A Checklist for Testing, Maintaining Uninterruptible Power Supplies
A UPS with a 100 percent charge does not mean much, except the batteries have been charged to their maximum capacity. Many UPS units require testing under load to determine whether the batteries have degraded over time.
The lifespan of UPS batteries is typically three-five years, depending on conditions and maintenance. At that time, technicians must replace them to ensure the unit operates properly. Keeping tabs on indicators of problems can ensure uninterrupted service to the equipment and facility operations, and, in many cases, a healthier bottom line.
Fortunately, many newer UPS have advanced monitoring systems that provide system status for such items as system voltage, battery back-up time, and battery test schedule. Other information the system monitors includes whether the UPS operates on batteries, utility power or maintenance bypass.
Many systems can remotely alert technicians if a problem occurs. This information can be especially helpful if technicians are not on site or monitor the facility remotely. Some UPS can even conduct a controlled shutdown for computers in a network upon receiving a low-battery warning.
Technicians also must test physical equipment quarterly, semi-annually, or annually using a specific checklist of items to cover. The schedule should include:
- conducting visual inspections for wear and deterioration of battery and insulation components
- cleaning and vacuuming the enclosure
- monitoring the enclosure's temperature and humidity
- performing thermal heat scans, which can indicate hot spots that often are the first sign of component failure
- testing other electrical-system components, such as transfer switches, circuit breakers, and maintenance bypasses.