Here and there power outs are very frequent in India, but thanks to inverters our lives haven’t come to halt. However, there are some individuals that wonder, does an inverter consume electricity units? Or how efficient are inverters in general?
Well… if that’s where your questions revolve then read along to find out more about inverters and their efficiency.
How Many Units of Electricity is Consumed by Inverter
Okay, so a simple basic function of an inverter is to convert Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC). Yes, we all know that right? However, it is interesting to note here that an inverter does not provide energy back up on its own.
Wait, what? Yeah, you will be surprised to know that most people consider alone inverter to be a UPS or otherwise known as Uninterruptible Power Supply. In any case, the truth couldn’t possibly be far away.
An inverter is a part of UPS which consists of three things, namely a charger, battery, and an inverter. These three appliances altogether are responsible for power back-up during power outs. Now, most individuals consider this UPS as an inverter, which is just half true.
With that being said, we will also consider this UPS as an inverter throughout the article for better understanding ( as the majority always wins). So the charger provides the main power supply to the battery, where the battery charges and stores that energy for later use.
However, the energy that is stored in the battery is in the form of DC, but the appliances that run in our homes or offices are in the form of AC. So we will need something that converts it, and you guessed it correctly, that’s exactly what an inverter does.
Thus, inverters sole job is to convert current into AC and the battery is what provides the stored energy during power cuts.
With that figured out, let’s move towards more pertinent questions.
Energy Efficiency of Inverters
When it comes to the efficiency we generally relate it to the size of the inverters. The bigger the better, correct? But this is not always true. You see the efficiency of an inverter is altered by the amount of output load. Also, we need to figure out the percentage of power that the inverter gets from the battery and comes out in the form of alternating current.
Let’s understand this in more detail with an example. Suppose, you have a 2000 watts inverter, and for the inverter to start, it uses 25 watts without anything connected to the output. This 25 watts is the power to kick-start the inverter, it could small circuits, fans, battery, and so forth.
Now, if we connect a small load in the output—say 25 watts… then the total load on the battery is 50 watts, one is from the inverter 25 watts and the other is from the device you’ve connected. So the efficiency of the inverter of 2000 watt will be near 50 to 60%, as the total load is 50 watts and the output is only 25 watts.
For the same hypothetical situation, if you just changed the inverter from 2000 watt to 200 watts. In this case, the small inverter starts with 5 watts without any sort of load on the battery. Once again if you connect the same device of 25 watts, this time you will get a total load of 30 watts on the battery.
But this time, the efficiency of the inverter will be around 90% to 95%, as the total load is 30 watts and the output is 25 watts.
Therefore, the size of the inverter does matter, so keep in mind about that and compare it with your load requirements.
Remember we mentioned something about the kickstart – the power that usually is needed by the inverter to start. Well, actually, in reality, it is a type of power loss, this might seem ambiguous but no inverter can be 100% efficient, thus there will always be some energy that is squandered around.
This energy loss takes place within the inverter and it can at a point be considered as a sort of energy that the inverter needs to start. Anyways, mostly the inverters are 85 to 95% efficient and with the help of the above-mentioned example, it is clear that the inverter efficiency depends on the size as well as the load you are connecting.
It is always advisable to opt for pure sine wave inverters if you seek efficiency above all, and in general, they are the best type of inverters albeit the high-cost.
Acclimatizing with the Terms
There are many terms that are related to inverters and of course, not all of us are aware or used to with those terms. Thus here are some that you will find mostly whenever something about inverters is mentioned.
Watt or W is the measurement of the amount of power that a particular device uses or supplies when connected. Watt is calculated by multiplying Ampere or Amps (A) to Voltage (V). So if your device takes 20 Amps at 12 Volts, then the watt (W) will be 20 A * 12 V = 240 W. Thus the device consumes 240 watts.
Amps (A) or Ampere measure the current—electrical current at the moment. They help to measure the size of the wire used for connecting the battery with the inverter.
Ampere Hour or Ah is generally Ampere multiplied by time. This you will find in the capacity of the battery which generally provides the back-up time.
Volt Ampere or VA refers to the max load capacity of the inverter. The most commonly available inverters are 500VA, 800VA, 1000VA, and so forth.
Watt Hour (WH) or otherwise known as KiloWatt Hour (kWh) determines the hours the device have run and consumed watt. So for example, if a device of 100 watts runs for 10 hours then it is 1000 WH or 1 kWh.
How Many Units Does an Inverter Consume?
Now we know that an inverter basically converts the direct current into alternating current and besides that, it also has some sort of energy loss. However, the inverter is not responsible for directly consuming energy, it just converts it. Thus, at a point, we can consider that the inverter does not consume any unit.
What is a unit? A unit is used on the electricity bills, right? Yes, it actually represents the amount of electricity used. Unit is represented in Kilowatt-hour (kWh), thus 1 unit = 1 kWh. So to understand how much unit any device consumes, all you have to do is to figure out the watt, once you have how many watts the appliance consumes. The next thing is to gauge how many hours you will operate that device.
After you have everything, the simple formula to calculate daily unit consumption is to multiply watts by hours the device is used and divide it with 1000.
Daily unit = watts * hours/1000
For monthly units, simply multiply the units by the numbers of days in the month i.e 28,30,31.
Monthly unit = units * 30
So the above calculator will give you a unit of most of the appliances, but in the case of inverters, you will have to consider the energy loss. For instance, your household load is 1kVA and the inverter you are using is 80 to 85% efficient, then the energy loss will be 150VA and if you run this inverter… say for 10 hours – then approximately 1.5 units will be lost.
Thus, the inverter does not consume units of electricity, instead, they are lost depending upon the efficiency of the inverter.
Inverters are a great way to keep your busy lifestyle with electrical appliances running smoothly without any type of hindrance. With that being said, inverters do face some energy loss which is inevitable. Thus looking for inverters from better manufacture may reduce the amount of energy loss.
Speaking of which make sure to choose pure sine wave inverters because they are high-efficient and reliable. But the energy loss cannot be removed from the equation however it can be reduced so there’s that.