These important safety devices can provide backup power and buy businesses valuable time.

Key Takeaways:

  • A UPS can provide a window for essential systems and data to be safely closed and backed up.
  • This added time can prevent data loss and damage to equipment.
  • Businesses can have the perfect UPS designed to fit their building’s power needs.

Picture a commercial building that doesn’t have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Operations are going smoothly, until disaster strikes. It may be a huge power surge. It could be crazy Florida weather. Whatever the emergency, it’s caused a power disruption. This means operating systems must be shut down fast before the power goes out and potentially kills data and equipment.

However, if everything can’t be shut down before the lights go out and server banks stop humming, there’s no telling how much damage could be done. Let’s rewind the clock to before disaster hits and install a UPS into our fictional commercial building. Spoiler alert: everything turns out fine.

What UPS systems are — and why they matter

A UPS is a form of emergency backup power which is usually battery-operated and activates when a primary source of electricity becomes unstable or cuts off entirely. It’s there to buy enough time to shut systems and electrical equipment down without panic when faced with a sudden and long-term power disruption.

The UPS is always on and keeps its battery continuously charged. This has the minor downside of being a consistent power draw when not in use, but you’ll be glad when it kicks in. Other commercial buildings power problems include voltage dips, spikes, or issues with alternating current. UPS systems can compensate for all this by detecting frequency and voltage discrepancies and supplying clean, reliable power.

A UPS enables continuous business operation and preserves equipment and data which can be harmed, lost, or destroyed when power shuts off. Staying operational lets businesses continue serving customers without interruptions, sidestepping the risk of upsetting or losing those customers and their revenue. 

The “uninterruptible” part of the UPS name doesn’t mean unstoppable. It will stop supplying power on its own after a set amount of time. This is why having the right commercial generator is essential if you need to keep power flowing longer-term. The UPS and generator can provide a double backup; just think of them as a WWE pro-wrestling duo, with the UPS providing enough time to “tag” the generator in to win the match.

More benefits of UPS systems for commercial buildings

Power outages can occur when it’s already dark, making managing them more difficult or even dangerous. A UPS can be essential in keeping the lights on so everyone can see what they’re doing and where they’re going.

System shutdown can be an extended process for bigger businesses, requiring some employees to stay home longer than others. Air conditioning and heating systems can continue running to keep the building comfortable — provided the UPS is sufficiently powerful. It’s not the ideal solution, however, nor is it a common one. It’s best for the UPS to let the generator maintain environmental functions.

The different kinds of commercial UPS systems

A UPS is relatively small. They get bigger the more power and working time they supply, but they can easily fit into your existing electrical infrastructure. Three types of UPS are:

  • Double conversion: They convert power twice by filtering, then changing, incoming power into DC power, then back to AC. These excel at protecting your business’s critical loads, which absolutely must be kept online to provide the service and maintain health and safety. They’re ideal for data centers, high-end servers, and essential IT equipment that need an instant failover when grid power drops.
  • Line-interactive: These filter and refine electrical power before adjusting the output to supply clean electricity at safe levels, decreasing or increasing utility power as required. They can have batteries but won’t always need to use them to protect servers, PCs, and network equipment. 
  • Standby: These designs wait until they’re needed, activating their power inverter whenever voltages run too high or too low. It’s a good solution for basic electrical equipment; they’re limited to providing battery backup power and surge protection. Standbys can activate within only a few milliseconds. That’s really quick, but it typically isn’t fast enough for situations a double converter handles.

How do you know which one is right for your commercial building? Ask the professionals. The very best teams can create and fit a custom UPS, as well as providing ongoing care for it.

UPS design, installation, and maintenance

It’s important to have your UPS specifically designed for your commercial building, which requires an inventory of all electrical equipment the UPS will have to support to calculate the right power levels. Custom design covers these unique wattage demands, and helps your business capitalize on UPS developments. These include remote monitoring, greater environmental efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and space-vector modulation for rapid UPS response rates.

The next key step is proper installation. Only experienced electrical professionals can integrate a UPS into your current framework, ensure all relevant systems are securely connected, and provide the unit(s) with safeguards against unauthorized access.

While a UPS isn’t intended to run long-term, it can last much longer with the proper maintenance. Our earlier blog offers advice on UPS care, including how to properly recharge your UPS battery and install the unit in a cool, dry location.

UES are your UPS experts

Universal Electrical Services has extensive experience in designing and installing UPS systems for customers throughout Central Florida. Our team will evaluate your commercial building’s individual power needs and help you plan for redundancies and future business expansions. Just contact us with any questions or for a free quote!