Environmental Factors That Can Cause your UPS to Fail

A UPS is a valuable backup power system that provides protection of mission-critical equipment in the event of a power failure or a dip or surge from the electrical grid. However, it’s important to monitor and maintain the atmospheric conditions to ensure the UPS works at its optimum – the alternative could have dire consequences for your business. Here’s what you need to consider. 

  1. Dust and your UPS

One of the biggest threats to your UPS functionality is the invisible enemy – dust particles. Dust is any solid particle less than 500 micrometres in size which can get into almost every part of your UPS system. When dust builds up, there is a reduction in airflow within the UPS, pressure on the system and, eventually, causes failure. 

  • What dust types are there?

To give you an idea of how prevalent dust can be in any workplace, here’s a look at the different dust types that are found. 

  • Mineral dust

This comes from extraction and procession of minerals like coal and cement.  

  • Metallic dust

This comes from metal compounds like cadmium, lead and nickel in engineering and construction. 

  • Organic dust 

This includes wood, pollen, flour, cotton and vegetable dust generally in the food processing industry. 

  • Natural biohazards 

These are moulds and spores from water treatment and agricultural facilities. 

  • Chemical dusts and pesticides 

These are found in processing environments and the agronomy industry. 

  • What to do?

You need to minimise the amount of dust getting to the UPS devices, particularly if you’re working in food processing, water treatment or manufacturing industries where dust is prevalent. You’ll need to store the UPS in a dust-free enclosure and possibly invest in air filtering to maintain clean air circulation. 

  1. Heat and your UPS

Another environmental threat to your UPS battery operations is excess heat. This is because all UPS’s and  batteries have a rated capacity based on specified environmental conditions, with an ambient room temperature of 25°C. Anything exceeding this will diminish your battery life. 

  • What to do?

You need to ensure the storage facility for your UPS maintains a consistent room temperature through artificial cooling if required. 

  1. Moisture and your UPS

Alongside elevated heat, too much humidity will also prove detrimental to your UPS function. When moisture gets into the UPS, it corrodes the elements and can even lead to a failure and even fire. 

  • What to do?

If you are concerned about elevated humidity levels, then you need to check with consultants and adjust if needed. A UPS requires a maximum relative humidity of less than 95%, otherwise you might require de-humidifying equipment. 

  1. Sea air and your UPS

If you’re based in a coastal location, you’ll need to factor in the distance of your UPS from the sea. The closer you are, the more likely fans are to draw in salty sea air which will quickly corrode the UPS circuit board and can lead to strange failures. 

  • What to do?

You’ll need to work with a vendor that has experience in supplying UPS equipment to coastal locations, and consider adapting the environment to lower the likelihood of the humid, salty air accessing the UPS devices. Using a clear lacquer coating on exposed printed circuit boards also helps maintain the integrity of the equipment.

  1. UPS battery storage timeframe

While it’s always good to be prepared and buy replacement UPS batteries ahead of time, you can’t make this investment too far ahead of time or you risk degrading the new batteries before they’re even used. 

  • What to do?

If you’re going to buy batteries, you shouldn’t keep them for longer than 12 months before use or there will be permanent loss of capacity. Like a UPS device, the batteries will need to be stored in cooler temperatures for maximum life expectancy. 

Benefits of preventative maintenance for your UPS

The decreasing functionality of a UPS battery will impact the UPS operation and result in unwanted downtime. To mitigate any environmental threats to your UPS battery life, you should perform regular maintenance on your UPS. Some of the benefits of routine maintenance include:

  • Ensuring a reliable power supply

In case of a power surge, dip or cut completely, you can always rest assured that your UPS is providing you with the power protection you need, when you need it. 

  • No environmental changes

We’ve highlighted the dangers of environmental threats to UPS health, but sometimes there are changes to the environment which aren’t immediately evident. Routine checks will pick up on any changes so they can be quickly remedied. 

  • Monitor battery life

UPS maintenance will check every battery to determine how it is functioning and when it will need to be replaced. A cycling monitor is able to accurately predict your battery’s ‘end-of-life’ and replacement times determined. 

Make sure that the storage conditions for your UPS and UPS batteries is optimum by consulting with JUP Solutions. Drawing on years of experience and incorporating the latest technology and techniques, JUP Solutions will ensure your UPS is fully operational at all times. 

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