Purchasing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), however big or small, is an investment—in your business or organization, peace of mind, reliability and bottom line.
Here’s everything you need to know about the service and support we offer so you can make the most of your UPS for many years to come.
The old adage “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” may be feasible in some circumstances, but applying it to the maintenance of a UPS can have devastating consequences. Why? Because you rely on your UPS to deliver continuous power without disruption. Proper service is critical to ensuring optimal performance while also minimizing the risks of downtime and extending the life of your UPS.
Why should you have a preventive maintenance plan?
A preventive maintenance service plan for your UPS is much like completing routine repairs and inspections on your vehicle. Not only is completing scheduled maintenance recommended by every auto manufacturer, but the findings can help detect a range of ailments before they become serious issues.
Without proper maintenance, many UPSs fail prematurely since consumable components such as batteries, capacitors and fans wear out from normal use. Preventive maintenance is really one of the most cost-effective measures you can take to ensure the ongoing health of your critical equipment and overall business.
Because regular maintenance practices so dramatically improve UPS reliability and performance—while notably deterring downtime—it’s an essential component to any end-to-end solution.
With more than 40 years of experience servicing industry-leading power quality equipment, Eaton can help you maintain the reliable performance of your UPS, giving you a higher return on your investment.
Look out for the common causes of UPS failure
There are numerous reasons why UPSs fail. The most common causes are:
Studies show that a leading cause of UPS failures is bad batteries, with temperature and cumulative discharges cited as the primary culprits.
Some fans fail because of their own electrical or mechanical limitations or when their ball bearings dry out. Fans may perform well for more than 10 years of continuous use, while others run for only short periods before locking up for mechanical reasons.
Like batteries, capacitors degrade over time. When a capacitor fails, there may not be any immediate visible effects.
Damage may be caused to the input side of the UPS (filter/rectifier) when a transient lightning spike occurs.
Know what to expect as your UPS gets older
During a preventive maintenance visit, Eaton technicians inspect, test, calibrate, update and clean UPS components, as well as update software. You’ll receive a report at the end of the visit detailing the results of the inspection and specific recommendations for remedial actions, proactive replacements and upgrades.
We have services to help you across the life of your UPS—from planning for a UPS to its retirement. Here’s what we recommend at each stage.
Choosing the right service approach
Below, we answer five common questions to help you determine the right service plan for your system. In some cases, the answers to these five questions are not always clear. Eaton has trained specialists available to answer your questions and recommend a service solution tailored to your situation and budget.
- What type of UPS service do I need?
Onsite repair is primarily for large or hard-wired UPS products. Just contact Eaton’s dispatch and customer care center and a factory-trained field technician will arrive at your site to diagnose and repair electronic or battery-related problems.
Depot exchange (repair or replace) is primarily for smaller UPS products. Ship the UPS to a repair facility and we will return the repaired unit or a refurbished one.
Advance Swap Depot Exchange
Advance swap depot exchange is primarily for small UPS products. Contact us and we will advance ship a refurbished unit.
- Do I buy a support agreement, extended warranty or pay as I go?
Support agreements, or service contracts, usually combine parts and labor coverage (electronics, batteries or both), one or more UPS preventive maintenance inspections annually, and a combination of coverage hours and arrival response time. Plans can be tailored to meet almost any need.
Extended warranties may also be purchased for many UPS products. A warranty commonly covers specified parts and labor, such as electronic components for a fixed period of time, but may not include 24x7 coverage or arrival response time. Warranties also don’t include preventive maintenance, but extra services can be purchased in addition to a warranty extension.
Time and material (T&M) service is a pay-as-you-go approach where once something breaks, you contact Eaton and we schedule a technician to conduct the repair. T&M can be done via depot repair or onsite, based on the product, and can be expensive depending on what needs to be repaired. The uncertainty of knowing when a field technician will arrive can make T&M an unacceptable service solution for some organizations. Eaton’s contract customers always take priority, resulting in T&M response times of up to five days based on the product and location for non-contract customers.
- What should be covered?
UPS Batteries, Parts and Labor
Often the leading cause of failure, batteries generally need to be replaced every five years or less.
A preventive maintenance visit allows a field technician to annually inspect, test, calibrate and upgrade any UPS and/or battery components, while ensuring factory-specified performance.
Remote monitoring allows us to view the UPS and battery system to expedite repairs and look for potential problems prior to failure. In the event of a critical alarm on your UPS, we notify you of the alarm and make a recommendation for how to address it. If a service contract is in place, a technician can be automatically dispatched to remedy the problem.
- How much service do I need and how fast do I want my service delivered?
Around the clock or continuous service is called 24x7 coverage. A field technician will respond or deliver service at any hour, including weekends and holidays.
8x5 coverage is limited to standard business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Monday through Friday. If a problem occurs, it will be resolved within these hours.
Eight-, four-, two-hour or next business day response defines how quickly the field technician arrives after you have requested a service visit. For some situations, response time can be very important as it determines how fast the field technician can begin resolving a problem.
- How long should I plan for a UPS to last and how much should service cost?
Large UPS Products
Large UPS products usually have a 15- to 20-year life span.
Small UPS Products
Small UPS products can last 10 or more years, but are often replaced much sooner.
Extend Your Life Expectancy
All UPS product life expectancies can be maximized or extended via routine preventive service, part replacements and upgrade/modification kits.
The total cost of ownership (TCO) varies widely based on the size of UPS, amount and type of batteries, quantity and type of services desired, and application. Maintenance costs can vary between 5 and 30 percent of product purchase price per year.