Making sense of inverter backup systems

Posted by Afam Nnaji | 6 years ago | 2,808 times

Concerning using inverter backup systems at home or in the office please keep the following in mind

1. Inverter backup systems are not replacements but backup to your primary source of electricity

2. Reducing your total energy requirement will help reduce the tota cost of the system and increase the backup time

3. Focusing on things like lighting points, electronics and cooling fans will give you the most cost effective solution

4. It is cheaper for you to reduce your energy requirement by replacing some of your electrical and/or electronic appliances like electric bulbs and fans than for you to get an inverter backup system that will support the current energy hungry appliances you have today

5. Do not think of mixing batteries or doubling the number of batteries you use by having them connected in parallel and expect the battery bank to give you 2 times the autonomy. In fact, you will regret doing just that.

So, a proper energy efficiency program is strongly recommended before getting an inverter backup system for your home or office.

Inverters can power air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, boilers etc apart from the regular loads like electronics, electric bulbs and fans whether standing fans or ceiling fans but with the heavy loads you get to spend more and in most cases the cost won't make any economic sense so it is better for you to keep these heavy loads out of the equation.

The only exception is the refrigerator that is necessary in most homes but once you add a refrigerator or a freezer into the equation you should be looking at 3.5kva 48vdc inverter (requires at least 4 nos 12v deep cycle batteries).

But again, if your power situation is not that bad why include the freezer or refrigerator when it could keep the contents refrigerated for 1 or 2 days? Why draw energy from the battery bank when the refrigerator or freezer can do without it considering the fact that the compressor will draw far more power on starting than the normal operating power from time to time as it starts and stops?

Manual vs automatic

A manual inverter works like a regular generator in your home that requires you to manually put it on and then you go to the change over switch to switch from one source of power to the other.

An automatic inverter once deployed works like a typical UPS and as such it does not require any human intervention for it to switch from one source of power to another.

However, there is an ON/OFF switch that you can toggle OFF when you don't want the inveter to power any loads when regular power supply fails for example when no one is at home or in the office.

The automatic inverter is far more convenient to use though costs more than a manual inverter.

Consider sleeping at night and having to choose between getting up each time power fails to switch on the inverter and getting up again when power is restored to switch off the inverter and then sleeping while the inverter changes from one power source to the other without any human intervention whatsoever.

NB: I needed to do this short piece just to address some of the common questions I have been asked by people on phone since posting the article "The current exchange rate good for Nigerians that are into local production" that talked about inverters and the fact that 2016 will make it 11 years I have not touched a generator in my office.

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