Okay, so you are thinking of getting a Power Inverter for your home? Let these tips guide you in your decision.
- The capacity of the inverter to buy will, first, be determined by the load you intend to put on it. Sum up the power consumption (Wattage) of the appliances you intend to power with the inverter. You may find these information at the back of the appliance. Make provision for an additional 10% of your final figure.
- Inverters are best charged by power from the grid (NEPA/PHCN). When charged from the grid, the charge on the battery tends to last longer.
- Solar Panels are an optional add on to inverter systems. With this, you can (most) effectively charge your batteries, possibly disregarding PHCN. They are very expensive and not very popular in homes in Nigeria.
- To charge the inverter effectively with your petrol or diesel generators, the capacity of your generator should be about 2.5 times that of your inverter.
- A 1.5 KVA (approximately 1.2KW) inverter is recommended for most (young) families in Nigeria. Individuals living alone may even make do with 0.85KVA inverters. If money is not a problem and you have the power generator to effectively charge the inverter, sure, you may go for a higher capacity inverter. For me, investment in additional batteries may be a more practical idea.
- Power consumption of popular appliances are listed below. Please note that it is just a guide.
- 42″ Plasma TV – 300W. 42″ LCD & LED TVs consume less than 200W. Smaller screen TVs consume even less.
- Standing Fans @ 100W each
- 15.4″ Laptops @ 75W each
- Energy Bulbs @ 15W each (You must change to Energy Bulbs)
- Phones (Charging) – 5W (or less)
- Tablets (Charging) – 10W (or less)
- DSTV Decoders (GoTV, Satellite) – (18W – 30W)
- Linksys E1200 Router – 6W
- Internet Modem (Cobranet) – 15W
- *** Medium sized Refrigerator / Freezer – 1KW (Not Recommended)
- Expectedly, how long the inverter lasts before charging depends on how much load you put on it at anytime. Trying not to exceed 50% capacity at all times should be a guide.
Use this formula as a rough guide;
Number of Hours=
12V * Battery Capacity * Number of Batteries
Total Load On Inverter
So for a 1.5 KVA inverter using 2 200AH batteries with 500W load on it;
Number of Hours=
12 * 200 * 2
= 9.6 (Expect it to last for 9.6 hours)
**** I am assuming battery is at maximum capacity
- Indian manufacturers have taken a big chunk of the inverter market in Nigeria and their products are well above average quality. American products are considered the best but the pricing is above the reach of many. Stay away from Chinese products.
- Preferably, buy directly from the company to ensure you are getting good products – just in case. They also deliver to your home (free) and do the installation (paid).
- Except you trust the competence of that technician, i will suggest you do not patronize locally made products.
- Be paranoid about your batteries, they are usually the weakest link.
- The capacity of your battery bank is as strong as the weakest battery.
- A 0.85KA Inverter system comprises of an Inverter (about N30,000) and a single battery. Insist on a 200AH battery (N50,000.00). Set an additional N20,000.00 aside for installation and accessories.
- A 1.5 KVA Inverter system comprises of an Inverter (about N50,000) and 2 batteries (minimum). Again, insist on only 200AH battery (N50,000.00 each). Set an additional N20,000.00 aside for installation and accessories.
- Charging your inverters with generators only over a period of time may permanently reduce the efficiency of the batteries.
- You will easily get a warranty of 1 year on your inverter and 6 months on the battery. If well used and protected, you will use them continuosly for at least 2 years before you notice a reduction in its efficiency.
- Don’t let your batteries beep to death. Once it starts beeping – signifying low battery – switch it off! Your batteries will thank you.
- American spec inverter systems are expected to last much longer than 2 years.
- Lastly, and very importantly, consult with the company you are making the purchase from on the right way to use their product. Relying on the advice of friends, technicians or even me (!) is not the best. Chances are that you will get different suggestions from every single person you meet.
Just my 2 cents worth. Experience gathered from 6 years of using Inverters in Nigeria.