A wide range of natural disasters can cause long-term power outages. Tornadoes, lightning, flooding, hurricanes, blizzards, and ice storms can knock out power for hours or days. Overloaded transformer or car colliding into a utility pole can also cause power outage to the entire neighborhood for a day or two.
We all rely on electricity, so a few minutes of power interruption will cause inconvenience. However, when a power outage lasts for more than an hour, this can cause more severe issues that can be dangerous. These can be avoided if you have an emergency power system like this DIY solar generator.
In this post, we’ll look at a few alternatives and talk about how to connect them into your home so you never have to worry about a power outage again.
Emergency Power Alternatives and Objectives
During a major power emergency and you need to generate 120-volt power, you have three alternatives:
- First, you can purchase a generator powered by an engine that runs on propane, gasoline, or diesel.
- Second, you can buy an inverter and power it using your car battery or a deep-cycle battery you purchased specifically for the inverter.
- Thirdly, you can make your own DIY solar-powered generator.
To determine which option is ideal for you, you must first decide on your objectives during a power outage. There are at least four ways to think about emergency power:
- If your objective is to provide power to your emergency radio, cellphone and fan, a small generator or inverter will be enough.
- But if you need to get some work done and need your computer, lights, and a microwave oven, a small 1000-watt generator is enough to power them.
- If your main goal is to keep the freezer or refrigerator running, along with the small appliances, you need a 2500 to 3500-watt generator.
- You need a 5000-watt generator if you want to power your water heater and well pump, a room air conditioner, and other essential appliances during a power outage.
Ensure that you use your backup generator correctly.
Deciding Between a Generator and an Inverter
An engine-powered generator is a simple solution to provide emergency power to your home. They are reasonably priced, consume only about a gallon of gas every two hours or so provide clean and 120- or 240-volt sine-wave power. You can also buy generators that run on propane or diesel.
Engine-powered generators have the following drawbacks:
- Storage of fuel
- Produces annoying noise
- Upkeep of engines
It is not good to store the fuel for more than a month unless you use a fuel stabilizing agent, and even then, the shelf-life is limited. Therefore, to avoid difficulties, you should rotate your inventory regularly.
An inverter is a piece of electrical equipment that converts 12 volts to 120 volts. Typically, an inverter is powered by your car’s battery or a deep-cycle battery purchased particularly to power the inverter. If your power requirements are less than 200 watts, an inverter is a simple and economical solution.
If you are ready to create a more complex system, inverters can be a good alternative up to 2,500 watts. However, they can be pricey at that point (a 2,500-watt inverter may cost $600 to $1,000, plus several deep-cycle batteries and a charging system). Inverters have two primary benefits:
- They operate quietly.
- They require no maintenance.
When choosing an emergency power system, you need to consider several factors. One might have the benefits that others don’t have, but it cannot provide enough green energy you need to power your equipment and appliances. For example, an engine-powered generator may produce an annoying sound, but it can power your air condition unit that the inverter cannot provide. So, make sure to keep these things in mind before deciding.