10 Signs It’s Time for a UPS Battery Replacement
Network uptime is critical for your business. An essential component of assuring your technology uptime is the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). These devices can often be forgotten as they have long lifespans and generally sit at the bottom of the tech rack. However, if neglected, these devices can be the Achilles Heel in your disaster prevention systems and redundancy planning. Below are 10 signs that it’s time to replace your UPS battery:
1. It’s been 3 to 5 years since the purchase date
While a UPS lifecycle can extend to 10+ years, the life cycle of many batteries is 3 to 5 years. It is best to consider a battery replacement in the 3-to-5-year range depending on the critical nature of the systems that the UPS is supporting. A best practice is to replace the UPS unit itself when the second battery replacement is ready, generally 6 to 10 years from date of purchase for on line and line interactive units. The last thing you want in a critical power failure event is for the battery to go offline because the batteries were past their life-cycle expectancy—an error you could have prevented. Contact us if the lifespan of your UPS is coming up and you want to know your replacement options.
2. The UPS is beeping or displaying caution lights
A tell-tell sign that a UPS battery is about to fail is the existence of a sharp beeping sound coming from the UPS or amber caution lights or symbols displaying on the unit’s digital display. If either of these exist, testing should be done immediately and if appropriate, the batteries replaced. If the codes do not indicate a battery failure, contact us for assistance in diagnosing, repairing, or replacing the unit.
3. The battery life is shorter than advertised
If the battery is losing power or not living up to expectations from the manufacturer’s declared lifespan or capacity, the battery may need to be replaced or was faulty from the start. Many factors can shorten a battery’s lifecycle, including material defects, temperature variability, humidity, as well as many other environmental causes. In your testing cycles, if the battery is not performing within expected parameters, it may be time to replace the battery.
4. You notice the chassis bulging or other chassis damage
As older lead-acid batteries age, they can tend to bulge overtime which can distort the chassis. Anytime you experience leaking, discoloration caused by heat or acid, you should immediately replace the batteries from that unit. Left unattended, the acid leakage could destroy other essential systems or in a worst-case scenario, the battery could explode and combust causing potential catastrophic results.
5. Systems go offline during a power outage
Obviously, if the power goes out and the UPS system fails to keep your systems online, the battery should be inspected and replaced. This assumes the devices that went offline were correctly plugged into the UPS or PDU attached to the UPS. Ideally, this would never happen if you are using a regular preventative maintenance program to monitor UPS health.
6. Preventative maintenance visits have been skipped
A potential sign that it’s time to replace your UPS battery is if you haven’t been performing routine preventative maintenance on the units. Be sure to test those units as soon as you’re able to verify they are performing as expected. Routine maintenance can prevent a host of potential issues and assure that your UPS will be there to protect your equipment when it is needed the most. We provide this service. Contact us to schedule a maintenance visit today.
7. Batteries perform strangely or give bad voltage readings
During your maintenance cycles and disaster preparedness testing, if the UPS renders inconsistent voltage readings or behaves in unexpected ways, be sure to verify the battery is not the culprit. Battery testing will yield impedance or resistance readings in addition to voltage readings when tested by a technician. Most UPS systems will not self-test for impedance and resistance so be sure to include this in your testing cycles. Alber Battery Monitoring can assist in assuring your UPS battery is running optimally when the time counts the most.
8. The UPS is located in a warm environment
Heat can drastically reduce battery life. An extended period of temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can greatly shorten battery life as well as your overall technology equipment life spans. If the location where your UPS equipment resides is consistently above 80 degrees, we recommend implementing thermal management and cooling equipment as soon as possible. Additionally, perform a battery test or request a preventative maintenance visit from one of our service technicians to assure the battery life has not diminished. Don’t rely on the 3-to-5 year expected battery lifespan from a UPS operating in a warm facility.
9. Battery run time or load capacity is inadequate
Similar to overloading the intended power ports on the device due to technology growth, it also is possible to overextend the UPS load capacity. This happens when the power consumption needs of new or additional systems drawing power from the UPS in the rack are too demanding. Be sure to check your power consumption in relation to your uptime requirements and adjust your UPS or battery types to fit your needs. In the event that you are using two UPS units for redundancy or if you’re powering your equipment from both “house” power and UPS power, be sure to use Monitored or Metered PDU’s to avoid overloading the UPS when the power fails.
10. Energy savings and environmental sustainability
A bonus tip has to do with the advent of the new Lithium-based batteries. If you are still using lead-acid based units, replace them with Lithium to help the environment, improve your sustainability and carbon footprint as well as receive higher uptimes, longer lasting battery life and a higher return on your investment. Learn more about our Lithium-based batteries here. Modern UPS systems and Lithium batteries are game changers for power protection in your data center or network closet.
There you have it, 10 signs it’s time to replace your UPS or batteries. If it’s time to replace your units, be sure to properly dispose or recycle those bad batteries. Regular maintenance and testing are critical to keep your infrastructure running. Don’t just blindly trust your equipment, verify regularly to assure you are ready when disaster or the unexpected strikes.
Contact us today if you need assistance with maintenance, need a quote on the right UPS for you, or need battery rentals for your urgent demand.