Why UPS Batteries Fail

Computer Server UPS, 3D rendering isolated on white background

Ponemon Institute conducted a study to determine the leading cause behind unplanned power outages in data centers. They concluded that UPS system failures were the biggest culprits and 65% of them were facing the same issue: UPS battery failure.

A typical VRLA battery has a lifespan of five years, but there are some external factors that can cause it to fail earlier. These are listed below:

1.  Internal Resistance

Just like how electric currents deal with resistance while passing through a circuit, batteries have their internal resistance as well. It is developed based on the electrolyte, size, and temperature. As the resistance continues to rise, it will reach a point where the battery stops working.

Besides, do note that lead acid batteries tend to have internal resistance while the alkaline ones have higher internal resistance. A reliable electrical contractor, such as Skyline, can help you identify thermal hotspots and repair the ventilation when required.

2.  Wrong Voltage

Depending on their unique cell design, battery manufacturers assign different charging voltage ranges to their batteries. It is necessary to keep these limits in consideration while charging or it can damage your UPS batteries. For instance, undercharging causes sulfate crystals to form on battery plates. Gradually, they turn into hardened materials, decreasing the battery’s existing capacity.

In a similar vein, overcharging is risky too. It can increase float voltage, producing unneeded gases – hydrogen and oxygen – and lead to internal dryout. In some cases, it does more than cause a UPS failure – an explosion is not out of the equation.

3.  Higher Ambient Temperature

Although batteries have a rated capacity, it does not necessarily apply to all temperatures. Generally, the battery capacity depends on an ambient temperature of 25°C or 77°F. Going above these thresholds can damage the battery’s performance and reduce its lifespan.

Reminder: for every increase of 15°F over a temperature of 77°F for long periods, your battery’s expected lifespan is being reduced by 50%.

4.  Battery Mismanagement

Many business owners lack a basic understanding of how batteries work. If left unused, they start to depreciate after some time. This behavior is caused by their lead-acidic nature that releases tiny amounts of energy.

However, there are a number of ways to charge your unused battery. For starters, you can charge it once after every three months in storage. When batteries don’t get charged for six months or more, they lose some of their capacity. Besides, always store them at a temperature of 50°F or less.

Final Thoughts

To prevent a UPS battery failure from hindering your operations, consider hiring an electrical contractor. Reach out to us today! Our experts will perform routine maintenance checks to identify issues and repair them before they become major problems.