Q: When should I replace the battery in my battery backup unit?

Tech Q & A
– Submitted by Darell Newman, Personal Preference Landscape Care

A: The batteries in most battery backup units last between 3 – 5 years. In fact, some companies have their battery backup software warn users that the battery in their unit is over 3 years old. Given this information, obviously most people would think they need to replace their battery in about 3 to 4 years. However, my recommendation in most cases is actually for users not to replace the battery in battery backup units. Let me explain why.

The first reason is cost. Simply speaking, the cost of replacing a battery in a battery backup unit is almost always nearly the same price as just buying a new unit. Even if you are spending a little more for a brand new unit, the pace of technology improvements in the course of 3 – 5 years means that you will be getting a better overall unit by buying a new one.

Second, the purpose of a battery backup or surge protector is to absorb power problems so your computer doesn’t. Over time, these devices can be damaged or wear out. It would be a shame to spend money on a new battery only to have the unit fail soon after.

Finally, some batteries can be difficult to find replacements for and difficult to physically replace. Any savings in getting a new battery will probably be lost in the time involved finding a matching battery and then actually installing it.

So basically, the answer to when to replace your battery is never! Generally, no harm comes if the battery stops working (but be sure to replace it right away), so you can wait until the battery backup indicates that it is time to replace your battery and simply buy a new one. If you want to be proactive, wait about 4 years to purchase a new unit.

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