Learn how a UPS works, why they’re great, and the different designs available.

Key Takeaways:

  • A UPS supplies emergency power and power surge protection
  • UPS designs come in several types
  • Data centers stand to benefit most from a well installed and maintained UPS

If one piece of hardware spells “major ROI”, it’s an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). You won’t have heard about businesses that use them. That’s because the brutal statistics – and sometimes the headlines – highlight companies who either didn’t know about UPS systems or thought they could get by without one. Read this easy guide to understand the importance of a UPS electrical power supply!

UPS basics

Some UPS units provide immediate backup power. Others have a lag that, while measured in microseconds, may be too long for bigger and more data-sensitive businesses. Depending on its size, a UPS can power consumer electronics, network equipment, communications equipment, and servers.

Most UPS units are powered by rechargeable batteries, but some use fuel/capacitor hybrids or kinetic energy from rotating flywheels. All allow a UPS to keep working when other grid-connected components fail due to power surges or other electrical problems. A UPS also has a bypass switch that enables channeling power from the grid to your systems even if the UPS goes down.

Some UPS designs can only supply 5-10 minutes of power to safely shut down electrical systems and software. Bigger UPS units provide significantly more time, but no model supplies power indefinitely.

5 benefits of UPS electrical power supply systems 

The technical capabilities of UPS units are an obvious, but they also provide these benefits:

1. Safety when power misbehaves

A UPS protects electrical equipment against electromagnetic noise, voltage sags and spikes, and power surges. Standby UPS models must register these electrical imperfections to start working. Other designs will be active regardless of electrical quality.

2. Bridge the connectivity gap

Financial and operational damage that system downtime creates is measured by the minute, not the hour. The average cost of downtime across all industries has risen to around $9,000 per minute! The amount lost varies by industry; data centers taking the biggest hits from even the smallest outages. This infographic reveals more on connectivity gaps; 41% of businesses experienced unexpected weekly or monthly downtime.

The bigger the business, the more it stands to lose financially from a connectivity gap. This doesn’t mean smaller companies have fewer worries! They could suffer potentially business-ending losses because they don’t have the resources larger enterprises have to help them recover.

Adding a UPS to your electrical framework gives your business enough time to shut systems down safely amid outages or other issues. You may have to sit out a power outage until the grid is back online, but you’ll be doing that much more safely than if you’d lost connectivity suddenly (and violently during a power surge). You’ll also be less liable to customer retaliation. Here’s what we mean.

3. Protecting reputations

Every business has customers who want them to stay online so they can be contacted and provide service. Downtime makes a company unavailable, and unavailable can easily become “unreliable” in a customer’s eyes, whether they’re a consumer or another business. Departing customers mean lost revenue, and negative word of mouth or online reviews could divert potential new customers.

4. Protect the public and other businesses

Many businesses manage their customers’ data. Some are relied upon by other businesses to provide products or services. A power outage could result in data loss, and customers really hate it when their data is compromised. At best, they’ll take their business elsewhere. At worst, they’ll hit you with a lawsuit as they leave.

Power losses could cause trouble for businesses connected to yours, forcing them offline while you are. This could strain or even end that relationship. “But a power surge or grid failure isn’t our fault,” you may say; technically, you’d be right. But the blame does rest with companies when they don’t compensate for electrical risks by installing a UPS!

5. Choose from multiple designs

UPS electrical systems aren’t “one size fits all”. Businesses must choose the right model for their needs. Choices include:

-Online UPS/Double Conversion

Ideal for IT-heavy and data-dependent businesses, these designs kick in instantaneously with no power-transfer time. This is because they’re always on, unlike a standby UPS. Their greater power and instant response time makes them more expensive.

Double converters switch incoming alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC), and then back into AC using a rectifier and inverter, respectively. This helps to “clean up” the incoming power, stripping it of imperfections that could damage electrical frameworks.


A standby’s inverter must be activated by electrical problems before it supplies power. This delay could be a liability for some businesses, whereas others wouldn’t be affected. This lag means standbys should be used to provide backup power to noncritical electrical components. These designs provide backup power for around 5-10 minutes.

-Line-Interactive (LI)

These rapid response designs are always active and charging their battery whenever AC grid power is at normal levels, but some can still have a power-transfer time of a few milliseconds. LIs generate a pure sine-wave output, making them ideal for powering sensitive electronic equipment like computers and variable frequency drives, protecting them from overheating.

Don’t pick the cheapest UPS available. Speak to electrical professionals to be sure you’re selecting the right UPS, and that it’s correctly installed to account for optimal environmental conditions and maintenance access.

Call UES for UPS advice and installation

Now you know the importance of UPS for electrical power supplies! Our relationship with quality UPS manufacturers means our electrical experts can select and install UPS units to the highest standard. Contact us with any questions or for a free quote.