Your UPS installation will require foresight to make sure the new unit performs its best

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can be a lifesaver for businesses, ensuring that mission-critical systems have time to terminate without being burned out. They’re of particular importance if a business operates in a climate like Florida’s that is hit hard by hurricanes, tropical storms, and floods at various times of the year. Even the briefest break in critical infrastructure can clock in at $5,600 a minute!

All those natural events can devastate power lines and power supplies, making a UPS a smart addition to your company’s infrastructure. This guide will explore five key things business owners must consider before UPS installation and offer some tips on getting maximum value while you do it.

1. A UPS is only a temporary solution

A common misconception regarding a UPS is that it will kick in and keep providing reliable power the way a generator does. This isn’t the case. Your business should think of a UPS as buying employees valuable but limited time to pause what they’re doing and shut down any programs, systems, and equipment.

This grace period will help protect data and hardware from damage by a sudden power loss or power surges. Having a well-maintained generator is recommended for backup in tandem with a UPS to keep things operational no matter what’s thrown at you. A good rule of thumb is to select a generator that delivers between 1.25- and 3-times the kVA rating of your UPS. Consulting with an experienced power company will help you select the right design.

2. UPS batteries require close attention

UPS batteries, whether they’re flooded or sealed, require an occasional test before they start beeping, which is typically a sign of failure. The better UPS manufacturers provide testing software that makes checkups easy, so you should always take the time to install them. If your manufacturer doesn’t provide testing software, you may wish to try some of the open-source software available online such as OpManager or Power Monitor.

Quick manual testing is also possible, depending on your model, by simply reading the LED readout that’s attached to the UPS. A UPS can also be unplugged from the main system to see if it shows signs of struggling or to link it to a single device to make sure it’s providing power.

Always consult electrical professionals if you’re in any doubt about testing after UPS installation. They can help with more complicated matters like analyzing test logs for signs of potential failure. You can also check out our battery blog for some tips.

3. Review your load purpose, UPS provider, and model options

Selecting the right UPS for your business means considering a few factors, such as the nature of the software and hardware it will be protecting. The more vital, such as with healthcare equipment, the more reliable and higher load a UPS must be. Calculating required runtime (how long the UPS will be required to back you up in a blackout) is also important, as is knowing the load your UPS will have to handle. This requires inventorying all the equipment the UPS must support and adding up the total wattage.

There are many UPS manufacturers out there, but do your diligence on the manufacturers on your shortlist before you commit to buying. Discussing your operation’s power needs and the environmental conditions in your area with the vendor will help guide you toward the most effective and reliable UPS design. 

There are three categories of UPS to choose from:

  • A standby UPS is offline and will switch over to battery power automatically as required. 
  • Double-conversion units are online and deliver unbroken current flow to networked equipment by transforming incoming utility electricity into DC power and then into AC — a process ideal for protecting against power surges. 
  • Line-interactive models redirect direct current from the battery to handle minor power fluctuations, which helps extend the battery’s life.

4. Protect the UPS from unauthorized access

Taking pains to choose the right UPS, position it perfectly, and connect the necessary equipment can prove pointless if just anybody has access to the system. An open unit leaves it vulnerable to random plug-ins that can easily cause a UPS to overload. Buying a wall-mounted enclosure along with the unit itself will help ensure only authorized personnel can add or remove connections. These are also a handy way to free up floor space and prevent UPS units from being hit by foot traffic.

5. Your system set up may have expanded (or be ready to)

Businesses grow, and their hardware and equipment multiply as a result. Scaling up power consumption doesn’t always necessitate upgrading the UPS, but this can result in the original configuration being poorly suited to handle the new requirements. This defeats the entire purpose of having a UPS and will lead to a very costly wake-up call when the power goes down.

Make sure to remember your UPS if your operation is planning on expanding. Budget for either a more powerful unit with a greater capacity (measured in watts) or additional smaller units to take up the slack.

No matter the size of your business, speaking to electrical professionals prior to UPS installation greatly improves the chances of avoiding profit and productivity pitfalls like corrupted data, lost files, and more.

UES is your go-to team for UPS installation

The Universal Electrical Services team has more than 20 years of experience in keeping businesses of all kinds running reliably in unpredictable conditions. Data centers, care hubs, and many more industries throughout the state of Florida consult with us to create and install reliable power solutions.

We can help you select the right UPS to protect your business. We can also survey the site to choose the optimum UPS position to protect the unit and assist with its performance. Visit our contact page to get advice from our expert technicians today.