen is explosive and should not be allowed to accumulate to greater than a two percent concentration of the total air volume in a space. In fact, most regulations stipulate a maximum concentration of only one percent. Examine your ventilation system periodically and confirm that it is working adequately and safely.

4) Speaking of safety…
Be sure to include a safety check in your regular environmental assessment. Uninterruptible power supply units are part of critical systems that can be dangerous, but risks such as electrocution, hazardous gas leaks, and fire can be minimized with proper attention. As a starting point, ensure that doors are secure and that emergency lighting works properly. Review your spill containment protocol. Also, confirm that battery blocks installed in racks have a minimum 10mm gap between each block. This distance ensures adequate ventilation and can help to avoid thermal runaway, a rare but dangerous circumstance arising when a battery block goes open circuit.

Examine and test your fire alarm and suppression systems, including the clean agent system and double interlock pre-action system if you have both. Consult with your manufacturers and certified field service technician for a comprehensive list of safety checks that works best for your system and the regulations in your area.

Make it a great year!
Part of our job at DC Group is to help you strategize for maximum savings and get more from your backup power equipment. If you have questions about your maintenance plan or have other questions about saving with DC Group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to be a partner in smart asset management. Stay tuned for more ways to save in 2015!