Research Hub > Maintaining Power During Storm Season
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Maintaining Power During Storm Season

Surge protectors, UPS devices, generators and a power assessment are key to staying up and running.

North American weather is impacted by what is known as “storm season.” This aligns with hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. These weather patterns can affect the entire country and they touch our commercial customers in many ways. Power can be disrupted by sudden severe weather conditions that can affect the power grid and produce downtime for your organization.

Learn how CDW can keep your organization up and running.

Unfortunately, the United States endures more blackouts than any other developed nation. The number of U.S. power outages lasting more than an hour has increased steadily for the past decade, costing American businesses as much as $150 billion per year.

Storm Season Preparedness

How can organizations prepare for storm season? Data centers and edge networks need enough capacity and secure endpoints for workers to access their files and applications from anywhere. Employees need access to cloud applications to take full advantage of collaboration tools available to them, and organizations need to protect their power. What follows are some key areas to focus on with storm season preparedness (and a solid work from home strategy), so your users will be able to stay productive and your organization stays functional.

Surge Protectors

At the very minimum, organizations should have their users connect their home or office devices to a surge protector. Commercial organizations may want to invest in a service entrance transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS) surge protector, panel TVSS surge protector or point-of-use devices providing different levels of protection. A surge protector doesn’t provide any power backup but will protect their sensitive equipment from damage.

The major component in a surge protector is called a metal oxide varistor (MOV) and the more there are in series, the higher the level protection you have in most applications.

For point-of-use applications like the edge or WFH applications, select the highest joule count for maximum protection. One joule is the equivalent of one watt of power radiated or dissipated for one second.

Choosing the Correct UPS

An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) is one of the most important investments you can make for commercial or WFH applications, but sadly is often overlooked. Not only does it protect the hardware investment that was made, but it prevents data loss, increasing user productivity.

When the electrical current going to your device is not steady, it can have dire consequences for your desktop PCs and network applications. One common mistake is installing the wrong UPS unit if you have a generator in place. Our recommendation is to use only online/double conversion UPS units when using a generator. Both the UPS and the generator will work in harmony together.

Having the wrong UPS topology can create power issues over time as well as downtime for users. If you do not have a generator, then the choice is simple. Users should have line-interactive or offline UPS units depending on the level protection that is needed. The CDW Power and Cooling team can recommend a unit that meets the needs for your particular situation.

A UPS can protect both data and the computer equipment connected to it by stabilizing the voltage passing through and allowing users the ability to keep working or at the very least shut down properly. The option to gracefully shutdown is extremely valuable in the course of an incident as it provides you protection against severe data loss.


To keep your generator ready for potential power outages, we suggest the following:

  • Regularly exercise your back-up power systems
  • Ensure there is adequate fuel; confirm fuel quality
  • Confirm that starting batteries are sufficiently charged (and replace the internal battery every 3 to 4 years)
  • Regularly inspect and test power system transfer equipment
  • Conduct visual inspections of your back-up power system

UPS Battery Replacement

Are your UPS batteries ready for the next storm? To prevent sudden downtime, CDW recommends that customers refresh batteries in their UPS units for edge and WFH applications in order to prevent critical downtime when need.

Power Assessment

It’s important to have an onsite/virtual power assessment of the network and data center facilities for preparedness. This can save you time and money. Are you aware that heating, cooling and power assessments will be performed following best practice guidelines? CDW power partners are experts in the field and will perform them upon request. Your CDW account manager can help get the process rolling.