Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Today, gen­er­a­tors with an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine (most often diesel gen­er­a­tors) and stor­age bat­ter­ies (bat­ter­ies) equipped with an invert­er — a cur­rent con­vert­er (from DC to AC and vice ver­sa) are used as alter­na­tive sources of elec­tric­i­ty in every­day life. Bat­ter­ies are con­nect­ed to the net­work through an invert­er, with the help of which the bat­ter­ies are recharged when there is elec­tric­i­ty in the net­work.

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Both types have their advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. The main dis­ad­van­tage of gen­er­a­tors is the noise and exhaust gas­es pro­duced dur­ing oper­a­tion. But a diesel engine can the­o­ret­i­cal­ly func­tion as long as it wants, as long as there is fuel. In any case, he should work for sev­er­al days in a row.

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Bat­tery-based sys­tems have more sig­nif­i­cant run­time lim­i­ta­tions. Usu­al­ly from sev­er­al tens of min­utes to sev­er­al hours. Longer dura­tion would require bat­ter­ies of sig­nif­i­cant capac­i­ty, and, accord­ing­ly, the sys­tem will turn out to be too expen­sive. Judge for your­self: an inex­pen­sive diesel gen­er­a­tor with an out­put pow­er of 2 kW can be bought for 25–300 $.

A set of bat­ter­ies capa­ble of deliv­er­ing 2 kW for 2–3 hours will cost about twice as much. Add to this the cost of the invert­er — at least 30–400 $. A ful­ly assem­bled unin­ter­rupt­ible pow­er sup­ply (UPS) for half an hour or an hour of oper­a­tion will cost at least 1000 $. But using the UPS as a back­up source is a real plea­sure. No exhaust, no noise, no fuel, and switch­ing occurs almost instant­ly (the gen­er­a­tor still needs to be start­ed).

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Bat­ter­ies require a sep­a­rate, well-ven­ti­lat­ed area with insu­lat­ed racks. The tem­per­a­ture in it should not be low­er than rec­om­mend­ed by bat­tery man­u­fac­tur­ers (usu­al­ly 15 ° C). We will talk more about choos­ing the type and brand of bat­ter­ies, their use and stor­age in a sep­a­rate arti­cle.

Diagram of an uninterruptible power supply system

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

Backup power supplies for a private home: generators vs. batteries

All back­up pow­er sources are select­ed depend­ing on the pow­er of the con­nect­ed load. It depends on the needs of the home­own­ers. To cal­cu­late it, you need to sum up the pow­er of all devices that will be con­nect­ed to the pow­er source. Keep in mind that the more this amount comes out, the more expen­sive the UPS will be, so it makes sense to lim­it the load, leav­ing only the most nec­es­sary — emer­gency light­ing, pow­er­ing the com­po­nents of the heat­ing and water sup­ply sys­tem (ven­ti­la­tion, bore­hole pump, etc.). Plus one or two sock­ets so that you can con­nect a TV or oth­er house­hold appli­ances.

When choos­ing a gen­er­a­tor or installing an invert­er sys­tem, you first need to decide how often you need to use an addi­tion­al source of elec­tric­i­ty. So, if you are in the coun­try only on week­ends in the sum­mer, a gaso­line gen­er­a­tor is enough. At the same time, it must be remem­bered that gaso­line or diesel gen­er­a­tors cre­ate a lot of noise and an unpleas­ant smell dur­ing oper­a­tion. There­fore, they must be placed in ven­ti­lat­ed rooms with good sound insu­la­tion. Invert­er-bat­tery sys­tems are more con­ve­nient to use, espe­cial­ly if you spend a lot of time in the coun­try and you need an unin­ter­rupt­ed pow­er source all the time. Such a sys­tem, as a rule, con­sists of an invert­er, bat­ter­ies, a charg­er that pro­vides bat­tery charge, a con­troller that mon­i­tors the bat­tery charge.

Ivan Khripunov

Tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ist of the com­pa­ny “Kashirsky Dvor”

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