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Load Shedding Survival Guide – Alternative Energy Solutions for Your Home & Office

Loadshedding has become a regular issue that all South Africans have to deal with and it seems like it is here to stay. It is an inconvenience that interrupts your daily activities and keeps you from being productive at work. The reality is you will have to find an alternative power source to charge your electronic devices and navigate your way around your home in the evenings. In this article, we will share just some tips on how you can stay safe during load shedding and some of the alternative energy solutions you can rely on when you are left in the dark.

Security Tips for Your Home and Office During Loadshedding

Loadshedding brings about major threats for your home and your office as most criminals tend to take advantage of the situation. Here are some security tips that you can follow during loadshedding.

  • You should ensure that all doors and windows are locked, this includes your vehicle as well. This will reduce the risk of a break in occurring.
  • Check to see if your batteries for your phone and other battery-operated appliances are fully charged. This applies to your alarm system which should have back up power that will last between six to twelve hours after a power outage.
  • You should have a back up lighting alternative, preferably one that is battery operated such as a torch. You can then switch it on when you have a power outage so you are never left in the dark.

UPS Systems

A UPS system or Uninterruptible Power Supply system is a device that provides a battery-powered back up when loadshedding occurs or when the power drops to an unacceptable low voltage level. Depending on the size, a UPS system can power a computer for a couple of minutes and larger systems for even several hours.

UPS systems are used to power servers or sensitive equipment as a battery backup until electrical generators kick in, to avoid losing data or progress.

What to look for in a UPS System?

The UPS system that would be suitable for you during loadshedding is a Standby UPS and it is the simplest and inexpensive version. When there is a power outage, the UPS will directly feed power from the wall to the power supply of your computer. When a power outage occurs, it is able to detect this and the UPS will start supplying power to the computer using its battery power.

What are the advantages of using a UPS System?

Some of the advantages of using a UPS system include:

  • Prevents data loss – When power outages occur, you run the risk of losing your data on your system. UPS ensures that your system keeps running, giving you time to save or store your data before your system shuts down.
  • Maintains battery life – UPS systems allow you to keep working in operational mode during loadshedding as your device will keep charging given that it is connected to a UPS system.
  • Protection against power surges- When you experience a power surge, UPS systems disconnect you from that power supply and offer you stable power from its system. This prevents any damage from occurring to your devices due to bad power supply.

Generators

Generators are appliances that can supply electrical power during load shedding and allow you to continue doing the activities that you normally would do if you had power.

They are available in different variations of electrical and physical configurations.

How does a generator work?

An electric generator is a device that provides electrical energy as it transforms the mechanical energy it receives from an external source and converts it into electrical energy. It is important to note that a generator is incapable of creating electrical energy, rather it uses the mechanical energy it receives to force the movement of electric charges that are present in wire windings through an external electric circuit. The external flow of charges is electric currents that are supplied by the generator.

What are the advantages of using a generator?

  • Keep your lighting and security system on – A generator has the capacity to keep all your lights on as well as your security system ensuring that you maintain your security throughout the power outage.
  • Save your electronic data – During a power outage your systems might be offline, but a generator is able to keep your phone, systems, computers, cash registers and machinery on allowing you to complete all the tasks you need to do.
  • Guaranteed safety – Generators are able to provide power even during natural disasters and are able to protect the home from voltage fluctuations when the power does return.

Hybrid Solar Power System

A hybrid solar system provides power in a similar way to common grid-tie solar systems. It stores the energy that is gained from hybrid inverters and batteries for later usage allowing them to be used as back up energy supply during loadshedding. The system uses an all in one battery inverter which is combined with a solar inverter and a battery inverter.

What does a Hybrid Solar Power System power?

A hybrid solar system is able to direct its energy based on the amount of solar energy that is being generated as well as the energy demands of the property.

A hybrid solar system can provide power to essential loads which are low power devices such as the WiFi, phone/laptop charging, security system, TV and fridge. It also powers heavy loads such as the oven, electrical heating and cleaner, however these devices use up a lot of energy and will quickly deplete the energy if the grid has failed.

What are the advantages of using a hybrid solar system?

  • Continuous power supply – Hybrid solar systems are able to supply power without any interruptions as the batteries that are connected to the system store energy. They provide power in the evening and when there is no sun.
  • Cheaper maintenance costs – Hybrid solar systems are a lot cheaper than traditional generators which use fuel, as hybrid solar systems require no fuel and less servicing.
  • Better load management – These systems contain technology that allows them to adjust to how its energy is being distributed to the connected devices such as cutting off heavy loads when there is less energy.

Take a look at the Important Home Security Tips to Keep in Mind During Load Shedding.

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