It is hard to imagine a world or even our single day without electricity, be it the air conditioner that makes those harsh summers comfortable or the toaster that provides a warm bread. Indeed, electricity is the major development playing a crucial role in making our lives comfortable.
Nonetheless, with the expanding technology and new devices introducing, consumption is also increasing. With this, increasing demand for current power outs is acting as a killjoy. But once again technology saves the day with inverters.
That will make sure to glow the lights, maintain comfort during the summers, and provide you with the stored ice creams even without electricity.
So an inverter will for sure come in handy especially if you are living in an area that is prone to power cuts. Inverters keep the electronic devices running smoothly regardless of the electricity.
What are Inverters?
An Inverter or now & again alluded to as Power Inverter is a fundamental electronic gadget that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The alternating current frequency depends on the device that is connected to the inverter.
An inverter is actually a sort of power conversion circuit that controls the voltage, current, and resistance in electrical devices such as laptops, televisions, air conditioners, and so forth. The circuit manages the devices compressors so that the right amount of voltage is supplied for the device to work.
While the world has been moving up to all the more impressive and delicate gadgets, the inverters remain the same just like the power supply. Inverters make sure that neither less nor high voltage from the supply damage the gadgets that are connected to it.
Inverters are the opposite of converters—which were large electromagnetic devices that used to convert alternating current to direct current. Thus the term invert makes sense according to this logic.
Usually, the input voltage (DC voltage) is lower whilst the AC output is on a similar level to the supply voltage that could be either 120 Volts (V) or 240 Volts. The inverter might be worked as independent gear for applications, for example, solar power, or as a backup supply from sorts of batteries that are charged independently.
The output, input voltage as well as the frequency and power handling mostly depend on the device or circuitry. It is interesting to note that the inverters do not produce any source of power they just convert it, the power is mostly provided by the source—which in this case is direct current.
So, in basic words, an inverter is a type of device or gadget that converts the power from DC to AC. Generally, batteries store energy as direct current, while the apparatuses that we need in our homes run on alternating current.
Thus, an inverter changes the stored energy which is in DC form to AC form whenever we need to power the house. Along these lines, if we face any power outs then this is an excellent device to rely on for power backups.
Practically speaking, the proficiency of an inverter is regularly more than 90%, however, basic physics reveals to us that some energy—no matter how small—is continuously being squandered at someplace else.
Basic Operation of a Home Inverter
As we all know an inverter converts the direct current in alternating current for our home needs as all of the appliances in our homes run on alternating current.
To understand how basically an inverter works you will have to get a little idea about direct current and alternating current—don’t worry we are not here to teach physics, it’s just to top you off with some extra knowledge that will help you in selecting the best inverter for your home.
- Direct Current:- Think of direct current as somewhat like a line of ants that carries leaves, except in this case, the electrons are marching with parcels of electrical energy in a straight line.So the direct current delivers power in a systematically uninterrupted way. Like going in a straight line or in the same direction.
- Alternating Current:- Alternating current, on the other hand, delivers the power in a back & forth fashion, like when you are ironing your clothes. The supplied electricity in our home is in the form of alternating current that is switching the direction at a frequency or recurrence of 60 to 70 hertz (Hz).So think of alternating current as something that runs on the spot—back & forth.
In simple words, the difference between alternating current and direct current can be understood with this analogy, let’s assume that you need to sweep a room. Direct current is like sweeping from one side to the next in an orderly fashion.
Alternating current resembles going back & forth on the spot, which a few of us do when we sweep. Both of these methodologies take care of work though in an insignificantly extraordinary manner.
Now coming back to the point, the work of inverters and it is fairly straightforward to understand it. Envision you have a battery in an electric lamp and the switch is closed so the DC can stream around the circuit in a straight direction or the same direction.
If you take out the battery from the electric lamp and turn it around in a way that it fits, then what will happen? For this situation, it will even now control the electric light—yet the progression of the flow will be changed and it will be in a contrary manner.
