Eskom’s regular power outages have caused many businesses to rely on an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to take over the load on demand, with no disruption to their business. As a result, regular inspections, service and maintenance regimes play a critical role in ensuring that a UPS minimises the risks of downtime and performs as expected.
If the primary power source fails, uninterrupted power supply systems are on standby, powering silently in the background. From hospitals, clinics and schools to supermarkets and businesses, they are the first line of defence against spikes, dips, and blackouts. But they face several threats to their wellbeing daily that often go unnoticed.
At PacB Group, we believe that preventive UPS maintenance is critical. It is vital for medical functions and safety and code compliance. From visual inspection to comprehensive testing – we’ve put together some brilliant UPS preventive tips:
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines and Inspect Batteries Regularly
The leading cause of malfunctions is battery failures influenced by many factors that include storage conditions, temperature fluctuations, battery chemistry issues, and shelf-life. Follow manufacturer guidelines regarding how often you must replace the batteries and inspect your batteries regularly for signs of corrosion or other defects. Your maintenance plan must include battery voltage testing, thermal image scans, and visual inspection to determine if any battery strings or cells are near the end of their useful lives. After examining the battery, you will know when to replace your batteries, which could save you thousands down the line.
Keep Detailed Records of Component Maintenance and Repairs
Although the typical lifespan of such a system is around 15-years, components like batteries, welded relays, air filters, out-dated firmware, and capacitors will fail, which means downtime. However, this is easily avoidable with collecting and managing records on the routines previously performed. Keeping records will allow you to remove the guesswork, which could set you back a few days, and it keeps you on track when planning for equipment replacement, unscheduled repair, or when troubleshooting the UPS.
UPS Maintenance is Incomplete without Load Bank Testing
Internal and external inspections are critical, but no procedure is complete without load bank testing. A load bank test – which simulates a power disruption by connecting the uninterruptible power supply to an electrical load that matches the power it would need to support in a real outage – provides a system performance analysis that reveals problems and UPS component failures. Besides the above, a designated employee should routinely inspect all external connections like connective cords for wear and tear or other faults. Often, external issues are the reason for downtime.
Schedule Maintenance – and Stick to It
Preventive maintenance is vital to save lives and prevent the potential costs of downtime. It is essential to schedule yearly maintenance checks from registered maintenance experts, such as PacB Group. These professionals will visually inspect the environment and the battery and equipment for obstructions and temperature fluctuations. A yearly scheduled maintenance check-up will help the technicians identify and mitigate problems before they arise and impact productivity and customers, saving you time and money.
To save lives and avoid the costly effects of Eskom’s rolling blackouts, both private and government organisations rely heavily upon the performance of their UPS systems. If you’re one of the organisations and want to keep your business powered through any emergency or blackout, then you must implement a routine power system maintenance plan.
However, it is essential to remember that safety is always foremost. Electricity is dangerous and can cause injury and death. For this reason, it is critical to examine the manufacturer’s manual and recommendations and follow their safety guidelines before implementing your routine.
To find out more about how you can extend the life of your back-up energy system, chat with South Africa’s leading renewable energy experts. At PacB, we have helped hundreds of organisations take control of their energy needs, and we can help you with yours.
Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.