5 important factors affect in UPS battery life
Customers often ask: How long will my UPS battery last? Well, it depends.
Recently, a customer emailed me asking for the life expectancy of UPS Replacement Batteries. While the generally accepted range is 3 to 5 years, this answer is a ball park estimate because battery life depends on a number of factors.
No battery lasts forever. And battery life can be maximized by operating uninterruptible power supplies under recommended conditions as outlined in the user manual.
Generally speaking, the life of their UPS batteries depends on 5 major important factors:
UPS Placement – Recommend installing the UPS in a temperature-controlled environment and within specified limits—and not near open windows or areas that contain high amounts of moisture, dust, or corrosive fumes. Also, keep ventilation openings free.
Ambient Temperature – A battery’s rated capacity is based upon an ambient temperature of 25°C (77°F). If a battery is operated at higher temperatures, its usable life will be shortened. Ambient temperature may not be a problem for UPS batteries used in air-conditioned data centers, but it could be a problem in industrial locations, unprotected environments or hot climates.
Cycling Frequency – At installation, a battery is at 100 percent of its rated capacity. But each discharge cycle (in other words, every time it goes to battery) will slightly decrease its relative capacity. Understanding cycling frequency can help customers notice abnormal or frequent cycling and better predict its life. Many UPS models are also adjustable so that customers can reduce “nuisance trips” that can unnecessarily consume battery capacity.
Maintenance – Most UPS’s use sealed, valve-regulated, lead-acid (SVLRA) batteries, which are commonly called “maintenance-free.” But the maintenance-free feature really refers to the fact that they are sealed and don’t require the addition of electrolyte, as would flooded, wet cell batteries that are used in very large UPS systems. But even maintenance-free batteries need to be inspected to see whether there is corrosion buildup or leaks, and the terminal connections are tight. Without any kind of maintenance, your batteries often will have a shorter life.
Battery Storage – To avoid the consequences of downtime, many UPS customers may purchase replacement batteries before they’re needed. Just make sure they charge stored batteries every six months or the batteries will suffer a permanent loss of capacity within 18 to 30 months.
Now that I’ve gone through the main things that affect battery life, let me go back to the customer’s question. Even if 3 to 5 years is the generally accepted range of a battery’s usable life, it would still depend on your operating environment and how you used the batteries. So, the best way you can ensure your batteries have enough juice to last your next power outage is with battery monitoring and inspection. Most UPS systems have a battery test feature on the front of the unit. If your UPS is lasting for less time on battery power than it used to, then you may need to consider that the battery is nearing the end of its usable life and needs to be replaced.