Uninterruptible Power Supply Service: Frequently Asked Questions

Companies that need constant electricity have three options: they can implement standby generators, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, or both. Each type of equipment fulfills a critical service role, but most companies are more familiar with the former than the latter. If you are considering implementing a UPS to improve your building’s emergency power system, but you have question about its design or operation, the answers below should help.

How Does a UPS Work?

A UPS is a battery-powered device that is positioned between utility current and the equipment that it powers. Containing sensor technology that detects dangerous qualities in utility current, it prevents equipment from experiencing the disruptive and potentially damaging effects of power outages, sags, surges, etc. Different models offer different service features and levels of power support.

What types of models are available?

Most companies use one of the following types of models: standard standby, ferroresonant, line interactive, online, delta conversion, or double conversion.

Standard standby models switch equipment from utility supply to battery supply. Ferroresonant models contain a ferroresonant transformer that smoothes the transition from utility supply to battery supply. Line interactive models contain a filter and tap changing transformer that smoothes the transition from utility supply to battery supply. Online models feature an inverter that uses utility current when transitioning to battery supply, providing true uninterrupted electricity. Delta conversion models are online models that use an additional delta converter to enhance uninterrupted electricity. Double conversion models are online models that use a rectifier/charger to monitor power for critical load applications.

When could a UPS replace a standby generator?

A UPS is used instead of a generator under two conditions: when a company requires electricity to be truly “uninterrupted,” and when it does not need to power its facility for the duration of an outage.

Although industrial units can power entire buildings for extended periods of time, the units found in most buildings provide roughly fifteen minutes of uninterruptible power supply service to critical components. If your building needs uninterrupted electricity for the duration of an outage, implementing a UPS in tandem with a backup generator is a wise choice.

How do I know what size UPS my building needs?

The VA (Volts/Amps) of an UPS should match the VA of the equipment it would serve. Ideally, a provider of commercial power solutions should evaluate your building’s load before you select a certain product. Prime Power can evaluate your building’s load.

Does a UPS require maintenance like a generator?

Yes. It should receive regular maintenance and testing to ensure correct operation. Many companies choose to have it tested during breaker testing. Prime Power conducts scheduled maintenance and testing on UPS units.

How much does the average UPS cost?

Because companies require a UPS that meets their unique needs, it is difficult to conceive of an “average” unit. Furthermore, the price range of UPS units is too broad for an average price to be meaningful. If you need a price estimate for installing a UPS, call Prime Power today for a free consultation.

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