Electricity is the lifeblood of any modern business. Without a solid power supply, you can say goodbye to the lights, heating, computers and telephones you need to keep your business running. Just take a look at South Africaâ€™s current woes for the economic devastation that can come from poor power supplies. A series of rolling blackouts has forced the countryâ€™s most popular tourist attractions, retailers and airports to shut down their services, slashing the countryâ€™s GDP at an estimated 0.2% every day.
Thatâ€™s why, even if youâ€™re not a technically minded entrepreneur, it pays to think about the electrical equipment your business uses.
Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS)
Like the name suggests, an uninterruptable power supply makes sure power keeps running to vital equipment during a power cut, whether itâ€™s just a few seconds, a few minutes or more. Basic models can keep computers running for ten minutes or more â€“ long enough to wait out shorter power cuts, and giving you time to save your files and shut down safely to prevent data corruption. Configurable software will even do this automatically, giving you peace of mind in the event of a power cut. More advanced systems, designed for network servers, can keep running for several hours or more â€“ ideal for data critical businesses.
The other benefit of a UPS is providing surge protection. Problems with the electrical supply will often be accompanied by power surges and spikes, which can easily damage sensitive equipment. A small investment in a UPS with surge protection can save you tens of thousands of pounds when dealing with network servers.
Source Transfer Switches (STS)
A useful addition to a UPS is a STS, or â€œSource Transfer Switchâ€. This type of device is used to link two power sources together; either two mains power supplies, two UPS devices or one of each. If one power supply is compromised, an STS can rapidly switch to ensure loss of power is minimised.
A voltage optimiser is a piece of kit that adjusts the voltage of all mains electricity used in your building â€“ usually by lowering it below the average 242V used in the UK. This has two benefits. Firstly, it helps save power by reducing the energy usage of equipment like motors and transformers without affecting their performance â€“ and consequently, cut your electrical bills.
Secondly, by reducing the voltage level, it helps to extend the lifetime of equipment, such as light bulbs, designed to work on a lower voltage level than that typically supplied in the UK. A supplier like Critical Power Supplies will be able to advise you of the best model for your situation. A voltage optimiser will typically pay for itself after just two or three yearâ€™s use, helping to make your business more cost effective in the future.