An inverter is deft enough to do this for 60 to 70 times a second, which means that it converts the direct current into alternating current at a frequency of 60 to 70 Hz.
So How Exactly an Inverter Works?
In basic explanation, imagine a switch that is connected to a DC source. When you tap the switch the electricity flows in the same direction and when you switch it off, it goes back. Thus, turning your current on and off, quickly, would produce some pulses of direct current, which will do a large portion of the work—that is to convert it in AC.
For a proper alternating current, you will need a type of switch that will reverse the flow of the current completely. Picture yourself tapping the switch to and fro over 50 times a second, well that’s some slick skill you’ll need.
Jokes apart, basically, an inverter changes the flow of direct current and converts it into an alternating current at a massive speed.
Besides that, inverters also charge and store energy when there is electricity. So when you face a power outage these inverters provide electricity as a backup.
Advantages of Using a Home Inverter
Whether you are at your workplace or home, you can never run out of power. Some electronic devices have become a necessary part of our lives and we cannot imagine a second without them. As such, inverters ensure a smooth and simple approach to make your life easier and simple.
Inverters are becoming a top priority in today’s world. Prior there were generators that were gigantic in size, however not much of a use when talking about home-usage. Inverters can be considered as sort of generators yet at little size and cost. Generators are way costlier than inverters. There are numerous advantages of using an inverter and the superb one is that it supplies power when there is no electricity.
Since inverters store energy and then provide it as of when we need it, they are really helpful when you are out of electricity or are living in an area with frequent power outages that makes your life miserable.
Another benefit of an inverter is, they keep your devices away from getting damaged due to sudden power outs. This is more applicable to areas that are prone to severe blackouts.
Types of Inverters
Inverters are sorts of daily appliances these days, especially in regions of frequent power cuts. They ensure that the work and life both are running smoothly, albeit the problems that come with power outs. So there are different types of inverters out there in the Indian market and they offer different purposes depending on the usage as well as the equipment of the user.
Sine Wave Inverters
A sine wave or also referred to as Pure Sine Wave inverters are the most common and popular type of inverter out there. They help to produce an output that anyone would expect from the normal wall socket. This inverter supplies current perfectly and reliably and the output is in a sine waveform.
And as most of the home appliances are designed to work on this type of form, this inverter is undoubtedly the best one for home uses. If you happen to use sensitive yet high-powered electric devices such as air conditioners, refrigerators, computers, washing machines, televisions, and so on, then this type of inverter will work wonders for you.
Sine wave inverters are ideal for home usage as they are energy efficient and do not consume more power. They are a great alternative for someone who is looking to run multiple devices as they can adjust the voltage as per the requirements.
They are costlier than most of the inverters, however, they also provide the quality and durability that speaks for the price.
Modified Sine Wave Inverters
These types of inverters are mostly used to operate small electronic devices such as microwave ovens, bulbs, and so forth. They do not offer a smooth current supply like that of pure sine wave inverters. These inverters may take some moment while transitioning the supply and phases. Even though they do work with multiple devices, it is best not to use them as they might decrease the efficiency of the connected device.
Modified sine wave inverters cannot be used to operate those electronic devices that have a speed control motor. With that being said, they also do not shell out a ton of money as sine wave inverters do.
Square Wave Inverters
Square wave inverters or also known as Home UPS generates square-shaped waveforms. They are great to be used with modest devices and are strong as well as long-lasting. Not to mention affordable too. Having said that, these inverters are kinda less efficient than the ones that we’ve mentioned. Moreover, they are a bit noisy, so if you happen to purchase this type, then that’s a trade-off you will have to live with.
As the name suggests, these inverters are efficient in energy and utilize the sunlight as the main power source. The inverters store the solar energy during the day and then use it whenever needed. These inverters are cost-effective and consume less power, and on the top of all, they are environment friendly.
