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How to get the most out of your UPS maintenance

Chris Cutler

Chris Cutler

Business Development Manager at Riello UPS
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UPS Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to the reliability of your vital UPS systems, but Chris Cutler of Riello UPS warns not all maintenance contracts are created equally and offers some top tips to ensure you get the best possible coverage.

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) provide invaluable peace of mind that if there’s any disruption to the mains electricity, your vital equipment has the emergency backup needed to keep on running.

Whether it’s a mission-critical setting, such as a data centre or hospital, or protecting IT equipment and devices in home offices up and down the country, a UPS is proven to be the best defence against unplanned downtime.

But a UPS is a sophisticated piece of machinery in its own right, costing anywhere from a few hundred pounds for a small, plug-and-play domestic unit to tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds for a larger commercial installation.

To get the most out of such a significant investment you need to look after it. How well maintained a UPS is has a big impact on its reliability, performance and eventual lifespan.

But wear and tear over time is inevitable. Parts and components will need replacing. And no piece of electrical equipment is ever infallible – at some point, your UPS is likely to break down or malfunction.

Why maintenance matters

New UPS systems are covered by warranties. In fact, much of Riello UPS’s range comes with an extended five-year warranty as standard. But even with a warranty, you’ll only get a ‘best endeavour’ response if something goes wrong. You could still be waiting a while for things to get fixed.

That’s why many organisations opt for the safety net of an ongoing maintenance plan. A maintenance agreement sets out the emergency response time it’ll take for engineers to attend the site when something goes wrong. It will cover whether consumables like capacitors and fans are included and if you’ll have to pay for parts and labour.

It’ll also include the provision for at least one service visit a year. These Preventive Maintenance Visits (PMV) are the equivalent of an annual service on your car or boiler. Engineers will identify any parts that might need replacing, carry out little performance tweaks, and install the latest software updates.

Such a proactive approach to UPS maintenance not only reduces your risk of experiencing a costly failure. It also ensures your UPS runs more efficiently, which in turn cuts your power consumption and energy bills. In addition, it can increase the service life of some components by 25-50%, which lengthens the lifespan of your whole system and helps optimise the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Not all contracts are created equally

Unfortunately, not all UPS maintenance contracts are the same. Some are better than others. And sadly some agreements aren’t even worth the paper they’re written on, full of get-out clauses, caveats, and confusing terms and conditions.

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s essential to do your due diligence and get clarity on several key points. The most important of these is something we’ve already briefly touched on – the emergency response time you’ll get when there’s a fault with your UPS.

Most maintenance providers claim to offer 24/7/365 coverage with a range of response times from 12 working hours down to four clock hours for the most urgent cases. But does what you’re being promised live up to expectations?

What actually constitutes the ‘response’? Is it just a brief phone call with tech support, or even worse, an automated message simply acknowledging you’ve reported the issue? Or is it a trained and experienced engineer on-site and working to fix the fault?

And even if you get a rapid response, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the problem fixed quickly. Does your maintenance company have speedy access to spare parts? It’s no good to you if the necessary components aren’t in stock or if they’re hundreds of miles away – the cost of downtime quickly adds up.

On far too many occasions customers have been let down by their UPS maintenance companies without any real consequences, as they’re tied into restrictive contracts with long notice periods and limited options in terms of recourse.

Doing things differently

That’s where Riello UPS takes a different approach to the rest of the industry. It’s another way of doing things. And it’s a better way.

Over the past three decades, Riello UPS has developed a hard-earned reputation as one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of UPS and other standby power systems from 400VA to 6.4MVA, with an award-winning product range including solutions for powering the smallest desktop PCs through to the latest data centre servers and supercomputers.

Our products combine engineering excellence with high performance and energy efficiency, and they are backed up by dedicated pre and post-sales support from an in-house technical team brimming with industry experience and expertise.

Riello UPS maintenance plans are renowned throughout the industry for their transparency and clarity. Our plans aren’t ‘one size fits all’ contracts, they are tailored to the specific needs of each and every customer.

We’re upfront and honest about what’s included (i.e. parts, labour) and just as importantly what isn’t covered. These service level agreements with substance are fair, transparent, and have meaning, so when you sign on the dotted line you can be sure about what you’re getting.

And unlike other providers, there are no automatic contract renewals, it’s entirely the customer’s choice.

Jewel in the crown

Riello UPS offers a range of guaranteed emergency response times to suit your needs, starting with 12 or eight working hours, all the way down to same-day four clock hours for sites that demand the speediest solution.

But for our most mission-critical customers, such as data centre operators, even that wasn’t quite enough. So we listened and came up with the ultimate insurance for when downtime simply isn’t an option: Diamond UPS maintenance.

Our pioneering Diamond plan goes above and beyond the industry norm, making us the first UK-based UPS company to commit to not only a guaranteed response time but a fix time too.

So you’ll get a fully-trained, certified engineer on site within four clock hours of reporting the fault, plus a pledge to repair the issue inside a further eight hours.

And because we back up our words with actions, if for any reason we can’t meet these challenging targets, we’ll pay you compensation for the inconvenience.

The Diamond plan also incorporates our cloud-based remote monitoring platform Riello Connect, which offers round the clock protection and analysis to aid performance and proactively identify issues before they become critical.

Leading the way

The premium Diamond plan has already proven extremely popular with data centre operators and managers of other similarly critical facilities. It gives them that invaluable reassurance that they’re doing everything possible to protect their critical power supplies at all times.

Diamond builds on all the other qualities and characteristics that have seen Riello UPS maintenance contracts set the industry standard.

We have the country’s biggest stock of UPS, spares, and components. This multi-million-pound stockholding isn’t just stored at our HQ in North Wales, but at several strategic hubs throughout the UK. So if the worst happens and you have a fault, we can get spare parts or even replacement UPSs to you within a few hours of an issue being reported.

Incidentally, apart from batteries and capacitors, all replacement parts and components are covered as standard under Riello UPS maintenance plans, including replacement fans, which isn’t the case with most other providers.

All Riello UPS service engineers, whether our in-house team or from our network of authorised service partners, must successfully complete a challenging Certified Engineer training programme and undertake regular refresher courses. This ensures they are fully competent and experienced with the UPSs they’re working on, so you can guarantee they’re 100% up to the task at hand.  

When it comes to the upkeep of your vital UPS systems, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best. And by choosing Riello UPS, you’re partnering with a proven track record of excellence and added value that gives you the long-lasting peace of mind that your critical power is protected at all times.

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