Power supply interruptions can range from being mildly irritating to catastrophic. Fortunately, there is no need to put up with these disruptions. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) may provide the solution for your business.
What Is a UPS?
A UPS is designed to protect against specific power supply interruptions including:
- Power Surges
- Power Spikes
- Electrical Noise
Each of these power supply problems has different effects on computers and other electronic systems. When left unattended, these problems could be devastating. A UPS is designed to prevent the devastating effects of power issues on digital and electronic equipment.
Power Supply Problems Explained
- Blackouts occur when there is a complete shutdown of power to a specific power grid and are one of the most noticeable problems. These happen as a result of an imbalance that is created between supply and demand (the amount of power being generated vs. the power being consumed). A blackout may also be implemented to a certain power grid in order to prevent an overload causing a total blackout over a larger area.
- Most people are unaware that brownouts exist and that they can be just as hazardous as a blackout. A brownout occurs when there is a drop in voltage whereas a blackout is a total loss of voltage. Electronics and digital devices like computers are still receiving power, just in a lower dose and can last anywhere from a minute or two to a few hours. While this may not seem like a problem, the drop in voltage can cause severe damage in just a few minutes.
- Electrical noise is one of the lesser known problems and occurs from interference that is a result of lightning and generators. This power supply problem can result in multiple computer malfunctions and could be responsible for corrupt files or data.
- Power spikes occur as a result of a sudden increase in voltage. These spikes are relatively short-lived and last only a few seconds. They are most likely to occur when power is restored after a blackout – it can take time for current to normalize after a blackout. Any electronics that are plugged into a power outlet or supply are at risk of suffering negative effects.
- A power surge is the direct opposite of a brownout and is an increase in voltage that can last a few minutes. They can cause significant damage in this short time especially to electronics and large appliances such as refrigerators if they are operating when the surge occurs.
How Common Are Power Supply Problems?
A report compiled by the US Department of Energy shows just how costly power outages have been over the last 15 years. The report includes statistics for the amount of customers affected by a power outage. For instance, a severe thunderstorm in Illinois affected over 420,000 customers where power outages occurred over a two-day period in 2014. Another example is in Pennsylvania where 715,000 customers were affected in under 24 hours by power outages resulting from severe weather conditions including extreme snow and ice.
Your business could easily have been a number in one of these examples. Just imagine the damage that resulted to computers, electronics and other electrical equipment not to mention the losses resulting from the inability of a business to operate due to the fact that they had no way to protect their operation from an interruption to the power supply.
Does your business have the means to protect valuable electronics, devices, equipment and appliances in the event of a problem with the power supply?
Choosing the Right Type of UPS for Your Business
There are two basic types of UPS to choose from – Standby UPS and Line Interactive UPS.
- A standby UPS constantly monitors the current and voltage in order to detect inconsistencies such as power surges and outages. The moment it detects an inconsistency, it reverts to battery power in order to protect a system from the detrimental effects. Your computers and other systems will continue to operate without interruption even when the power is out. The standby UPS is ideally suited to protecting one computer hub and will cost anywhere from $200 to $500.
- A line interactive UPS constantly monitors and adjusts the power supply to provide a consistent and stable voltage-current. It uses a regulator to automatically increase or decrease incoming line voltage without needing to switch to battery power. This is the ideal solution to protect against long-term damage to computers and data and will also prolong battery life. A line interactive UPS can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,200.
Learn more about UPS equipment, including batteries like the APCRBC113.