Emergency Battery Backup Power: Everything You Need to Know
How many appliances do you own that run on electricity? Probably quite a few. They're also probably things that are essential for your daily comfort, such as refrigerators, internet, and heating. Most of us rely on a shared power grid for our energy, but what happens if that goes down, as it often does? If you experience a power outage that lasts longer than a few moments, it could have lasting, costly effects.
Fortunately, this situation is fairly easy to avoid as long as you know a bit about emergency battery backup power. That's why we're here: to talk about power outages, why they're bad, and how you can prepare for them.
What Are Power Outages?
A power outage is an event when a power source stops sending energy where it needs to go. They can be caused by storms, routine maintenance by the provider, or unforeseen accidents like someone driving a car into a telephone pole. If one of these events manages to stop all transfer of energy, it's called a blackout. A blackout can happen at any time, so it's important to be prepared.
That said, power outages are more likely to occur during natural events that can topple infrastructure the way hurricanes do, or overload the system like thunderstorms can. If the power company thinks a blackout might be imminent, it may lower the amount of energy going through the grid. This is called a brownout, and can actually be more harmful than a blackout since your devices might not be made to deal with such low voltage. Fortunately, brownouts are often resolved much faster than blackouts, so the trade-off is arguably worth it.
What Happens When the Power Goes Out and You Don't Have Emergency Power?
When the power goes out, it impacts any appliances that run on electricity:
Heating and Air Conditioning
Your home uses energy to maintain a comfortable temperature, especially in the summer and winter months. These times of year are the worst for a blackout to occur, and you can probably guess why. If you live with elderly or vulnerable people that can be impacted by extreme temperatures, it's especially important to be prepared.
Like homes, refrigerators and freezers try to maintain a constant temperature because if this temperature isn't set right, food can spoil. Without power, though, keeping this temperature is impossible, and the food inside will go bad fast if power isn't restored.
Most internet systems depend on local power to stay online. Even if yours doesn't, your devices won't stay charged forever. If you work from home, an extended blackout could put a big dent in your income if you don't have emergency battery backup power to draw from.
For most people, the first sign of a blackout is when all of the lights in the house turn off. Unless you have candles or battery-powered light sources ready, losing your lights can dramatically impact your lifestyle.
Risk to Electronic Devices
Most devices are made to run at a certain voltage level, and going over this limit can potentially cause lasting damage. Even going under the recommended voltage can be harmful in some cases. If you think an approaching storm could impact the grid and put your devices at risk, consider unplugging them ahead of time… or maybe consider a battery backup?
Emergency Backup Power Options
When you lose electricity, you don't have to just sit in the dark. There are numerous backup power options that will get your appliances running in no time:
Emergency Backup Generators
Generators act as backup power sources for your home. Where they differ comes down to portability and fuel:
- Portable vs. Standby Generators: Portable generators are mobile and affordable, but will only power a handful of appliances at a time. Standby generators are more expensive, but they will turn on automatically when you experience a blackout and will easily power your entire home.
- Gasoline vs. Solar Powered Generators: Gasoline generators, like the $800 Westinghouse WGen7500, are among the cheapest available. But, if you can afford their solar counterparts, like the $1600 Jackery 1000, you may find that they pay themselves forward thanks to their renewable energy source.
UPS stands for "uninterruptible power supply," which is certainly comforting. Unlike a generator, which often powers your entire home, a UPS operates on a smaller, per-room scale. Each UPS has a handful of outlets for you to plug your devices into, and each has a set voltage. This means that you should buy your UPS based on the devices you have. For example, you can choose the $70 425VA/255W Back-UPS if you only need to power a couple of small devices or go for the higher-end 3,000VA/2,700W Smart-UPS for $1875.
Whole-Home Backup Batteries
While your other options are effective, they're considered short-term solutions that will run out of energy. Whole-home batteries, however, can potentially last for days at a time, making them a superior choice if you live in a particularly turbulent area. They're not cheap, as even the high-value Tesla Powerwall costs $8,500 before installation fees. But if your home has a solar energy setup, you can use it to keep these batteries charged, making the high cost mostly an up-front one.
Your Best All-in-One Solution: Solar Kits for Emergency Backup Power
At the end of the day, if you're looking for energy independence, solar kits are the way to go. As long as you get a decent amount of sunshine, you can convert it into energy to supplement or replace what you get from the power grid. More importantly, you can use this energy to keep your backup batteries charged, giving you access to clean emergency battery backup power at all times.
For more information, check out our article on on emergency solar kits including which ones are the very best for backup power preparation.
Pro-tip: If you can figure out which times of day your energy costs the most, use solar batteries during those hours to slash your energy bill!
Solidify Your Emergency Power with Solar
If you're concerned about blackouts or energy costs, solar kits are your best friend. Even if you can't power your home with solar energy alone, you can still use it to offset utility costs and keep rechargeable solar batteries powered up and ready to use.
To figure out which solar kit is best for you, speak to the solar experts at shopsolar.com to get a quote for your best solar emergency battery backup power options.
Before you go, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to emergency solar power and learn how to use it to be prepared for any emergency!
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