Power outages can happen anytime for various reasons, including natural disasters, equipment failures, and grid congestion. Power outages can disrupt our daily lives and expose us to dangers. For this reason, a backup power supply is necessary to keep you and your family safe and at ease during a power outage.
This blog post discusses the different types of backup power supplies, considerations when choosing, and the benefits of installing one.
Types of Backup Power Supply Systems
There are many different backup power supply systems on the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common and best power backup supply systems are:
Automatic Standby System
Estimated Cost: $4000-$12000+
Standby generators are permanently installed outside your home or business and are designed to turn on automatically during an outage. They are connected to your home’s electrical system and can power all or most of your appliances and systems.
When the power goes out, a voltage sensor in the transfer switch automatically turns on the generator, it then switches your power input from the BC Hydro grid to your backup generator. You can power the whole electrical system or a generator panel with essential circuits. Depends on the size of your generator.
Pros: Standby generators provide a seamless transition to backup power, require little manual intervention, and can power your entire home or business.
Cons: They are more expensive to install and maintain than other backup power supply systems, and they may require permits and inspections.
Automatic Emergency System
Estimated Cost: $4000-$12000+
Automatic emergency generators are similar to standby generators but are usually smaller and designed to power critical systems, such as medical equipment or a heating system.
Pros: Automatic emergency generators provide reliable backup power for critical systems and are less expensive to install and maintain than standby generators.
Cons: They may not be able to power your entire home or business, and they may require manual intervention to start.
Grid Tie Systems
Estimated Cost: $4000-$40000+
A grid-tie power backup system is a type of backup power system that is designed to work in conjunction with the main electrical grid. These systems are typically composed of solar panels, a power inverter, and a battery bank.
The solar panels collect energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, which is then sent to the power inverter. The power inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity that can be used to power your home or business. Any excess electricity that is produced can be sent back to the main electrical grid.
Depending on how much power your system produces your electrical meter will either slow down as you use a combination of your own power and the grid’s power, or your meter will spin backward resulting in a credit.
This system is used in conjunction with either an Automatic Standby System or an Automatic Emergency System.
There are grants and subsidies available for alternate energy sources.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) System
Estimated Cost: $500-$1000+
These are battery backup systems that provide power to electronics for a short period during power outages. These are great for computers, servers, routers, and other sensitive electronics.
The UPS pack is plugged into the wall outlet, then the computer is plugged into the UPS pack. In the event of a power failure, the battery system will take over. The systems are rated according to time. 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc. A UPS pack will also filter and regulate the voltage output so that the connected electronics have a stable voltage input.
Pros: A UPS system provides a continuous power supply to connected devices and protects them from damage and data loss due to sudden power outages or surges.
Cons: Because UPS systems require energy to maintain battery backup even when not in use, they can be less energy efficient than other backup power systems.
Portable Generator with Manual Transfer Switch
Estimated Cost: $900-$1500
Portable generators with manual transfer switches are designed to power specific equipment or systems during power outages. Manual intervention is required to start them and connect them to the transfer switch, but they can be moved from one location to another.
Portable generators can run on gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel and power specific devices or systems.
Pros: Portable generators with manual transfer switches are cheaper and easier to install than other backup power systems. They can be moved to different locations and provide power to specific appliances or systems.
Cons: Manual intervention is required to start and connect the transfer switch, and it may not be able to power an entire house or business.
Never back-feed the generator power into your electrical panel. An approved transfer switch must be used. The power will flow through your panel and electrical meter and then into the electrical grid. Lineman repairing the damaged power lines can be electrocuted.
Benefits of Having a Backup Power Supply
Having a backup power supply has numerous benefits, including:
- Continuity of essential services – Power outages can cause a disruption in essential services, such as heating, cooling, and medical equipment.
- Protection of electronic devices – Sensitive electronics can be damaged during power surges, which can occur when the power comes back on after an outage.
- Increased safety and security – Having lights on during an outage can prevent accidents and provide a sense of security.
- Comfort during power outages – Having access to power can provide comfort during an outage, especially during extreme weather conditions.
- Potential cost savings – Having a backup power supply in your home or office can prevent food spoilage and other potential costs associated with an outage.
Backup power supply systems provide a reliable source of power during an outage, ensuring that essential appliances and systems continue to function. Standby generators, automatic emergency generators, portable generators with manual transfer switches, and grid-tie power backup systems are all viable options, each with its own benefits
Don’t be left in the dark during an outage and invest in a backup power supply for home and your business today.
Contact Pacific Star Electric for more information or to schedule a free estimate.