Is it Cheaper to Refurbish or Replace an Ageing UPS?


In this article we discuss, using figures from a recent case, whether it’s more cost effective to refurbish an ageing UPS or to replace it with a brand new unit. Although the initial cost of repairing an existing UPS can be lower than replacing it, it’s important to consider the cost of running and maintaining an old unit in comparison with a new, more efficient UPS.

The data below shows the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of two new UPS units compared with that of two old units. The customer in this case requested the repair of two 200 kVA UPS units that were 10 years old. Although the customer wanted to refurbish the UPS modules, we were able to demonstrate the benefits of replacing the units rather than repairing them.

The figures highlight the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the customer’s existing 10 year old UPS units compared with two new, more efficient UPS units. The data demonstrates that replacing the old units works out to be a lot cheaper for the customer.

The existing obsolete UPS units were in need of refurbishment which would have cost £48,843. Despite the £74,000 cost of replacing the units, the reduced running and maintenance costs means a total of £69,942 is saved by the customer over five years by replacing rather than repairing the units.

The new 200 kVA UPS units that we proposed had a 0.9 Power Factor and a maximum unit efficiency of 96%. This was in comparison with the existing units’ 0.8 PF and 92% efficiency. The increased efficiency of the new modules equates to significantly reduced running costs of the UPS units; the more efficient a UPS, the less heat it gives out and as a result less money needs to be spent on both cooling services and electricity. The improved power factor also gives the new UPS units a 10% greater output capacity.

When a UPS becomes obsolete, the resulting maintenance costs are high due in part to expensive replacement parts and a lack of availability of spare parts. The new units in this case are labour and parts inclusive and come with a three year warranty. The service contract under warranty is around half the price of the existing unit’s out of warranty contract. This means that the cost of looking after the new modules over the next five years is over £10,000 cheaper than the maintenance of the older units.

 An added benefit of the new UPS units is they are equipped with the latest firmware and software, meaning it’s easier to monitor and manage them over LAN, WAN or remotely. On top of this, newer modules also have a lower carbon footprint.

 In conclusion, purchasing a brand new UPS works out to be a more cost effective option than refurbishing an old unit. The TCO data seen below demonstrates that while the initial outlay of replacing a UPS is higher than the refurbishment costs, the savings through reduced running and maintenance expenditure make purchasing a new UPS a much more financially viable option.

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The above figures are based upon the following calculations taken from a recent project: Cost of repairs of old UPS units = replacing AC % DC Capacitors, fans and batteries. Cost for new UPS includes supply installation and commissioning. Running cost for a typical 160 kVA UPS = 160 kVA @ 0.96 pf running 365 days x 24 hours, assuming electricity cost of 0.10 per unit and applying a factor of 1.33 for air conditioning. Running cost calculation of new UPS: (160/0.96 – 160) x 8760 hours x £0.10 x 1.33 = 7,767 per unit. Running cost calculation of old UPS: (160/0.92 – 160) x 8760 hours x £0.10 x 1.33 = 16,210 per unit.

For further details, please contact our sales team: / 01488 680 500