How to specify a UPS system

Josh Naylor, divisional manager, CertaUPS, discusses what you need to know when specifying a UPS system.

So far CertaUPS has discussed the fundamentals of UPS systems, the value of partnerships and given an insight into the importance of power redundancy. As promised, we are now going to answer your questions, many of which have centred around UPS specification and UPS batteries.


Let’s first address some misconceptions.

  • My business is too small to warrant power protection.
    • Power problems are equal-opportunity threats. They hit large and small businesses alike.
  • If you don’t purchase a well-known brand the batteries won’t be as good.
    • CertaUPS doesn’t compromise on battery performance/longevity in order to offer a cheaper price. Our batteries provide market leading performance.
  • Utility power is clean and reliable, I don’t need a UPS.
    • Electrical power can vary widely enough to cause significant problems for IT equipment. Variations in power are commonplace which can seriously affect sensitive IT and telecoms equipment.
  • I don’t need to monitor my UPS.
    • Even with a UPS system, your IT system could still go down with an extended power failure or if the UPS is overloaded for too long. CertaUPS provide interactive software to allow you to monitor your UPS performance and provide scheduled shutdowns on sensitive equipment.

Understanding UPS terminology

Like many other industries, backup power has its own set of acronyms, phrases and technical lingo to contend with. CertaUPS has a handy little glossary for quick reference

Questions to ask whilst specifying a UPS solution

  1. What is the load size and type of equipment being supported? It is important to also accommodate for leading and lagging
  2. What is the required autonomy? Consider the amount of time required for a controlled system shut down and for bridging the gap between a power failure and generator start up
  3. Is a Modbus required? For instances where a gateway between the building management system and UPS is necessary
  4. What environment will the UPS be installed into? The ambient temperature around the UPS is important to consider, as is whether the UPS is going into a server rack
  5. What is the power supply type and size?
  6. Are any other UPS accessories required? For example; a PDU, EMP, bypass, ATS or SNMP card

What is the design life of UPS batteries?

The most important aspect to note here is that ‘design life’ does not mean life expectancy and will not guarantee how long a battery will last. Do not confuse design life and life expectancy.

Life expectancy takes into account environment, temperature, maintenance, number of discharge cycles, charging regime etc. For example, some batteries have a 10 year design life and would generally need replacement in approximately 6-8 years.

UPS batteries need to be housed in a clean, climate controlled environment, in perfect operating conditions to enable them to fulfil their declared design life.

Why does a UPS battery weaken?

A UPS battery will weaken the more the batteries are discharged. This happens when a UPS  experiences frequent power outages or brownouts, which will result in deep discharges.

Many deep discharges will shorten the batteries life expectancy. They are designed as a standby battery, cycling them (charging/discharging) multiple times will weaken them.

Selecting the right runtime

UPS runtime refers to the amount of time backup power can be supplied to a connected load form the UPS through battery power. If you need help calculating this, please get in touch with us directly and we would be more than happy to assist.

About CertaUPS

CertaUPS is a global provider of UPS solutions and operates across the UK and Europe. Working with a broad network of VARs and distributing partners, CertaUPS offers an unparalleled level of technical service and support in delivering resilient power protection strategies. Get in touch 03333 130251.

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