Emergency Power Recommendations

Are you shopping for an Emergency Power solution? Well, we have taken a little time here to go over some basics in your quest for doing this.

The first question is we always ask is: what are you trying to back up?. In other words, if the power from the local utility goes out, what systems do you want to keep running? For some small businesses it’s very basic: the servers, one or two workstations, the phone system, and a few lights. For larger businesses, hospitals, and other institutions, the emergency system needs to extend to HVAC systems, air filtration systems, an entire plant, and more. Power Source Service specializes on these larger power UPS and emergency lighting systems.

Recommendations on Larger UPS Systems

In the case of a larger UPS system, you will see that the emergency power solution is a combination of a generator (natural gas or diesel) coupled with a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) battery fail over system. These systems can be very large and deliver emergency uninterrupted power for enough electricity to feed a small town. In fact, some systems have multiple diesel or gas generators and multiple UPS/battery systems.

Why do you need both? While the generator will make electricity to keep your plant up and running, it generally takes several minutes between the power from the utility going out and the generator getting started, stabilizing the output, and then feeding a steady stream of “clean electricity” to the facility. What is “clean electricity”, it is a power feed that fluctuates within set parameters of Hertz, Voltage, etc. A power feed outside of these parameters, can cause outage or even damage to certain electrical equipment. This is where the UPS comes in. The UPS is a failover device. It has many batteries, and in a split second, if it detects there are problems with the utility feed, it takes over supplying “clean power” to your facility while the generator fires up and gets going. Oftentimes there are pre-sets that allow the UPS to run for a set period of time prior to switching over to the generator. This is to accommodate for ups-and-downs from the utility. Then, as the generator runs, if there are any problems, you may see the UPS step in and take over until the generator once again provides a clean stream of power.

Steps needed to get the best recommendation for a UPS:

The first step is to get a qualified electrician or UPS qualified technician to assess your needs. This means they come to the building, and do professional measurements on actual usage. They may keep equipment there for a day or two in order to identify power spikes and other anomalies. Their findings will dictate how large of a system you need.

The second step is to buy a generator and a UPS system. Power Source Service works with both new and refurbished systems. For those on a budget, a refurbished system is an acceptable solution when building a system. Quality names like Liebert and Emerson have systems that will run for many decades if properly maintained. If you need a new system, you generally work through a qualified vendor, such as Power Source Services, to work with the manufacturer to make sure the ordering and installation are done properly. Rarely do people work directly with the manufacturer.

It is very important that you buy a quality UPS system. Oftentimes we find that customers think they are saving money by buying a lower priced system with a recognized brand-name. It is important to understand that the UPS power industry has, like any other industry, gone through numerous mergers and consolidation. During that process over the past 10 or 20 years, brand-names associated with quality and high-performance have become low-cost, bottom-grade systems. This means they will degrade quicker, have higher non-performance incidents, and higher maintenance costs after the first three years. The lower cost systems often do not include much-needed equipment and knowledge support and once the customer has to hire outside technical assistance, the customer will find that the overall cost of the system is the same as the more expensive one, but the quality of the actual hardware is inferior in many ways. Power Source Service will try to help you avoid this pitfall.

The third step, once a system size has been determined, is to figure out where you are going to put the generator and UPS systems.  Site preperation for a UPS is very important and there are significant environmental conditions needed to insure proper reliable operation of the systems, as well as longevity.  Dirty, dusty, extreme heat/cold environments hurt your system.  There are also significant safety considerations that go along with this, not to mention code requirements that you need to consider.  Power Source Service will work with you on all of these needs.


It all comes down to getting trustworthy advice from experienced UPS technicians with practical experience in the field. Check references, make the calls to verify the technician’s claims.