How to Choose Inverter and Battery for Home?

An inverter is a blessing for your home, especially if you stay at an area with frequent power cuts. Like any other products, inverters and their batteries also comes with a myriad of features and specifications. Now you may ask around your neighbors for some suggestion, but it’s always better to have the right information rather than buying what others have bought.

Before you end up spending money on inverter and battery, let’s have a look at the most crucial factors on how to choose inverter and battery for your home.

Check the VA Rating of the inverter

VA stands for volt ampere rating and it is an essential factor that tells how much appliances an inverter can handle during a power cut for a given time. Calculating your power requirement is the first thing to do while calculating the CA rating of the inverter.

Appliance  Power Consumption 
Light bulb  60 to 100 watt 
Ceiling fan  50 watt 
Laptop  75 Watt 
PC  150 Watt 
Television  120-150 Watt 
Refrigerator  Up to 400 Watt 

Let’s assume your daily power consumption is 500 watts. The next step is to determine the VA your requirement in your inverter. Now, remember, considering the efficiency of the inverter, you may expect some power loss. So the power supplied by the inverter must be more than the actual power required for your appliances.

If the inverter’s efficiency is 100 per cent, then the power required and power supplied remains the same. Most inverters run at 60 to 80 per cent efficiency, aka power factor.

How to calculate the VA rating?

Power supplied (VA Rating) = total power consumed by appliances/efficiency of the inverter.

If the power factor or efficiency is 0.8 (i.e. inverter’s efficiency is 80 per cent), and your total power consumption is 500 watts,

Then VA rating= 500/0.8= 625 VA

In this case, you may go for an inverter with more than 700 VA.

Calculate battery capacity

Now the next question is, how many hours of backup do you need?

To answer this question, you must check the inverter’s battery capacity. Battery backup capacity is expressed in Ah (ampere-hours).

While 150 Ah and 180 Ah batteries are quite common, you may not actually need them. There is no point in spending money on something that you will never utilize to its fullest.

How to calculate battery capacity for your inverter?

Battery capacity = Power requirement * backup up in hours / Battery voltage

Battery capacity = (500 *3)/12= 125 Ah

Note: Assuming you need to run 500 watts equipment for three hours with a battery voltage of 12 V.

A battery with 130 capacity is ideal for low to medium duration power cuts. If your power cuts exceed 3 hours, then you can go for a higher battery capacity.

Choose your inverter type

Generally, there are three types of inverters available in the market- pure sine wave, modified sine wave and square sine wave.

Before learning more, let’s discuss how the inverter works.

The power generated from the inverter’s battery is in the form of DC. The work of the inverter is to convert them quite similar to AC. It all depends on the inverter circuit to convert the DC to sine wave AC or square Wave AC.

Sine wave inverters generate the purest form of current closest to AC as compared to the Square wave. Devices running on square wave inverters often get heated quickly and produce a humming sound as well.

Pure sine wave inverters offer faster transfer times, making them ideal for electronic appliances like TVs, computers, laptops, etc. Sine wave technology is often associated with terminology like ‘Micro-controller Based’ or Digital Signal Processing.

Square sine wave inverters create more harmonic distortion, which may be harmful to sensitive appliances such as TV, PC, phones, etc. However, they can work well with non-sensitive appliances like lights, fans, etc.

Modified sine wave inverters are a bit better than square wave inverters. They are not as good as sine wave inverters, but they can be a decent and cheaper alternative.

Other essential qualities of square wave and sine wave inverters

Sine wave Square wave
It supports appliances like computers, microwave ovens, refrigerators, laptops, etc.  They are used to support motors only. 
The humming noise is normal  The humming noise is high 
It’s safe for your appliances  Risk for appliance’s damage is high 
It costs higher  It is economical 
Despite sine wave inverters coming on the expensive side, they are totally worth the investment. They are safer, long-lasting and adds longevity to your sensitive appliances.

Battery types

There are three types of batteries available in the market – Flat plate, tubular and sealed maintenance-free battery. Each battery comes with unique and efficient features that dictate its longevity, safety and cost of maintenance.

Flat plate battery

These are lead-acid batteries containing two electrodes, i.e., lead and sulfuric acid. They are lightweight and economical, making them one of the most used batteries as well. However, they carry a significant amount of safety and maintenance issues.

Salient features of flat plate batteries:

  • Cheaper
  • Low in weight
  • Require high maintenance
  • Releases harmful gases
  • Require ventilation
  • Up to 3 years battery life

Tubular battery

Tubular batteries are a smart and effective replacement for flat plate batteries. Apart from higher battery life, they offer higher battery capacity with lower maintenance. The only problem is they are expensive and require more storage space.

Salient features of Tubular batteries:

  • Offers around five years of battery life
  • Water topping requirement is minimal
  • Requires ventilation
  • Releases harmful gases but lesser compared to flat plate
  • Expensive

Sealed maintenance-free batteries

As the name suggests, sealed maintenance-free batteries don’t require regular maintenance. It comes with an advanced electrolyte that eliminates the demand for water toppings at regular intervals. Besides, the batteries don’t emit any harmful gases, so you can easily store them in a small space.

Salient features of sealed maintenance-free inverter batteries:

  • Offers around 3-4 years of battery life
  • Low maintenance
  • No water toppings
  • No release of harmful gases
  • Very safe to use
  • No ventilation required

Conclusion

Make sure to follow all the abovementioned points while choosing an inverter and battery. Above all, you should also focus on the warranty period/policies of the inverter. If it’s your first time, we recommend buying the inverter and battery from the same brand. It will negate any compatibility issues between the battery and the inverter.

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