Don’t let your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery run out — here’s how to keep your battery running as long as possible. 

Key Takeaways:

  • An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery has a limited lifespan.
  • Ambient temperature and other factors can impact how long a UPS battery runs. 
  • Regular monitoring of a UPS battery ensures you can identify any performance issues before they get out of hand. 
  • With a proactive approach to UPS battery maintenance, you can maximize your battery’s lifespan. 

A UPS, aka a battery backup, can keep your business running if the power goes out. In doing so, it protects your computers, servers, and other essential equipment against power disruptions, albeit for a limited amount of time. 

How long your UPS runs is predicated on its battery. If you do your part to manage and maintain the system’s battery, you can extend its lifespan. 

How long will a UPS battery last?

The length of time that a UPS battery lasts varies based on several factors, including:

1. Ambient temperature

The typical rated capacity of a UPS battery is based on the ambient operating temperature of 77°F (25°C). Any deviation from this temperature can affect the battery’s performance and lifespan. 

2. Cycling

Upon installation of a UPS, the system’s battery has a 100% rated capacity. Each time the battery gets used, though, the capacity declines. This is due to the battery’s “discharge cycle.” 

In a power outage, a UPS uses battery power to keep the electricity going. Once utility power is restored or a move to generator power is completed, the system’s battery starts to recharge for future use. Each time the battery loses power and has to be recharged, its capacity declines.

Reduction in UPS battery capacity depends on the length and depth of the discharge cycle. Ultimately, each time you use your system, you lower its battery capacity.  

3. Battery chemistry

Three main types of batteries are used in UPS systems: 

  • Nickel-cadmium (NiCd)
  • Lead-acid (LA)
  • Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) 

Each battery type has pros and cons, and the chemical composition can impact its ability to store and deliver power over time. 

NiCd batteries are generally designed to last about 20 years and have a high cycle life and tolerance to extensive discharges. However, they tend to be more expensive than LA batteries. NiCd batteries also contain toxic materials, so it can be costly to dispose of them once they reach their end of life. 

Comparatively, valve-regulated and open-vented LA batteries are economical options for a UPS. Valve-regulated LA batteries usually perform for up to 10 years, while open-vented options may last twice as long. Yet, LA batteries tend to be heavier than other battery options. They require more time, energy, and resources to maintain than NiCD and Li-Ion options as well. 

Li-Ion batteries are small, lightweight, and offer better reliability than NiCd and LA options. They may require a higher upfront cost than NiCd and LA batteries, but Li-Ion batteries also require less maintenance. 

It helps to learn as much as you can about different battery options before you set up a UPS. This allows you to determine which type of battery can deliver the best ROI based on your business requirements. 

There’s a lot to consider when you select a UPS. In addition to the aforementioned system battery factors, you need to think about system maintenance. That way, you can make a plan to properly maintain your system’s battery now and in the future. 

3 UPS battery maintenance tips you need to know

Maintenance is paramount, regardless of the UPS system you choose or the battery it uses. With a clear understanding of system battery maintenance, you’re well-equipped to guard against system issues. Plus, you can identify and address battery problems before they escalate. Best of all, you’ll be able to get the most value out of your system. 

Now, let’s look at three things you can do to maintain a UPS battery. 

1. Install your system in a cool, dry location

Keep your UPS away from open windows or high-moisture areas. Also, maintain at least 2 in. of space on each side of your system for proper airflow. Perform regular monitoring of the ambient temperature where your system is set up, too. 

2. Recharge your battery within 48 hours of discharge

Perform a full recharge of your UPS battery within 48 hours of discharge to prevent long-term damage. Do not overcharge or excessively discharge your battery, either, as doing so can reduce its lifespan. 

3. Use a battery monitoring device

Pick up a monitoring device, so you can continuously track your UPS battery’s performance. The device lets you monitor changes in voltage, ambient temperature, and other battery performance factors. 

When it comes to UPS battery maintenance, it pays to be proactive. Using the aforementioned tips will help you maximize the lifespan and performance of your system’s battery. But even those who work diligently to maintain their UPS may need extra help as they try to get the best results out of their system. 

If you need additional help with your UPS, the Universal Electrical team can provide assistance. UES has commercial electrical services experts on staff who can help you install a UPS and keep it running at peak levels. To learn more, please contact us today