UPS units are the kind of devices that most people forget about until there’s a power supply disruption. When that happens, the UPS battery turns on to continue providing power to devices connected to it. But batteries don’t last forever, so how do you know when to replace them?
You should replace your UPS battery when you know it’s reaching the end of its useful lifespan. Some units have battery health monitoring features that will alert you when the battery needs to be replaced. Besides that, erratic behaviors, a drop in battery performance, physical symptoms, and under-voltage are signs that a replacement is necessary.
This guide will help you understand the signs you must look for to know when to replace your UPS battery.
When Should I Change My UPS Battery?
Your UPS battery plays a crucial role in protecting your devices during a power outage. That’s why you must ensure that you always have batteries that are in excellent working condition.
Here are 6 ways to know when it’s time to change your UPS battery:
#1 When Reaching The End Of Battery Lifespan
Most UPS batteries typically last from 3-5 years. However, that lifespan will also depend on the brand and quality of your UPS battery. Higher-quality units will last longer, and cheaper, entry-level versions will have a shorter lifespan.
The first way to know that it’s time to replace your UPS battery is if you know it’s approaching the end of its lifespan.
As your UPS battery ages, the odds of malfunctioning will increase. Even if you maintain the UPS unit regularly, replacing an aging battery will help you avoid unwanted issues.
Some UPS battery manufacturers provide recommendations for when you should replace the battery. On top of that, some of them also sell replacement kits to help you do so. Always refer to the user manual to understand what the manufacturer recommends for your UPS brand and model.
#2 When UPS Software Tells You To Change Battery
Some UPS brands and models come equipped with battery health monitoring software or alarms. These additional features provide extra convenience, as they’ll continuously gauge the condition of your UPS battery.
So, when the UPS unit senses its batteries are no longer performing within acceptable levels, it’ll let you know. For example, the feature will flash an alert on the device informing you that a battery replacement is necessary.
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Of course, not all UPS units will come with that as a standard feature. Plus, there’s always a chance that the alert might be inaccurate.
That’s why you must also rely on the other indicators on this list to know when your UPS battery must be replaced.
#3 When UPS Alarms And Lights Behave Erratically
When your UPS battery experiences extensive wear and desperately needs a replacement, you’ll likely notice the UPS unit malfunction in more obvious ways.
A typical example is when the UPS unit’s alarms and lights start to behave erratically.
For example, you might find that the UPS alarms repeatedly activate, even when there’s no problem. Besides that, the lights on the UPS display might flicker continuously.
These are clear signs that your UPS battery must be replaced as soon as possible. Until you do so, you can’t rely on the UPS to act as a reliable backup for the devices you connect to it.
#4 When The Battery Charges Too Slowly Or Discharges Too Fast
Another common sign that your UPS battery needs a replacement is when it no longer performs as well as it should. A straightforward way to measure that performance is to note how much time you spend charging the battery and how long it’ll last when discharging.
In other words, a battery no longer performing well will take much longer to recharge to full capacity. At the same time, that battery won’t last as long as usual when powering your devices during a power outage.
Both of these symptoms show that the battery’s internal chemistry is no longer optimal.
At that point, a battery replacement is the only way to ensure the UPS will provide the power you need during a power outage.
#5 When The Battery Shows Physical Symptoms
UPS batteries that get too old also show apparent physical symptoms that you can look out for.
So, when inspecting your UPS battery, pay attention to:
- How it looks: As you saw in #4, old batteries start to experience changes in their internal chemistry. Those changes can also cause the battery’s body to swell, dangerously increasing the battery’s size. If you see that, replace the battery immediately.
- How it smells: Worn-out UPS batteries often give off specific smells. For example, you might notice a burning or sulfur smell that people describe as the smell of ‘rotten eggs’.
- How it feels: Old batteries that no longer work correctly will also start to generate excessive heat. So, while it’s normal for UPS batteries to feel a little warm, you’ll find that yours are too hot to the touch.
Remember: physical symptoms like those listed above indicate that the battery is already in a dangerous condition. If you notice any of them, you must immediately remove the battery and dispose of it safely.
When those symptoms are present, there is no longer any time to delay getting a replacement for your UPS battery.
#6 When The Battery’s Voltage Drops Too Low
Lastly, another effective way to tell if your UPS battery needs replacing is to test it with a multimeter. You’ll want to use the multimeter to test the battery’s voltage.
All UPS batteries have a voltage range that helps you gauge their health. When the voltage falls below that recommended range, the battery is no longer functioning correctly on the inside, and a replacement is needed.
UPS batteries can differ in their capacity and voltages. So, you should refer to the user manual for your brand and model to know the manufacturer’s recommendations for its voltage levels.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few more questions and answers to help you understand your UPS battery and know when to replace it.
Can A UPS Battery Be Replaced?
Yes, you can replace a UPS battery instead of changing the whole unit. Some manufacturers also sell battery replacement kits to make the process easier. However, you should also check the UPS unit to ensure it’s still in excellent working order when replacing the battery.
How Often Should You Replace A UPS Battery?
The lifespan of UPS batteries can differ between brands and models. It’s always best to replace the battery when it loses some of its performance. Waiting until the battery fails completely is not a good idea, as you’ll need the battery to be in good condition during a power outage.
How Long Do UPS Batteries Last?
UPS batteries typically last between 3 and 5 years. However, that will depend on the UPS brand and model, as well as the quality of the battery inside. Higher-quality batteries tend to last longer than those on the lower end of the spectrum.
Can I Use A UPS Without Battery?
Yes, you can use a UPS without a battery if it’s connected to a power source. When that’s the case, you can continue to plug devices into the UPS and operate them as you usually do. However, the UPS has no way of storing power. So, it’ll be useless during a power outage or other power supply disruptions.
How Do You Test A UPS Battery?
You can test a UPS battery using a multimeter. Firstly, remove the UPS battery from the unit. Then, use the multimeter to test the battery’s voltage levels. If the voltage is below the recommended range, the battery is no longer performing optimally. That’s a sign that you should replace the battery in your UPS unit with a new one.