Power Consumption of Devices
Before we get into the details of selecting the best inverter for your home usage, it is crucial to get acclimatized with the power consumption of certain devices that most of us use in our day to day lives.
How does this have to do anything with an inverter, you may ask? It is important because the basic step before purchasing an inverter is to calculate the power consumption of your house, which we will discuss in a bit.
Now, the table below shows the general range of power that most of the devices use. You can consider it as your average or threshold value to calculate your power consumption according to your usage and needs.
|Device||Power (In wattage)|
|Computer and Printers||200|
|Tube Light||20 to 40|
|Refrigerators||300 to 500|
|Microwave Oven||1200 to 1400|
|Washing Machine||800 to 1000|
|Heaters||2000 to 2200|
|Mixers||500 to 800|
|Air Conditioners||1000 to 2200|
|Television||50 to 300|
|Water Pumps||400 to 800|
These values will give you a general idea when you are calculating the power consumption of your house or the devices that will be connected to the inverter. So that you get the idea of how much back-up you will require from the inverter.
How to Select the Right Inverter for your Home
With so many inverters out there in the market selecting the right one that suits your need could be—a hard task. If you want a new inverter for your house or probably upgrade the old one, it is significant that you understand how to pick the correct inverter, especially considering the given range of choices.
That said, you will also have to do some background research to find the one the suits best for your needs and devices.
Calculating the Power Requirements
The first and foremost step to find, the one we mentioned before, is to calculate the power consumption in watts (W). This helps you to find the inverter that is perfect for your needs. The main reason for this is since inverters are precise devices, they can easily get damaged if overloaded, thus determining the overall watts that your appliances will use, is an imperative part.
For this, we will consider a hypothetical situation that will go throughout the buying guide. Let’s say you run 4 ceiling fans, 5 light bulbs, and 2 televisions at the same time. To find out the power consumption, we’ll have to refer to the table.
- Ceiling Fan – 80 W
- Light Bulb – 60 W
- Television – 50 W
We have individual information that we need to do the math. Now, it can be a bit time consuming to do the math, so we took the liberty of doing it for you. How we did it is here,
- 4 * 80 W = 320 W
- 5 * 60 W = 300 W
- 2 * 50 W = 100 W
- 320 + 300 + 100 = 720 W
For our hypothetical situation, the average power consumption of our devices is 720 watts. Perfect, now we can move on to the next step.
Volt Ampere Rating
This is another important step to consider while looking for inverters, volt-ampere rating or otherwise known as VA rating. Generally, VA rating represents the current and voltage that is supplied by the inverter. Mostly, in ideal conditions, most of the power consumption should be the same as the limit of the inverter.
VA ratings can also be referred to as the capacity of the inverter which generally represents the maximum amount of voltage as well as the current the inverter can provide without any problem. That said, the power supply is not always efficient and so an efficacy ration is used to determine the energy required to power the appliances by the inverter.
This ration is called Power Factor and has a standard value of 0.8. So to determine the capacity of an inverter all you have to do is, to divide the total energy consumption by 0.8. But do remember the value you’ll get will be in VA and not in watt.
- For our theoretical case, this will be as follows.
- Capacity of the inverter = 720/0.8 = 900 VA
- So an inverter of 900 VA would be perfect for our hypothetical situation.
The battery is another crucial thing to look for when talking about inverters. It is the battery that will decide the power and how long will your invert last. So it is important to get intimate with the batteries. Generally, batteries are measured in ampere-hour or Ah.
To understand how much capacity of batter you will need, the first thing you will have to do is to figure out the time period that you intend to run the inverter for. Let’s assume once again in our theoretical situation, you plan to run the inverter for 4 hours.
Thus, for battery capacity, you’ll have to multiply the time you need to run the invert with the inverter capacity.
So for our case, it would be as follows
- 900 * 4 = 3600 VAh
- Considering that a basic inverter has a battery capacity of 12 V (volts), then dividing it would give us,
- 3600/12 = 300 Ah
This will be the battery size for our case and in the event that the exact size is not available you can opt for a battery with the nearest high size.
