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Your uninterruptible power supply is your lifeline when your mains supply fails, and while UPS systems are built to last, it’s always worth carrying out some simple maintenance to check that they are still in tip-top condition and to repair, replace or upgrade any old components as appropriate.

Here are some top tips for a tip-top UPS power supply system from the day it’s installed until the day it kicks into action, if that day ever comes.

Battery capacity

Keeping UPS batteries charged at 100% indefinitely can eventually take its toll on their maximum capacity, while partially discharging and then recharging some kinds of battery can also have a negative impact due to the so-called ‘memory effect’ of those power cells.

In any case, it’s sensible to check your UPS battery capacity and replace any defective cells. Some systems have external UPS battery stacks, so you might just need to switch out individual batteries while retaining the overall stack.

Dust and debris

It’s amazing what can get sucked into the air intake of a data centre cooling system, and even the cleanest of server clean rooms will eventually develop a certain amount of dust and other airborne debris.

When cleaning out your ventilation system, don’t forget to do the same for your UPS systems. A quick look inside the case can confirm if the circuit boards need careful cleaning.

Prevention is always better than cure, so try to use air filtration systems or even just fine gauze air intakes that will block solids from entering your UPS systems and other hardware in the first place, and clean or replace filters regularly so air flow is not reduced.

Hot spots

Any components running a high temperature are prime candidates for imminent failure, especially if they’re over the stated operating temperature range for that kind of UPS power supply.

Some UPS maintenance audits will go so far as to use infrared cameras to spot any concentrations of heat, so these hot spots can be targeted for upgrades, repairs or intervention.

It might be a case of rerouting air flow around your data centre so that it doesn’t bypass any of your UPS battery stacks, or checking that cells are not being overcharged.

By optimising your cooling systems you can account for the importance of your UPS systems so that in an emergency, they are the most reliable equipment in your data centre, or anywhere else you have UPS power supplies installed.

A maintenance agreement is most suitable for UPSs as a qualified field service engineer will carry out these checks regularly and safely on behalf of the end user.