Let’s talk about summer. After the long winter season, it is a good thing to think warm, happy thoughts. As much you may not have enjoyed the cold, computers do not like the heat. The ideal temperature for computer equipment is between 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit with a minimum temperature of 50 degrees and a maximum of 82 degrees. Source: http://www.itwatchdogs.com/computer-room-temperature
You may have noticed that many of today’s newer computers seem to run hotter than previous models. That is true in many cases. CPU’s do run hotter on many of the newer, faster processors. There is another reason for this as well, which is that newer computers are actually more efficient at expelling the heat building up inside the units to the outside, keeping the internals of the computer cooler.
The summer months also bring storms. With storms come power outages and with power outages comes downtime if you are not prepared. Power outages cost United States businesses $80 billion dollars annually in lost productivity and repairs. (http://www.sandc.com/blogs/index.php/2013/08/10-years-later-power-outages-still-cost-u-s-billions-each-year/)
Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) are a necessity to protect your most critical computer equipment and keep them running on battery for the typical short power outage. At a minimum, they will allow you time to perform an orderly shutdown of your computer equipment. Better yet, some UPSes allow you the ability to do an automated orderly shutdown in case the power outage occurs during off hours.
What devices should you plug into a UPS? – Anything you don’t want to be damaged from an electrical spike. Many smaller UPSes will have outlets that provide surge protection and battery power on one side and other that just provide surge protection. It is a good idea to give some thought to what devices actually need to stay running during a power outage and what can survive on just surge protection. My laptop, for example, is on the surge protection side. If the power goes out, the laptop has a battery in it. My phone on the other hand will need battery power to stay running during an outage. It is also important to note that not all surge protectors are equal. Look at the joule rating of your surge protector to find a suitable unit. In general, the higher the joule rating the better the protection. Look for a joule rating of 600 or above. The following link provides detail beyond the scope of this blog posting on surge protection. (http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/surge-protector7.htm )
There are many types of UPSes on the market. The safest for your equipment from a technology perspective are double-conversion UPSes. These units take the A/C (alternating current) that comes from the wall outlet and uses it to charge the batteries (converted to D/C or direct current) and the batteries actually supply clean power to the computers. That means there is no direct power coming from the wall to your equipment in case of a power spike or brown-out. These units tend to be more expensive. Many standard units, while not double-conversion will do a good job of protecting your equipment. But remember, that you only need to connect to a UPS if you want to keep the device working after a power outage!
The summer season is finally on its way. Now is the time to make sure your computer equipment is protected and your business is prepared for the power issues that are sure to lie ahead.
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