Inverters for homes and properties, Inverters for Homes and Properties -updated 2019

Here, two Outback Power inverters are parallel connected. Pic: Outback Power

Inverters for homes and properties convert the typical 12 to 48-volt battery bank’s output into grid-like 110 or 230-volt alternating current. It is all-but-essential to use one as using only 12-48 volts is far too limiting for all but basic cabins. Consider only inverters marketed as sine-wave (not modified sine wave etc). High-quality sine wave inverters produce electricity that is ‘cleaner’ than the average grid supply. Other types do not. Their output is likely to wreck sensitive electronics.

There are two main types of sine wave inverters: transformer-based and switch-mode. Those transformer-based are bulky and heavy, but rarely an issue for home and property use

A major plus is an inherent overload capacity. Many power tools and appliances draw two/three times they’re running current whilst starting. Transformer-based units handle this with ease. Some can produce 50% or more of their output rating for 30 minutes or so.

Those up to 1500 watts will run from 12 volts, 3000 watts requires 24 volts, and anything over that needs 48 volts.

A few (such as the Outback Power units shown) can be parallel-connected if a higher output is required.

Switch-mode inverters for homes and properties

Switch-mode inverters are smaller and lighter. Few, however, have any overload capacity. Most can only sustain their rated output for a few seconds and at most 80% of that for constant use. Some may only sustain 50% for long-term use. This type of inverter works best for loads that do not draw excess energy whilst starting. These are rare. An air-compressor may draw ten times its running current during start up.

Transformer-based inverters are still the best buy for home and property use.

This is a complex technology. Our book, Solar Success explains inverters for homes and properties. Solar That Really Works! does likewise for boats, cabins and RVs. As with all our books, both can now be bought in print or digital versions.