Speaking of which, when looking for batteries it is best to get acquainted with the type of batteries. There are three kinds of batteries out there in the market and they are Lead-Acid, Sealed Batteries, and Tubular Batteries. The features are different and so are the lifespan, quality, cost, and efficiency. So select the one that suits you best.
- Lead-Acid:- The most popular and common type of battery that comes in an inverter is the lead-acid. They are rechargeable and provide the necessary amount of current required. Not to mention, they are also lightweight as well as can last for around 2 to 5 years. However, they do require some frequent maintenance, topping electrolyte levels, and checks, but they don’t burn a hole in your pocket.
- Sealed Batteries:- These batteries are also known as maintenance-free batteries and as the term suggests they don’t require any maintenance so that’s a plus, but they are kinda costlier than the normal lead-acid.
- Tubular:- Another popular battery that is mostly used in inverters and can work efficiently for over 9 years. Unfortunately, the only snag is that they are on the costlier side. Rest assured, the quality speaks for itself and they have low maintenance as well as are more efficient.
Hefty appliances like refrigerators, heaters, fridges, air conditioners, etc do not care about the shape of the energy and instead need lots of power. As they have compressors that require a colossal amount of current to start, you will need to look for an inverter that has a high capacity or VA rating. Or you can opt for the ones that are specifically devoted to compressors.
Please note, that these hefty appliances only need high-amounts of current to start, once they are running, the levels of currents are stabilized to normal levels.
Investing in something that costs you, your hard money without a warranty is not a smart thought. Inverters like Pure Sine Wave are really costly so it is better not to risk on something that doesn’t assure you. So choose those inverters that offer strong warranties that will act as a back-up for you as well as your electricity.
Before You Purchase an Inverter
Now that you have all the necessary pieces of information to purchase the right inverter for yourself, there are some precautions and actions that you will need to take care of from your side as well.
Make sure to check the wiring of your house before buying an inverter. Mostly, some people keep dedicated wiring for selected appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, and so on. This way these appliances are only connected to the inverter. So if you want to do the same consult a technician before you make a purchase.
Another crucial factor to ensure is the earthing facility in your home. This is important as it will reduce the chances of electrocution and short circuits. So check the earthing of your house and improve or change it if needed.
Where you will place the inverter is also an important thing to consider before purchasing an inverter. Ensure that the inverter is away from wet, flammable, and heat materials as well as away from the reach of children. Keep the inverter in a dry and cool place, also do not touch it with wet hands.
For the better lifespan of your inverter, it is best to regularly check the water levels and refill if required. Keep cleaning the inverter with a dry cloth to forestall the formation of dust. If you manage to do it frequently then your inverter will last longer than you would expect.
After Purchasing the Inverter
For a long-lasting quality inverter not only do you need the best inverter but also some efforts from your end as well. Thus, for better and optimal functioning of the inverter make sure to.
Overheating or also known as Overloading generally occurs when multiple devices are connected to the inverter constantly. Don’t connect the devices that do not require the connection of the inverter, at the same time try to reduce connecting those hefty appliances. If you still want to connect them, then turn off the others for the while they are in use.
For better battery life, you will have to maintain the battery which involves changing the water, discharging it, and cleaning it. Keep a schedule to clean and maintain the battery for a long-lasting lifespan.
An inverter is probably the best invention during the development of modern times. They are great for keeping the power stored for immediate uses, when you are running out of power, for example. With that being said, inverters are a long-time investment so taking care of them is your responsibility.
We hope that our guide helped you with selecting the best inverter for your home or the very least pointed you out in the right direction before you are settling on one inverter.
Just a friendly reminder for selecting the right inverter. Make sure to understand the load requirement a.k.a your power consumption and the type of inverter that is the sine wave or modified one.
You can always come back to your guide, at any time you are confused and with that said, we’ll take our leave!