Inverter for Home

If you are in the market for an inverter for your home you will soon be confronted by the wide range of brands, sizes and different technologies available and soon realise not all inverters are equal. With datasheets and system performance information that may be confusing or even misleading at times basic research can save you a lot of time and money. Read this before you decide on what will be the right inverter for home use or specifically your needs, easy to follow guide on what you should know to get the right inverter for your home.
There are two main criteria to consider before deciding on the type and size inverter options, these your budget and what your needs are.

  1. What Inverters are available for home backup power?
    • Portable or trolley inverter system
    • Installed home inverter system
      • Off Grid/ Backup Inverter
      • Full Hybrid Inverter
  2. What Size Inverter you need in your home
  3. Popular inverters for homes in South Africa
  4. How long will the inverter run for?
  5. Budget and Requirements.

Portable home or trolley backup system.

This system doesn’t require any installation and operates similar to a desktop PC UPS where the system is plugged into a standard outlet three pin plug point and any devices running off the backup will be plugged directly into the inverter outlet point or you can use and extension cable from the inverter output to the appliance. You can use it to run a TV, Wi-Fi, Fibre, floor or table lamp (LED), fridge and other small appliances if required. A lot of these portable systems come with lead acid deep cycle batteries, although they do work with lead acid batteries it is recommended that you opt for an option with lithium, with the frequency of power outages and load shedding the lead acid batteries lifespan may not be what expected and you would most likely need to replace them in as little as 5 months. The systems that use lead acid batteries also take longer to charge so may not be fully charged by the next load shed which will significantly reduce the battery life. (NOTE) some Lead Acid battery distributors have reduce the warranties from 1 year to 3 months due to the high failure rate as a result of the current load shedding frequency.

The portable systems are suitable for people whose requirements for a home backup system are basic, as a quick economical solution for those working from home who need laptops and Wi-Fi running and ideal for tenants who are renting and don’t want the added costs of installing a system, they are quick and easy to setup and are basically plug and play and don’t require specialised skills to install.

Installed Home Inverter.

Installed-home-inverter

With these systems you would normally not even be aware that there is a power outage or load shedding. These home inverter systems are connected the your existing distribution board there is an essentials DB where the backup load will be isolated, this would typically include all the lights and plug points all heavy draw devices like geysers, stoves, ovens and pool pumps would not normally be added to the backup system.
Sizes can range between 3kw inverters to 16KW systems with the most popular being 8 and 5KW.
Although most of these will work with lead acid batteries it is best to use lithium batteries for better cycling, faster charging and overall performance.
For most households a 5KW or 8KW inverter would be suitable as the essential loads averages are generally less than 1KW.

Backup / Off Grid inverters and Full Hybrid Inverters both types can be installed without solar panels as a grid charged grid backup solutions with the option of adding panels later or they can be installed with solar panels where the panels can charge or keep the batteries charged during production time extending daytime backup or keeping the batteries charged for extended outages.
If you are planning on installing the inverter with solar panels or adding panels later and you want higher savings on you municipal electrical bill the hybrid inverter is the better choice as this can export power to the non-essentials load or even to the grid not just using the PV to charge the batteries and to power the backup load. For more information see Hybrid inverter vs Off grid inverter.

What size inverter do you need?

When deciding on the correct size inverter you need to calculate the peak consumption of you load on the essentials side, this is basically the highest amount of power you would need at any given time to run your selected devices and appliances this applies to when there is grid power or when you are running on battery backup, the essentials line is limited to the rated capacity of the inverter.
For instance if you want to be able to run the following simultaneously, hair dryer 1500W, Kettle 2500, TV 150W, Lights 500W Wi-Fi 20W this gives a total of 4520W so a 5KW inverter will be able to handle the load without switching off, if you added a microwave of 1000w and a fridge 300 watts you have got a load that requires a bigger inverter that can handle a minimum for 6KW or more.
Note these loads can be managed so if all your items consumption add up to more than the inverter capacity but they are not run simultaneously a smaller inverter will be suitable. (see recommended inverter size for more details)

Popular inverters for home use. (Lithium Battery system recommended)

Portable trolley type inverters.

