Not once, not twice, but three times in as many weeks I have been asked if I have a battery backup for my computer. (I must admit that I did not.) But when things come at me multiple times, especially so close together, I figure the universe is trying to tell me something.

So I asked questions. Why do I need a battery backup? What will it do for me? What will it cost? Where do I get it?

Here are 3 reasons to consider plugging your computer into a battery backup power source:

  1. If your power goes out and you don’t have a battery backup, your computer turns off.  Nothing is saved and your hard drive could be damaged.  Computers shutting down abruptly due to loss of power can hurt or even destroy your computer. (according to the guy I talked to at my local Apple Store.)
  2. Power going down even for a second or two can affect your electronics.  It can mess with your hard drive and you can lose what you are working on.
  3. All power is not created equally.  Apparently power can be “dirty” – meaning the level of power coming out of your outlet can fluctuate enough to cause problems with your computer.

By adding a Battery backup / surge protector to your setup, you are giving yourself peace of mind and protecting your investment at the same time.  The size of the unit you get and the number of things you plug into it will affect the amount of time your battery backup will keep you running.  The idea is that if there is a power outage, you will have 15-30 minutes to save what you are working on and gently shut down your systems.  Electronics, like people, don’t like large jolts of power when they aren’t expecting it and will last longer with a consistent power supply.

I purchased the best battery backup they had at my local Best Buy.  Here are the details:

This battery back-up system features a 355-joule rating to protect your equipment from power surges and spikes and powers your components for up to 121 minutes in the event of a power failure.

What’s Included

  • APC 1000VA Battery Back-Up System
  • Automatic shutdown software
  • Owner’s manual

Product Features

  • 355-joule rating
    Absorbs a high quantity of energy for improved performance.
  • 1000VA (600W) capacity with up to 121 minutes of battery backup time
    Along with automatic voltage regulation for safe system shutdown when power is lost.
  • 8 outlets (4 battery backup/surge protection)
    With telephone, Ethernet and coaxial protection help protect your computer and peripherals from power surges and spikes.
  • Master outlet
    Controls 2 surge outlets to conserve energy.
  • Multifunction LCD display
    Keeps you aware of power status.
  • 6′ cord
    Allows flexible room placement.
  • Automatic shutdown software included
    For added equipment safety.
  • APC $150,000 equipment protection policy.

The unit has 8 outlets – 4 are surge protection and battery backup, 4 are just surge protectors.  I plugged my iMac, scanner and external hard drives into the battery backup outlets and other less essential equipment into the surge protector outlets. (Like my iPod speakers…)

I decided to get it when I bought my new computer – I would be crawling under the desk moving cords and plugs anyway so it seemed like the perfect time.   Even though we lose power rarely, it would only take once to make me kick myself for not doing it – especially now that I know about it.

I think it’s an investment worth every penny just for the peace of mind!  Let’s face it, without backing up data and keeping my computer alive, my art licensing business would be dead in the water.  Now… it’s up to you to decide if this is something to add to your system.

Here’s to your creative success and the longevity of your equipment!

– Tara Reed

* I don’t get anything from Best Buy or APC for the recommendation – just sharing what I learned and what I got. 🙂 (But if Best Buy or APC sees this blog and wants me to test things, feel free to contact me!)