Summer means BBQ’s, outdoor activities, warm weather, and…storms. Organizations need to be prepared and have a comprehensive backup power plan, so you ensure you don’t experience any downtime during the heavy storm season. A successful backup power plan guarantees that you don’t let summer storms get you down.
When it comes to power loss, storms can cause more than a full black out of power. Storms also cause brown outs, which is a voltage drop. Even a small voltage drop can cause a power glitch and shut down all your equipment. As a result, that small drop can cause days of recovery time.
Data, Data, Data
Client records, hardware, internal networks (email, file sharing, secure portals) phone systems, and more. What if all these systems were down? Your organization would be at a complete standstill.
- Nearly 30% of outages in 2021 lasted > 24 hours compared to 8% in 2017
- Downtime is becoming more expensive, > 60% of failures resulted in at least $100,000 in total losses, up from 39% in 2019.
- The most significant outages are usually tied to electrical equipment, especially UPS failures.
This information is from the 2022 Uptime Institutes, Downtime report. The entire report can be found on Uptime’s website.
Backup Power Solutions
Don’t let summer storms get you down, ensure you have each of the following backup power solutions.
Uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
A UPS is a device that is used to keep computers and equipment safe and running when there is a loss or significant reduction in your primary power source. It houses several batteries that take over when it detects a loss or reduction in available power. Once detected the control is transferred over to the batteries inside the UPS. Think of a UPS like your cell phone. It holds a charge when unplugged and can communicate to other objects.
External battery modules (EBMs)
UPS runtime varies based on the load you have on them and their age. If you’re needing to achieve a longer run time, that is where EBMs come into play. Think of the EBMs like portable phone charges, they provide more juice to the UPS to keep them up and running longer. Just like when you plug in your cell phone to your portable charging device.
They are an important component of your backup power plan. Your UPS can sustain your systems for a determined amount of time but if the outage needs longer to correct itself, a generator is ideal for longer cases. Think of generators like your normal phone power cord.
Backup Power Solutions Best Practices
UPS Best Practices
- UPS lifespan is approximately 10-15 years
- Capacity/Load is the amount of items you have plugged into your UPS and how much power your UPS is using. For example, you have a 5kva unit (5,000 watts) and are plugging in 3,000 watts into that unit. Your load of that unit would be 60% with a 20% capacity. Further, we recommend to never exceed 80% load on a UPS, so your 5kva unit could hold up to 4,000 watts.
- Runtime is the amount of time your UPS and EBMs will stay online during a power outage. Agin, the greater the load = the less runtime
EBM Best Practices
- EBM lifespan is approximately 3-5 years
- To add additional runtime, add EBMs or increase the size of your UPS.
Generator Best Practices
- Lifespan of generators is approximately 15-20 years
- NFPA 110: Section 8 – The Fire Marshall will check your generators and recommend that you perform the following preventive maintenance:
- Run once a week (with no load)
- Run once a month (with 30% load)
These recommendations are for diesel, but it is recommended as a best practice if natural gas and propane generators follow these guidelines as well.
- Maintenance – Recommended twice per year
- Automatic Transfer Switch vs. Manual Transfer Switch
- Ask yourself how does your power switch on? Is it an automatic switch from line power to your generator or does your IT team need to go on site, get the generators out, hook them up and manual transfer power? If you are doing the latter, do you know how much time that takes? Have you factored in how much backup power runtime you have for your UPS has? If you only have a few minutes of runtime on your UPS, while your team is trying to get the generator out and running, the UPS has already ran out of backup power and all your servers have crashed. In the meantime, your organization is at a standstill.
A successful backup power plan guarantees that you don’t let summer storms get you down. PTI has a diverse portfolio of backup power partners to help you with your backup power needs.