Factors to Know that Effect UPS Battery Life

3 min read
9/28/22 11:40 AM

UPS batteries can be an excellent solution to your power needs. However, if you want to make sure that they are running at their best and right for the job, there are a few things to consider. Several of the factors that can impact the battery life of UPS batteries include: 

Ambient Temperature

Ensuring that an ambient temperature of 77°F or 25°C is sustained is crucial to ensuring that your UPS battery performs optimally. Air-conditioned spaces are less likely to have an issue maintaining this, but manufacturing plants and workplaces in areas that are prone to warm weather will need to keep this in mind. 

The rated capacity of a battery that a manufacturer provides is based upon the ambient temperature, so it’s important to know that if the operating temperature of your battery dramatically rises or falls, its lifespan and efficiency will be negatively impacted. 

In general, every increase of 15°F beyond the ambient temperature of 77°F is going to cut the battery life in half. Colder temperatures will instead lead to a decline in the battery backup time. 

Battery Chemistry (Age)

Even with strict adherence to all recommendations for proper storage, maintenance, and use, your UPS battery will eventually start to decline in function. This is because the chemical makeup of the battery will start to break down with time. 

So as they age, the UPS battery’s ability to store and provide power is not going to remain as strong as when it was new. Even with consistent and full charging, they will deliver less power with age, and they will not be able to last as long in between charges. Therefore, all UPS batteries have a natural lifespan and will eventually require that you replace them. 

Cycling

A discharge cycle is initiated when the regular power fails and is redirected to run on a battery. The cycle is complete once the battery is fully recharged after the power source is switched away from battery power - either by a restoration of normal power or through a switch to a generator. 

However, a battery’s lifespan only accounts for so many cycles. If your UPS battery has to discharge, its overall battery life will be depleted with each instance. Furthermore, the frequency and length of each discharge will impact how much battery life remains; if a battery cycle many times or has to discharge for a while before the cycle is completed, it’s going to reduce its lifespan more than an occasional and quick discharge will.

Maintenance

Some batteries are referred to as ‘maintenance-free’ but don’t be fooled by this label. Any battery is going to require occasional upkeep. Maintenance-free batteries do require fewer manual interventions to keep them operating at their best as they don’t need you to add water, but they do still need to be checked on periodically. It’s important to ensure that terminal connections are secure and to check for leaks and corrosion buildup on a regular basis. Failure to do so can cause your battery’s estimated lifespan to decline. 

Storage and Shelf Life

How a battery is stored is going to impact its efficacy. This ties into ambient temperature, because if a battery is kept in an area with a climate that is too hot or cold, its lifespan and performance won’t be ideal. 

Similarly, it is also important that the place in which a UPS battery is stored is well-ventilated because these batteries should always be kept in a dry environment. Furthermore, even in optimal conditions, a battery should only be stored for approximately six months without being used. 

Acceptance Testing

It’s also crucial that acceptance tests are run to make sure that batteries are in good shape. These tests can catch problems that arise from poor storage conditions, lack of care during shipping and transit, and even manufacturing defects. This testing is crucial to make sure that your battery is reliable and up to the task at hand. 

For more information on UPS batteries, as well as alternatives, be sure to check out our Lead Acid vs. Lithium Ion Battery Guide. 

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