For South Africans load shedding has become something to factor into our daily lives at home and work. Eskom has warned that load shedding will be a reality for the foreseeable future as it simply does not have enough generating capacity to meet electricity demand.
As if power outages aren’t enough of a worry, they bring with them a host of attending problems: spikes, surges and dips as a result of the unstable supply of electricity. Modern-day appliances and electronic devices are extremely sensitive to these and could short-circuit, malfunction or even be destroyed. Extra-sensitive electronic equipment – computers, TVs, decoders – is especially vulnerable, with power problems the leading cause of data loss.
Over and above the increased risk of damage to electrical devices, power outages could mean that your home or premises may not be protected should your alarm system or your electric fence not work.
Most household contents policies cover damage to electrical equipment and appliances as a result of lightning strikes, but other causes of power surges may not be covered, so check your individual policy. Also, if your alarm system and back-up batteries stop working as a result of load shedding, your insurance company could claim it is a condition of the policy that the alarm is operational, and therefore reject your claim.
You could get a generator (one that complies with your municipality’s by-laws), but there is an alternative that is less noisy and switches on automatically: an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This is basically a bank of batteries that is wired so that you have a seamless transition in the event of a power failure. An inverter converts the DC battery voltage into the AC voltage needed to run appliances and lights.
South Africa’s standard 220-volt electric power is a pure sine wave and so Amlec’ s UPS systems are true sine wave as well, as opposed to the cheaper modified sine wave commonly used.
The advantages of a pure sine wave UPS:
• automatic switchover in the event of a power failure
• the output voltage waveform is identical to the mains supply, which means motors run correctly, quietly and without overheating
• prevents computer crashes and subsequent data loss
• no noise
• no fumes and much friendlier to the environment than a generator
• protected against overload
• certain designs are ready for add-ons including solar power and/or generator should the need arise
• automatically recharges batteries when power is restored
• in extreme emergencies, your car can recharge the batteries
There are limits to the system, of course. Typically, a unit will be good for 4 to 8 hours depending on how many appliances you have running. Also, unless you opt for a very large system, you won’t be able to use your stove or geyser as heating (and cooling) devices draw a lot of power.
So what size UPS do I need?
That would depend on what appliances you want to keep running.
1 large TV: 200 – 300 watts
1 computer: 100 – 400 watts
1 fridge 300 – 400 watts
a few lights: 100 – 300 watts
This gives an electric load of 800 – 1 400 watts. The 1 400 watt home UPS unit coupled to 2 x 100 AH batteries would allow you to run all of the above at the same time for 2,5 hours to 5 hours, depending on the size of the load. Having less electrical equipment on the line will obviously get you more back-up time.
Contact us and we’ll do a load test and then propose an energy-sufficient solution tailor-made for your needs.
Phone +27 33 342 9966
Phone +27 21 552 5308
Don’t become a statistic!
If you take load shedding to be an average 10 hours of blackout for 20 days a month, then
• Stage 1 load shedding costs SA’s economy an estimated R20-billion per month
• Stage 2 load shedding: R40-billion
• Stage 3 load shedding: costs R80-billion