The increase in frequency of lightning and thunderstorms means that power problems pose a growing threat to equipment and data within businesses and home offices. Many livelihoods depend on a constant supply of electrical power. Even a temporary stoppage of power can lead to chaos, loss of data, and business interruption. Preparing for the storm season does not need to be expensive or complicated; a wide range of affordable Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) solutions provide equipment with safe, reliable power, protecting investments and data.
UPS systems ensure that a power backup is in place, allowing users to properly save their work before power runs out. A UPS system can act as an insurance policy which protects and secures electronic device data during power outages. UPS devices offer guaranteed power protection for high performance computer systems, routers/modems, smart TVs and appliances, gaming consoles, and other electronics.
Several factors come into play when deciding which UPS best fits the needs of a home or small business owner:
- Price – UPSs for homes and small offices can range from under $100 to several thousands of dollars depending upon the configuration. Many brands of UPS exist across the industry and buyers need to consider the price / quality tradeoff. Making a decision solely based on price can be risky as poor quality internal components can result in a failure to protect the attached equipment. (In the event of a lightning strike for example, components can get “fried.”) Safety and reliability should be key considerations when selecting a UPS. The better-quality UPSs often come with either a lifetime warranty or an extended guarantee.
- Energy efficiency – Some UPS devices offer “green” features such as power saving outlets that automatically turn off idle peripherals. A high efficiency charging system and an automatic voltage regulator within certain UPS devices also helps reduce power consumption, which is ideal for cost-conscious home office professionals.
- Runtime – This refers to the amount of time a UPS supports connected devices during a power outage. Should the power happen to go out, how long can the UPS keep powering the attached equipment? For some, the time it takes to guarantee a safe shutdown of a connected computer system so that no data is lost is sufficient. For others, perhaps a security system needs to keep running for several hours as a “bridge” until the utility power comes back up.
- Load – A “load” refers to the number of devices (and the rate at which they consume power) that are connected to the UPS. If the user plans to connect a multitude of devices, then it is recommended that a UPS with more battery storage capacity is considered.
- Size and weight – Some UPS designs targeted for the home market are optimized for larger loads, and are overkill when keeping something like a modem, router or a phone charger alive during power glitches. Choosing a form factor that fits your particular requirement will help assure that your investment meets expectations.
- Storage medium – The batteries inside of the UPS are the components that provide the power when the lights go out. Consumers today have choices in both battery size and battery types. Most UPSs that populate homes and small offices today contain lead acid batteries. However, Lithium-Ion batteries are quickly growing in popularity and they offer lower cost and smaller footprint options in certain cases.
- Connectivity – Home UPSs can also act as important enablers of home network remote management and availability. In fact, some home UPSs are capable of monitoring a network connection and of automatically cycling power to a smart outlet in order to reboot a hung modem or router. Users no longer need to be at home to physically unplug and restart the frozen device.
- Portability – Some UPSs come with removable power packs, so they can double as a portable mobile power pack. A homeowner can slip it into his or her pocket, purse or briefcase and charge mobile devices such as cell phones when on the go. The batteries in the power pack are lithium-ion, which makes them light to carry and easy to recharge.
Storms and power outages happen, but home and business users can achieve Certainty in a Connected World with a UPS solution. For more information on how to make UPS selection easy and stress-free, access the new APC by Schneider Electric UPS Buying Guide.