At Nantech, the one question we get asked and asked often by our customers in Chennai is if an inverter battery can power the entire home. To put the question to rest once and for all, we use this blog to bust the number one myth around inverter backup systems.
No, an inverter battery can not provide backup for the entire home, especially in the 21st century where houses are chock full of gadgets that need electricity to run. So, if you are buying an inverter battery in Chennai with the hope that it will provide power come hell or high water, read this blog to gain a better understanding.
The Kernel That Gave Birth To The Myth
Before we dive into why an inverter battery is not capable of powering the whole home, let’s look at what started the myth. There are some homes that can be powered by a battery system. These homes are few and far between because they are small and do not use power-hungry devices like swimming pools and air conditioners. As they place only a few demands on the battery, they can run on a battery backup for quite some time.
It is these small houses that have given birth to the myth that batteries can run an entire home. The reality is far from it. Typically, an inverter works best when it is used by the bear minimum appliances, and the battery capacity is rationed.
Why can’t inverter batteries power a whole house? There are two reasons why a home cannot be powered by a battery alone. One, an inverter battery is not powerful enough to give the kick start needed by large appliances to operate. Two, the lithium-ion batteries in an inverter do not have the energy capacity to supply electricity to a whole house for long, extended hours.
These two engineering limits make it impossible for an inverter to supply uninterrupted power to a modern house. The first thing that pops to the mind after reading the last paragraph is “why not invest in multiple batteries to solve the limitations on the power supply?”
The answer is simple: the cost of buying and installing several 20+ or 40+ kilowatt battery inverters is too high for the average homeowner. Because it is financially prohibitive, few opt for the solution. What most people do is take a more practical approach, which is to connect only critical loads to the inverter.
This means electric stoves, air conditioning, washing machines or dishwashers are not connected to the battery. Simple, small, and essential circuits like fans, lights and a convenience outlet are linked to the backup power supply. This ensures the continuous electricity is supplied until the main power comes back online.
How Long Can A Battery Provide Backup To The Entire House?
Let’s say you still choose to connect your entire Chennai home to the inverter battery. In that case, how long will it be able to power all the appliances? The answer is not for a long time.
Here are a few figures to explain why:
High-power appliances like a central air conditioner, pool pump or electric stove consume boatloads of electricity. To be exact, it is 5000 watts, 2200 watts and 10,000 watts respectively.
Now let’s say you experienced a power cut in the evening, and your battery is down to 2.5-kilowatt capacity. It means the inverter only has enough juice to run the AC unit for half an hour, the pump for one hour and the stove for barely 15 minutes.
In short, high-power gadgets make it impossible for a battery to provide backup to the whole house for long hours. If you leave any one of these devices running, the battery will run out of power soon enough. In plain words, your home in Chennai will have no lights, and no fan, leaving you without a single luxury!
Is There A Solution To The Problem?
Yes, of course. People have been using inverter batteries in Chennai as power backups for a long time for a reason. The fundamental solution is to switch off all appliances that consume a lot of power when there is an electricity cut. It makes sure that no extra load is put on the battery and the house has continued power supply even for an entire night.
The problem with this solution is that if the cut occurs at night when no one is awake to shut off any extra appliances. The workaround to this is not to connect such devices to the backup in the first place. Since they are not linked to the inverter’s supply, then need not be switched off during a cut.
One more solution is to use battery backups coupled with solar panels. A well designed solar and inverter system can power your house for a long time. The keyword is well designed:
- The battery’s capacity should be in keeping with the needs of the house.
- The battery should be strictly connected to only necessary appliances.
- The solar panel system should have sufficient capacity to charge a battery even on a cloudy day.
The Future Of Power Backups
In the coming time, smart homes will be able to address most problems that come hand in hand with inverters. Instead of relying on a human to shed any unnecessary load from the battery, the smart home will automatically be able to do so. One example is a smart electric panel that automatically manages the circuits in those and breaks those of large appliances in the event of a blackout.
Till the time such smart technology becomes commonplace in Chennai and takes care of the limitations of backups, the best and the most economical way to power your house is an inverter battery!