Staying Ahead of Battery Failure

Managing battery-operated devices for dependable operation

Hotels depend on battery power for numerous devices throughout their properties, including emergency lighting, door locks, and panic buttons, as well as soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, faucets, and flush valves. Given battery life limitations and consequences of failure, conscientious management of the batteries that power such devices is essential to keeping them functioning properly and operations running smoothly, even during power interruptions.

LODGING Back of the House recently discussed battery use and maintenance issues with Marty Flaherty, director of engineering with Hotel Equities, and Everett Banks, director of facilities, safety, and risk management, The Georgian Terrace Hotel. 

Making Battery Management A Top Priority

Their comments reflect the importance of staying on top of battery management for the many hotel devices whose optimal function depends upon the reliability of this source of power.

Flaherty said his properties use battery power mainly for emergency lights and door locks, while Banks said, in addition to emergency lighting, battery-operated equipment at his properties includes smoke detectors, key card readers, fire panels, cordless tools, and two-way radios. 


They noted advantages and disadvantages of this source of power: According to Banks, “Advantages of battery power include portability, ease of installation, and immediate power backup. Disadvantages include the need for regular maintenance, replacement costs, and the environmental impact of disposal.”

Putting Protocols In Place

Given the consequences of the biggest disadvantage—failure—they shared the measures their respective properties take to avoid it. Flaherty described a simple protocol in place now that he claimed has yet to fail. However, he made clear, it owes its success to routine monitoring under normal circumstances, and real-time monitoring and intervention—immediate battery replacement—in situations such as power interruptions. 

Monthly Testing Is Critical

Flaherty said emergency lights are checked every day, even when electric lighting is fully operational. “If one doesn’t light up, it is changed immediately. We don’t let anything linger.” Room locks, which run on four AA batteries, he said, are typically monitored and changed when necessary by housekeeping and maintenance staff.  “A flashing light when the key is inserted indicates that the battery needs changing within the week.”

The Georgian Terrace Hotel’s measures, described by Banks, “ensure devices are always charged and operational.” They include monthly testing of emergency lighting, scheduled battery replacements, and staff training on the importance of battery management, and the use of a CMMS system for the chain of responsibility. In addition, he said, bulk recharging stations are often used for their two-way radios to ensure they are readily available. 

Tracking Usage And Managing Inventory

Both sources stressed the importance of maintaining the battery inventory with a method that tracks usage and reordering. This, said Banks, “ensures we always have enough and can respond promptly to any replacement needs.” Flaherty also mentioned the importance of differentiating the batteries, for example by labelling each (e.g., EL for emergency lighting). 

As Banks put it, “Failure of battery-operated equipment can lead to safety risks of inoperable equipment, inconvenience for guests, and security issues. Our goal is to prevent such occurrences through diligent maintenance and battery management.”

Sponsored by Procell, the professional brand of the Duracell company.

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