Inverters with a lithium battery solution like the Eco Flow, Kool Energy, Mecer lithium portable power pack amongst others.

Installed Hybrid Inverters for your home

Deye Inverter as a home inverter

Deye offering reliable backup and excellent power management for good self-consumption. Built in Wi-Fi for remote monitoring and settings. Easy to expand 3phase and single phase systems, off grid capability with a good range of systems that are well supported locally.
They can be installed outdoors IP 65

Sunsynk Hybrid Inverter

Sunsynk is essetially the same inverter as Deye offering reliable backup and excellent power management for good self-consumption. Built in Wi-Fi for remote monitoring and settings. Easy to expand 3phase and single phase systems, off grid capability with a good range of systems that are well supported locally.
They can be installed outdoors IP 65

Lux Power Hybrid home inverter

Reliable backup and good self-consumption built in Wi-Fi for remote monitoring single and three phase options. Off grid capability. Communication with a wide range of batteries, expandable.

Goodwe home inverter

Reliable backup good self-consumption and with the no fan design low to no noise operation ideal for small spaces.

There are other hybrid options with similar functionality as the above.

Installed Off Grid or backup inverter solutions

Lux Power off grid inverter

Reliable backup, expandable off grid and grid interactive, built in Wi-Fi well price, free remote monitoring

Axpert Type inverters:

Mecer Inverters, Kodak Inverters amongst others. Good basic inverters well priced reliable backup.
Axpert King – Kodak King and Mecer offer this option these inverters have a built in UPS function with a ZERO transfer time most other inverter have a 10ms change over which will give you a seamless transfer to backup power but more sensitive equipment may require a zero transfer to backup power.

Huawei Power-M all-in-one inverter and battery.

Stylish design, reliable backup no fan design no noise operation with additional safety feature, makes it ideal for installs in living spaces small complexes flats or apartments. Can be installed outdoors, expandable inverter and battery.

We often get asked how long the inverter will run the backup load and do I need a bigger inverter for longer backup time.

The backup time is dependent on the amount of battery storage you have and not the inverter size and the average load you run on the system. If you constantly run a 1KW load on a 1.5KW, 3KW or 5KW and inverter in your home and have a 5.1KW battery with an 80% depth of discharged this gives you +/-4KW of usable storage and will therefore run the 1KW average load for about 4 hours.
All inverters convert DC power to AC for your backup loads and have a DC voltage rating form smaller inverter which can have a 12 or 24V DC rating or the larger residential inverters that have 48V DC rating and need batteries to match this rating.(for more info on the correct storage capacity check sizing choosing the right battery)

How long will the system run examples?

Portable backup power trolley inverter / UPS

Size 1500W inverter 50A 24V battery (1200W backup power in the batteries)
TV, Laptop, 2 x 10W Led Lights, WiFi backup +/- 6hours

5KW home Inverter battery Backup System with 5KW Storage

TV, Laptop, 2 x 10W Led Lights, WiFi backup +/- 24Hours
TV, Laptop, 10 x 10W Led Lights, WiFi backup, security system gate motor, fridge +/- 8hours
Using the microwave for 20mins and boiling the kettle a couple of times with the TV, Laptop, 10 x 10W Led Lights, WiFi backup, security system gate motor, fridge +/- 6 hours.

Budget and Requirements

Budget.

You may have a budget that allows you to get an inverter system for your home that far exceeds your requirements, although it’s not a bad thing to over spec your home inverter system and even recommended to there is a point where there will be no benefit to go too big and you investing more money on a system that has no benefits than if you opted for a smaller system.

If you have a limited budget you may have to compromise on what you want for a home inverter or backup power system. Let say you want a system that runs your lights, security system, fridges, TV Wi-Fi. By just taking the fridge off the requirements this immediately makes it possible to go for a system half the size than if the fridge was on the backup.

Requirements

Your requirements from a home inverter / backup power system do you want the system to be wired into the DB board and run your plug points and lights on the essentials, and are you going to add solar panels at the time of install or at a later stage or do you only need a portable system that will run the basics TV, laptops, Wi-Fi and a floor light or two.

Request a quote on a solution that is right for you.