Blackouts happen frequently in the United States. According to a report from Popular Science, the country has more power outages compared to other developed nations. Factors, such as lightning storms, inclement weather, and power plant accidents can cause a residential outage.
Although you can’t prevent blackouts from occurring, you can take steps to make sure that your home electrical system will continue running while the grid is out.
One solution is to get backup power for your household. When you invest in a backup energy solution, your household enjoys uninterrupted use of appliances, electronics, and heating and cooling systems. Also, backup power helps safeguard your house from dangerous voltage surges once the utility company restores the electricity in your home or area.
When searching for a backup electricity solution, you’ll find a lot of products on the market that cater to your needs. Here are six options you could consider for your household:
- Solar Generator
Get the backup power you need by harnessing the energy coming from the sun. You can mount multiple-panel or single-panel photovoltaic (PV) solar generators on top of your roof.
This type of generator produces direct current (DC) electricity, which you should use on lighting and appliances with a DC configuration. If you have appliances that rely on alternating current (AC), you’ll need to install an AC inverter in your generator.
If you’ve decided to go with a solar generator, leave the installation of solar panels and configuration of the device to a professional. Look for a contractor or company that specializes in solar power systems.
- Wind Generator
These generators come with wind turbines that generate power for essential heating systems, well pumps, and emergency lighting fixtures.
Before you say yes to this option, keep the following details in mind:
- The location of your home should be getting a lot of wind exposure. Investing in a wind turbine doesn’t make sense if your area isn’t windy.
- Wind speed is crucial to generating the backup power you need for your household. You could use a wind turbine as a backup power option if the yearly wind speed in your location goes beyond four miles per second.
- Not sure what the wind speed is in your area? Get the information you need from your local weather station. Alternatively, you could invest in an anemometer, a device that measures wind direction and speed.
- Wind speed isn’t constant. Given this, you’ll need to purchase a battery bank and an inverter that can convert and store the power generated by the turbine.
- Battery Backup Systems
These systems can accommodate both DC and AC loads. If you experience power outages that last a few hours, a single battery system will do. On the other hand, you may need bigger battery systems if you need steady power for a day or two.
Battery backups need an inverter (and sometimes a charger). When browsing the market for these systems, look for high-quality products that offer protection against overheating.
The price for these systems varies. You can expect to pay thousands for a battery that offers a larger power capacity. If you’re on a budget, you’ll find single battery systems for a few hundred dollars.
- Fuel Cells
These systems deliver essential backup power to facilities and buildings. You can, however, use it to power a home. Although fuel cells are expensive, the cost has dropped by 60 percent since 2006. The reduction in cost has been attributed to better electrode performance and early-stage development of catalysts.
- Portable Generator
This go-to backup power option is ideal for powering basic appliances for several hours. They typically run on fuel sources, such as diesel, gasoline, and propane. Since this generator is easy to carry around, you could place this anywhere in your house. As a matter of fact, you can take it with you when you go camping.
Take note that a portable generator cannot power the whole house. The least it could do, however, is to let you sleep comfortably while the power grid in your area is down.
- Standby Generator
Unlike a portable generator that you can take anywhere, a standby generator has a fixed location. Although this backup option is bulky and expensive, it can power up an entire home without problems. Plus, this machine can run for days. If power outages are frequent in your area (and have the cash to spare), you’ll want a standby generator for your household.
These backup energy options give your family peace of mind during grid outages. If you live in an area with frequent and prolonged power interruption, you’ll want to invest in a generator that gives you electricity on demand.