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Environments for UPS Units

Uninterruptible Power Supplies are designed to installed in dry clean cool environments. Most manufacturer requirements require the UPS to be in an ambient temperature of 20C with a decent amount of airflow.

If a UPS system is being installed as part of a renovation or new build it is easier to achieve the location specifications as a specifically design area can be built. This would ensure the reliability and lifespan of the UPS.

A perfect environment isn’t always available however, sometimes businesses have to make do with what they have. Even with the best effort to secure and maintain an existing area, it may not be ideal. Sometimes a UPS can be located in with other electrical equipment such as plant rooms or even in basements, or containers. In extreme cases, the UPS may need to be outside. This forces the UPS to be in an environment it is not designed for. What can be done to ensure the UPS is relatively protected from these detrimental environments?

Dust Filters

In normal operation, the UPS system runs continuously and air constantly flows in and out. If the environment is prone to dust or other airborne particles, the inside of the UPS can become clogged, leading to cooling problems and internal component damage. To prevent this, selecting a UPS that includes dust filters as standard or has the option for retrofitting and regular replacement will prevent the harmful buildup of dust and maintain the reliability of the system. In particularly poor environments, the application of a conformal coating may also be recommended.

UPS Systems Harsh Environment

Conformal Coating the Circuit Boards

The conformal coating is a protective measure that helps to prevent corrosion and damage to the internal circuit boards of the UPS, especially in environments where the air has high humidity content, moisture, or chemical contaminants. The coating is applied by the manufacturer before shipping and provides electrical insulation, maintaining the surface insulation resistance of the electronic assemblies and protecting them from airborne contaminants. This technology is now widely used in industrial UPS and is becoming a standard feature in high-end three-phase UPS offered by manufacturers such as Riello UPS and Eaton. This is ideal for protecting the UPS systems from air moisture.

Separate Battery Location

The operational temperature range for most UPS systems is 0C to 40C, but batteries have different performance and service life characteristics based on temperature. If the temperature is higher, the battery’s performance will increase but its lifetime will decrease, and if the temperature is lower, the battery’s lifetime will increase but its performance will decrease. This can have a substantial impact on the battery’s life, for example, a five-year design life battery could only be usable for 33% of its design life if the ambient temperature is 30C. Having your batteries in a separate climate-controlled room will allow you to maximise the UPS batteries’ lifetime.


In summary, the cooling fans in a UPS system have a lifespan of around 5 to 7 years and should be replaced if they fail before this time. Preventive replacement of all cooling fans at a fixed interval can save on labour expenses and improve the reliability of the UPS, reducing the chances of losing the connected load and incurring costly downtime. Dust filters should also be used in environments prone to dust and other airborne particles to prevent the internal buildup of debris and potential failures.

If you have any questions about a Harsh Environment UPS you can contact us here.