Much of today’s human activities of daily living are run on electricity that it is rather inconceivable living with temporary power for a lifetime. Inasmuch as economic and industrial development requires electrical energy to increase productivity and ensure that our way of life, as we know it, persists unhampered.
Nonetheless, there will be situations wherein electrical power supply will go down, either temporarily or permanently. And with the prohibitively skyrocketing prices of oil and petroleum products that run majority of the world’s electrical power plants, alternative sources of energy must be harnessed and used to this aim.
However, this is the least of the problems of most modern-day homeowners because, as long as they have electrical power supply now and in the near future, they don’t mind at all paying the extra.
When Power Fails
In instances when electrical power supply run short or is temporarily obstructed by unforeseen events, homeowners should be rest assured in the fact that there are a variety of temporary power solutions to such an occurrence. But, just what are these instances or occurrences?
1. In cases of severe and violent weather conditions like thunderstorms, electrical storms, tropical storms and typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes, tidal surges and tsunamis, and even earthquakes and tornadoes, electrical power supply may be interrupted. The interruption in the power service may be because of the damage to electrical power infrastructure like power plants, transmission lines, and transformers, among others.
2. In other instances the power failure may be due to the purposive switching off of an entire electrical power grid during heavy and violent storms by utility administration in order to minimize further damage to property and even the possibility of loss of lives. Homeowners should understand that the safety of the general public is a major consideration in turning off the whole electrical supply of a certain community in the event of violent weather systems.
3. In man-made catastrophes, usually the electrical power supply may be cut off by the incident or purposely switched off by the utility’s administration. Again, the reason for this will be the safety and welfare of the general public.
4. In some isolated instances, household electrical power failure can occur for a variety of reasons. Faulty electrical wiring does not only cause power failure because it can ultimately spell an otherwise more devastating problem – a domestic fire. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to have the house’s electrical wiring and systems checked and diagnosed for any problems by certified professional technicians at least once every year or at least after every major storm.
These are just some of the few instances or situations where electrical power failure may occur. In all of these situations, two things stand out. First, electrical power failure may be the result of either the incident or the wilful switching off of the entire power grid. And second, electrical power failure may be due to either natural phenomena like weather systems or man-made activities. Whatever these situations or instances are, every homeowner should understand that each can potentially happen in each home. This is the reason why it is very crucial to have a readily available source of temporary power should the main supply go out.
There are a variety of resources, both man-made and natural, which can provide temporary power solutions to all kinds of homes.
1. Natural power solutions can take the form of solar panels and windmills that harness the power of the sun’s rays and that of the wind to store energy on cells for later use. Although the idea may seem to be from a science fiction novel, the technology is both here and now.
Aside from giving homeowners an alternative electrical power source, solar panels and windmills are also environmentally friendly technology and are very useful in lowering the household’s dependence on expensive sources of power.
The only downside to such solutions is that it is rather limited in its use especially in areas where the sun seldom shines or that it continuously rains or that there is very minimal air current to move the windmill.
2. Man-made power solutions can be in the form of generators and batteries. These temporary power solutions provide electrical power even in the most dire situations. These solutions run on the principle of electromagnetism turning mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The Basics of Temporary Power Solutions
Electric power generators are temporary power solutions that have been clearly useful in big industries and establishments. Now, with the need to keep up with the fast pace of modern-day living, more advanced and compact designs have allowed it to be used even in the home. The important thing to consider here is the homeowner’s goal or aim in seeking temporary power solutions.
Every homeowner should seek to answer the reason why he needs temporary power. Does he seek to power up the whole house or just a few of his more important devices and equipment? You see, depending on the nature and extent of the need to supply temporary power, the type of temporary power solution also varies.
1. For starters, every homeowner should have an idea of the wattage requirements of their individual electrical appliances and devices. As a rule of thumb, devices that have electric motors that need to be started when switched on will usually require surge wattage. Meaning, this should also be carefully taken into consideration.
2. Air conditioning units, refrigerators, electric water heaters, well pumps have wattage that are beyond 1,000 watts. Computers, microwave ovens, and furnace fans will usually range from 500 to 999 watts. This is crucial because you will want your temporary power solution to be able to provide the needed power.
3. Depending on the homeowner’s required power output, the choice of temporary power solution between a generator and an inverter can then be made. Homeowners should understand that the higher the energy output requirement, the more expensive is the temporary power solution, and the more is the need for a power generator.
Choosing between a power generator and an inverter is never difficult because all the homeowner needs to think about is how big is the power supply he requires. As a rule of thumb, if the power supply required is minimal, usually well below 700 watts, then an inverter can be used. Any power requirement higher than 700 watts, a power generator should be considered.
Electric power generators operate on the principle of electromagnetism to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. These temporary power generators are usually inexpensive engine-powered generators that produce clean electricity. They are typically run on gas although some models have already introduced the use of diesel as a cheaper alternative and propane as a cleaner option.
The only downside of these engine powered generators is the noise it generates, especially among the less expensive models and those that run on diesel. Furthermore, the need to properly store fuel required to run the power generator may be an issue especially if the home is severely damaged or struck by disaster. Also, the shelf life of petroleum products is rather short which would require from the homeowner frequent replenishment of the fuel inventory. In some cases, the use of chemical stabilizers to prolong shelf life has been noted; nonetheless, considerable inventory replenishment is still mandatory.
Getting the Temporary Power Solution to Work on your Home
Now that you have already considered your temporary energy needs and that you already know that a power generator is right for you and your family, the next part is how to let the system work for you.
1. You can perform a do-it-yourself task of individually connecting electrical appliances to the power generator by means of extension cords. You can do this procedure if you are going to power up appliances and devices that have relatively low wattage requirements.
2. In cases where you will be connecting several power-draining appliances and devices whose wattage are in the thousands, calling for a professional electrician is the wisest thing to do. What the professional electrician will do is to wire the power generator into your home’s power circuit panel in order to switch the whole house over to the power generator.
3. In either case, there a few things you need to be reminded of in turning on the power generator.
*Make sure to ground your power generator as described in the owner’s manual by connecting its chassis ground to your house’s grounding rod. In the event that your house does not have a grounding rod, you can install an 8-foot grounding rod you can easily buy from your neighborhood hardware store.
*Before turning on the power generator, make sure to turn off the main power switch of the house. You need to remember this in order to prevent accidental electrocution of people who may be working on the power lines.
Furthermore, if you forgot to turn off the main power supply, there is an open communication between your power generator and the outside power lines such that your power generator will be attempting to power the entire neighborhood. This is the reason why it is important to have an electrician do this stuff for you so that a positive interlock system can be installed to automatically cut off your home’s main breaker when the power generator’s breaker is turned on.
*Once the power generator has been switched on, allow it to run for several minutes to stabilize before hooking it up to the circuit panel.
*Once these have been performed, you can now switch on the power generator’s circuit breaker.
The use of temporary power solutions among modern-day homes need not be a daunting task. What is essential to understand in the use of such solutions is its appropriateness to the homeowner’s perceived needs.