So, what do you need to power up during load shedding or a power outage at your home? The short answer is whatever you want, within reason. Over the years we have seen that the most common reasons for needing backup power solutions during power outages are; keeping the lights on, watching TV and powering a fridge. Our thoughts, based on many years' experience as well as personal experience from our team, are discussed below.
You Don't Need to Power Your Fridges
Fridges stay cold enough during two hours of no power if used sparingly. If the power outage is going to be for a few days, then using back up power only delays the fridge switching off by as long as the back up time was specified for. In saying all that and condemning the use of backup power for fridges, if you have the budget, put your fridges on your backup system but realise that it will use up power and decrease your overall backup time.
The Proper Way to Power Emergency Lighting
Most people tell us that they have converted to LED downlights and they want them to run off the inverter. Great, but how do you plug all those lights into an inverter that uses plugs? The answer to that is you shouldn't and should rather call in an electrician and have him install a small sub distribution board that will be fed by the inverter. This distribution board will then feed backup power to the lights, the TV, the fridge, a charger-point for cell phones or tablets, wifi etc. Unfortunately, those on a budget will not consider doing it properly and try to make alternative plans, mostly not so safe plans, to make it work.
Costa shares his experience
In our household, when we originally decided to implement an inverter, we wanted to power up the TV, the decoders, a lamp and the wifi. Fortunately for us, all this equipment was located right next to each other on the TV stand.
The 2KVA inverter with 2 x 12V 102a/h batteries in a steel battery cabinet, stands next to the TV stand and all the equipment plugs directly into the inverter. Easy! No need for electrical reticulation and the lamp that consists of a 14W energy saver globe, sheds enough light to see what we are doing in the lounge and dining room area.
My wife has since bought a whole bunch of scented candles with dishes to stand them in and these are located with a lighter or two in the TV stand cabinet. For us, during load shedding at night, we can sit together and watch a movie before going to bed.
As my kids have grown older though, we have noted a distinct change in the requirements. Sitting together in the lounge as a family is not so cool anymore especially as we can all watch DSTV, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc on our tablets as long as the wifi is working.
If I had to do it again, I would purchase a 1KVA inverter with 1 x 12V 102a/h battery in a steel battery cabinet to power up the wifi router and the lamp. Again, at night, when the power fails, the lamps sheds enough light for my wife and I to light the scented candles and briefly meet in the lounge to make sure everyone is ok. Thereafter, the kids scoot to their rooms and watch / play on their tablets. The adults chat and catch up and then follow suit shortly thereafter.
What Do We Suggest?
To re-cap, as an entry level option, we would suggest using a 1KVA inverter with 1 x 12V 102a/h battery.
This means saying no to powering your fridge but keeping the WiFi, a lamp and some left over power to charge up some of your mobile devices.
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