The UPG�s are sealed batteries so we didn�t have to worry about leakage. The inverter�s job is to convert the DC electricity coming from the batteries into AC electricity, which can power our house. These Magnum inverters/chargers are really smart; they can charge batteries from grid electricity or from solar panels or from a gas or propane generator and then feed the electricity right where you need it.
Luckily, also, when we wired our house we planned to add a battery back up system later. We had separated out the essential appliances we want to be able to power in emergency: the water pump, the heater pump for our hydronic baseboard heaters, and the plugs in our office so we can run computers and phone. But you can just as easily run a cord with multiple plugs.
From past experience living entirely off the grid with solar electricity, we know that refrigerators and electrical appliances with heat elements are huge energy draws and so we did not plan to power them in an emergency.
Took Mark about an hour to wire the batteries into a 12-volt configuration, connect them to the inverter/charger and run a wire to our breaker box. Flipped the switch and, bingo, the water pump started refilling the pressure tank, the heat pump started up, and the house heated up. We were able to run the essential appliances for the next two days simply on the energy from the batteries, without recharging them. If the power had been out for much longer we would have charged them with solar panels or with a gas generator.
We really don’t like the idea of using a gas generator because they are messy, unreliable and hard to start (unless you spend really big bucks), and they depend on a non-renewable fuel that is in limited supply here during extreme weather conditions. A couple of weeks past the big storm, we’ve installed one of our Wholesale Solar battery backup systems that includes a Magnum Sinewave inverter and UPG sealed batteries in a slick attractive cabinet. We found room in a closet near the breaker box to put it all. We’ll remember this winter storm for a long time, and we’ll be better prepared next time.
This handsome Midnite Solar battery enclosure (with lock) easily holds eight 6 volt batteries, the Magnum inverter and safety disconnects.
The battery monitor is mounted on the wall in our hallway so we can keep an eye on the battery charge. Batteries for our system are kept charged by grid power. If power is out for too long I'll show you how we use solar panels to charge the batteries!
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