Thanks to increased gas storage levels across Europe and more nuclear power being imported from France in 2023, the National Grid has stated that the risks of blackouts in Great Britain will be lower this winter. This comes as a huge relief to many when, only a few months ago, the provider warned of potential planned power interruptions in a bid to implement load-shedding (scheduled 3-hour disconnections to different groups of customers at a time).
While this news is welcome for us all, your emergency backup power strategy still needs to ensure that your Uninterruptible Power Supply system(s) is 'winter ready' should it be called upon during unplanned power outages. This can be accomplished in just a few steps...
Regular UPS Maintenance and the Environment
It is important for your UPS system(s) to be serviced regularly (at least annually) throughout the year to ensure it operates effectively and efficiently at all times. However, just as summer (with its sometimes excessive heat) can prove detrimental for UPS systems not situated in environmentally controlled locations, the cold winter months can bring their own challenges. They can prove equally detrimental in harsh conditions. The ideal environment for any UPS is a temperature-controlled location with good ventilation. However, we realise that this is only sometimes possible, and in these circumstances, it is essential that your UPS is serviced regularly, especially just before the summer and winter months. Read more about UPS maintenance here.
Your UPS batteries can be the most expensive consumable in your UPS and are the most likely to fail. The UPS battery design life is either 3-5 years or (in more extensive systems), sometimes 7-10 years. Your UPS to provide a continued alternate emergency power source for your critical load (and for the required duration) depends on your battery's ability to deliver. Scheduled battery testing is an essential and necessary activity to ensure your batteries perform adequately when called upon.
Increased Power Outages
Consider this as part two of your battery preparations. Severe weather conditions are often caused by power outages, sometimes lasting for many hours. You have carried out the annual (or six monthly) servicing on your UPS. It is fit to perform when tasked, but will your battery set provide the runtime you require in the event of increased disruptions? Nearly all UPS systems can accept additional batteries to increase their runtime; understanding how long you will need your UPS to run for to ensure continued operations will dictate the necessary battery solution.