Extend the Life of a Battery for a UPS

If you have a UPS set up in the home, chances are that you want to extend the battery life for as long and possible and here's how.






The majority of UPS systems on the market at the moment are those that do not run on a lithium-ion battery and because of this, they have a limited lifespan on the battery that these systems rely on. Not only does constant load shedding put a drain on the battery but also the fact that we experience so many breaks in power throughout the day. Before the UPS battery has time to fully charge, the unit switches on again due to load shedding. This constant drain soon results in the battery charge decreasing until it eventually holds no charge whatsoever. So, how do you extend the life of a battery for a UPS? Read on for more details.




What is a UPS?

A UPS, or Uninterrupted Power Supply, operates on a battery that stores electricity for use when the power goes out. The UPS unit charges the battery when there is electrical supply, and this is then dispensed to selected appliances to keep them running when the power is off. There are all different brands and models of UPS available locally and your decision on what to buy should be based on the wattage you need to run devices such as a router, laptop, low-wattage lights, TV, or any other small appliance.



Having a UPS in the home is a lifesaver, one that can be used to power lights and small appliances. Depending on the configuration, some even allow you to power a microwave when you need to cook family meals when load shedding happens. I have a UPS that keeps my home lighted and my router and TV going. I have had the UPS for 4 years and I am now on my third battery, the previous two unable to charge and no longer of use. This third battery has lasted far longer than the previous two batteries and that is due to following a few simple guidelines to extend the battery life.







Locate the UPS in a cool, dry place

No matter what battery your UPS uses, any battery needs to operate within the optimal temperature range. For NiCAD (nickel-cadmium) this is around 15 to 35°C while for lead acid it is 20 to 25°C. Lead-acid batteries are more temperamental than others and any rise in temperature can affect the life of the battery cells resulting in the ability to charge. Setting up the UPS in a cool area that is free from direct sunlight will work towards extending the lifespan of the battery.



Air circulation is also important for extending battery life. Airflow will help towards keeping a constant temperature and will prevent any overheating. Ensure plenty of space around the battery or UPS unit when in use.



Switch off when you don't need it

Battery manufacturers will often state how many 'cycles' a battery will last or, how many times a battery can be charged and discharged. Keep in mind that every battery, no matter the type, will eventually fail. The only way to extend the life of a battery is to use it less. Lithium-ion batteries have the longest lifespan due in the main to the fact that these batteries do not have what is known as the 'memory effect' which essentially means that they can be charged and discharged far more often than other battery types.


With our load shedding being so frequent - sometimes up to 3 to 4 times a day, the best method is to select those times when power is essential and then disconnect the UPS from the power source. You will be without some appliances for a time, but this will extend the life of the battery. For those working and with children, the best would be to have power in the mornings for breakfast, disconnect the UPS and connect again for loading shedding in the early evening.







Reduce the load


• Lighting

Wherever possible, invest in power-saving devices that will reduce the load on the UPS system. Chargeable light bulbs last up to 3 hours on charge and will provide instant light when the power goes out. LED lights have the least wattage and put out the brightest amount of light, so changing out the lighting in your home will cut down on wattage requirements.


• Cooking

Check the wattage on essential appliances such as a microwave, kettle, or toaster. The lower the wattage on these the better the chance of being able to run them on a higher capacity UPS.






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