In a world where working from home is becoming popular or even essential, having reliable internet and backup power is vital to ensure you can stay productive. A sudden loss of power could mean hours of work down the drain and being cut off during an important conference call is a potentially disastrous situation.
The solution to ensure that you receive a steady and reliable stream of backup power throughout the day is to invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
The purpose of the UPS is well-established. Should a circuit breaker trip or a blackout happen, the UPS will seamlessly and automatically step in to provide power to the equipment that it is protecting. This will typically have to be long enough for systems such as a PC to be properly powered off.
UPS can be purchased from brands such as APC by Schneider Electric, and may even come with a small LCD status display for key status information at a glance. Choosing one can be challenging for some of us though, here are some tips from Schneider Electric about choosing a UPS for use at home.
Number of outlets: UPS comes with one or more outlets for protecting the most important appliances in your homes. Since this is fixed, it is hence important to identify the number of power outlets that would be needed ahead of time. Some UPS models may also protect additional devices such as for phone lines (ADSL models) and data lines (Ethernet devices). Others might offer additional “surge-only” outlets that can provide secondary electronics from power surges and spikes – do not plug your electronics that require runtime protection into those ports!
Power: If devices require more power than what the UPS can generate, then these devices will not run due to the overload. Hence it is important to “size” the power load ahead of time and go with a more powerful UPS as needed. It must be noted that reading the labels on the power supply of your equipment is not always an accurate way of figuring out the required power, due to how they are often much higher than their actual draw. If you are an advanced user, you can read more about Schneider Electric’s recommended home office solutions from this link.
Runtime: Aside from the amount of power required, the runtime is another vital consideration. While some users need only a few minutes to quickly shut down a PC, others such as a NAS might require a longer time horizon to safely power down. Some users might even require crucial systems to keep running for an extended period. Where power is a measurement of the wattage of the UPS, the runtime is really a measurement of how large the reservoir of charge is.
Manageability: Some UPS can be plugged into a PC or laptop to access power protection and management features. While lithium-ion UPS batteries that degrade much slower are starting to make its way into the market, sealed lead-acid with two to three years of reliable runtime is typically the norm. For the latter, the ability to replace them without a trip to a service centre is a factor that many users will probably consider as important.
You do not have to be a power expert to select and purchase a suitable UPS for your home. If you are looking for a UPS today, more information on how to make UPS selection easy and stress-free can be found from Schneider Electric here.