A standard UPS battery backup should last anywhere from 3-5 years. Cheaper units might have a slightly shorter lifespan, while there are pricier ones that’ll last longer than that. However, a UPS battery that lasts only 10-12 months is likely experiencing a problem causing it to fail prematurely.
When your UPS battery fails after only 10-12 months, it’s likely because the unit’s surrounding temperatures are too high. Besides that, internal overheating, frequent discharging, and continuous overcharging will also damage the battery and shorten its lifespan.
A UPS battery should last several years, so you’ll want to continue reading if yours fails prematurely. You’ll discover more about why that happens and what you can do to fix it.
Why Does My UPS Battery Fail Prematurely?
A typical UPS battery has a lifespan of 3-5 years. So, it’s certainly not normal for a battery to last only 10-12 months.
If you find that your UPS battery fails prematurely, here are the likely causes that you should consider:
High Surrounding Temperatures
What it is: All UPS batteries have an optimal operating temperature range. If the unit stays within that range, it will continue to function optimally and avoid unnecessary wear.
You see, backup batteries don’t do well in extremely high or low temperatures. That’s particularly true in higher temperatures, as excess heat can cause plenty of problems for a UPS battery in the long run.
What happens: When the lifespan of your UPS battery can’t seem to go beyond 10-12 months, it’s likely because of excess wear due to high surrounding temperatures.
Those high temperatures will make it impossible for the UPS unit and its internal batteries to keep themselves cool.
When that happens continuously, it will cause the UPS to wear out prematurely, including the battery.
How to fix/prevent it: The solution to this problem is to ensure that your UPS is placed in a room with a constant and reasonable temperature. Depending on your unit, you might have to cool the surrounding area much more.
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Heavy-duty industrial UPS models must be placed in an air-conditioned room.
So, check your UPS user manual to see what the surrounding temperatures for that model must be.
What it is: The UPS’ surrounding temperature isn’t the only thing that must be controlled. The UPS’s internal temperature is another crucial factor that can affect the battery’s lifespan.
All UPS models will have ways of controlling their own temperature. For example, plenty of them have built-in cooling fans that ventilate hot air out of the UPS unit so it can stay cool inside.
What happens: Unfortunately, the UPS can also overheat from the inside. That will occur when the built-in fans fail or become clogged with dust.
So, even if the surrounding areas are at a cool temperature, the UPS will fail to ventilate the heat it generates from within.
That will cause the unit to overheat and wear out its batteries, dramatically reducing its lifespan to 12 months or less.
How to fix/prevent it: You can avoid internal overheating by cleaning the UPS fans regularly. Brushing away dust on the fans will go a long way to ensure they can continue operating efficiently to remove hot air from within the UPS.
Discharged Too Often
What it is: The lifespan of a UPS backup battery also depends on how many times it charges and discharges. Typically, a UPS continuously recharges until there’s a power outage.
When that happens, the battery begins to discharge the power it stores inside.
Aside from power outages, the battery will also discharge whenever you disconnect it from the wall socket. With no incoming power, the UPS will automatically begin discharging its batteries.
What happens: Every time a UPS battery goes through a discharge/recharge cycle, it loses just a little bit of its lifespan. The more that happens, the quicker the battery will wear out entirely, which might explain why yours only lasts 10-12 months.
Repetitive discharging might happen if your area is prone to power outages or disruptions. Besides that, some users disconnect their UPS units often and use them as a mobile battery pack.
Those factors will result in more charge-discharge cycles, which wear out the battery and shorten its lifespan.
How to fix/prevent it: If your UPS battery is already failing, you must replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, there’s no way to restore the battery’s lifespan and make it last longer.
Once you get a new battery, you should reserve the UPS for emergency use only. That way, you’ll ensure that the battery will only be discharged if there’s a power outage.
With fewer charge-discharge cycles, you’ll maximize the battery’s lifespan to where it should be, typically 3-5 years.
What it is: In the past, a battery would overcharge if you left it connected to a power source for too long. That doesn’t happen these days, especially in modern UPS battery backups.
The reason for that is pretty straightforward: all UPS models have electronic components that control how the device charges and discharges its power.
Once those components sense that the battery is fully charged, they will prevent the batteries from receiving more power. In doing so, they avoid overcharging and the problems that come with it.
That’s excellent news, considering how overcharging a battery affects the chemical reactions within and significantly reduces its lifespan.
What happens: Although less likely, the electronics controlling the UPS battery’s behaviors may have failed. They might have become faulty, worn out, or experienced some kind of electrical damage like a short circuit.
When that happens, the UPS unit will lose its ability to prevent overcharging. As a result, the UPS that you keep plugged into the wall socket will continue charging excessively.
If the UPS is left that way, the battery will quickly reduce its lifespan and begin failing despite only being used for 10-12 months.
How to fix/prevent it: As mentioned before, your UPS has electronic components that prevent it from overcharging. So, the only way to prevent yours from overcharging is to ensure that those components are always working correctly.
You can do that by checking on them periodically. Look for any warnings or error codes on your UPS that might suggest a problem with its components.
Should you find any problems, you must get them fixed by a qualified technician immediately. Delaying those repairs could cause more damage to your batteries and shorten their lifespan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Check out these commonly asked questions and their answers to understand your UPS device further:
What Affects UPS Battery Life?
UPS battery life is affected by a handful of factors. They include how you use the device, regular maintenance, how frequently you charge/discharge the unit, and the temperature surrounding the unit. You can maximize a UPS battery life by improving all of those factors.
Do UPS Batteries Degrade Over Time?
Yes, all UPS batteries will degrade over time. That’s why they have a limited lifespan, typically between 3-5 years. Once the battery starts to degrade and lose its performance, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
How Do I Know If My UPS Battery Needs To Be Replaced?
You can preemptively replace your UPS battery once you know that it’s reaching the end of its expected lifespan. However, you should do it immediately once you notice that the unit is experiencing a drop in performance, i.e. it takes much longer than usual to charge or discharges far too quickly.
How Can I Improve My UPS Battery Life?
You can improve your UPS battery life by keeping the unit in a well-ventilated and cool area. Besides that, avoid discharging the battery except during emergencies. The less often you discharge the battery, the longer it’ll last.
Does UPS Require Air Conditioning?
Some heavy-duty or industrial UPS models require air conditioning. That’s because they generate an exceptional amount of heat and need external help to stay within safe operating temperatures.