Generators vs Inverters
So much information and disinformation abounds on all manner of technologies – often driven by those with vested interests one way or the other.
We have been installing both generators and inverters over the past years and would like to offer the following insights.
Generators certainly have their place – especially where power outages of extended periods – possibly days – are anticipated. The greatest advantage of the generator is that, as long as you can feed it diesel or petrol, it will deliver power.
A few things are problematic with this
Some generators are not designed for 24/7 operation (some common units we install specify a max run time of 8 hours)
Ensuring fuel and refueling is a pain something we find ladies (and most men) are not keen to do
The main draw backs of generators remain obvious:
- Pollution – diesel fumes are enjoyed by very few people
- Noise – even “silent” generators are invasive and vibrate the suburb
- Cost – fuel and maintenance cost money
- Switch over can take some minutes and can make for poor power quality if not correctly performed
Inverters with batteries present a power backup system that removes most of the inconveniences above. The systems are quiet and clean and require little running cost.
One of the greatest advantages of the inverter backup system is that you may not even know that the power has gone off – this is the bit I enjoy while watching a movie at night only to realise that all around outside is very dark!
There are some draw backs to the inverter systems, namely:
The backup period, determined by the load on the system & battery size, is finite so the load and batteries need to be carefully considered.
Because the inverter is wired inline with the power supply to the DB – ready for action – care needs to be taken not to overload the system even when Eskom power is being used.
While the system costs little to operate, batteries need replacing every few years (depending on technology used) still a lot cheaper than fuel and maintenance
For our load-shedding survival, anticipated when winter creeps back, my recommendation would be to look to inverter systems for a convenient and cost effective power security option. We can always add PV solar generation to the backup system to increase independence!
However – Please do not wait till winter is upon us and demand for systems is sky-high – treat yourself this Christmas to power security!
Next issue – Water Security! So topical right now – what we can do to ensure this the most precious of resources!