It seems that nasty weather is becoming more the new normal these days. Unusual hurricanes, snow storms, floods that cut off whole towns are increasing in number and ferociousness. From lights in your home to powering hungry electronics it is very difficult to do anything without power these days. Power blackouts can have very serious economic consequences for homes but even more so for a business unless the home or business has a backup power source.
When considering your home survival plan of a supply of food and water, you may want to think about adding a solar-powered backup generator to the list of “must haves”. Solar generators are better than fossil fuel generators because, we they require no fossil fuel. No need to store flammable gasoline in the garage which only serves to contribute to the volatility of the natural disaster. A solar-powered generator can give you the wattage you need to get through the event and keep the lights on in the home.
Portable solar powered generators often times have misleading claims of “4,000 watts of power”. Many times those claims of power are the surge capacity of the inverter and not the battery or solar panel capacity. A solar generators surge capacity is just that, for about 3 to 5 seconds the inverter will allow a draw of up to 4,000 watts to be drawn off the inverter before it tapers down to varying degrees of consistent power. Most small solar generators will not have enough power to run big appliances like your home central air conditioner. That is not to say that a solar-powered generator cannot run your AC unit, it’s just a question of do you want it to. How much power you are going to require at a minimum is usually a function of your budget.
Usually the best way to determine how much power you need is to start with a budget. From their list the critical load equipment then how long you need it to run. Volts x amps = watts is a good place to start. You will be amazed as to how fast energy hungry appliances and gadgets can eat up power which is not cheap.
Watts: What Powers What
Here’s a list of household items that can make blackouts more bearable, along with their typical running watts. Once you know the items you want to power total their running watts and choose an emergency solar generator and battery backup with a rated wattage at least equal to that total. Manufacturers also suggest totaling the higher, surge watts that refrigerators and other motorized appliances draw when you first turn them on.
Device Running watts required
Central air conditioner 5,000
Clothes dryer (electric) 4,800
Furnace fan 500
Garage-door opener 600
Hair dryer 1,200
Lights (5) 400
Portable heater 1,300
Range (electric, 3 elements) 4,500
Sump pump 600
Washing machine 400
Water heater 3,000
Well pump 400
Window air conditioner 1,000
Choosing the right size solar generator products is a serious decision. Consult a solar professional before you buy.
Contributing Source Consumer Reports