Home Battery Backup Buying Guide
Home Battery Backup Buying Guide
Having a backup power source can make a huge difference to your comfort and safety life during a power outage. In the past, this typically meant using generators that were powered by propane or gasoline. But today, we have much cleaner alternatives to generators, including backup battery banks.
Battery Backups operate on electricity and can either work as an independent device or as part of a home solar system. When your lights go out, your battery backup system will automatically switch on and serve as a power source for several hours, a day, or longer (this is depending on several factors, which we are covered below).
However, all these benefits come at a price. Installing a backup battery system can be a significant investment so it is important to understand what is involved. So, let's go and learn more about battery backup systems, including how they work, how they're made, how much they cost, and where you can buy them.
How battery backups work
As we mentioned earlier, backup batteries are powered by electricity. They can be charged in two ways: using electricity from the utility grid or using solar energy as part of a solar panel system.
If your battery backup is set up as a standalone power source and is not connected to solar panels, you can expect it to provide power for several hours or a day, that is depending on how many appliances you are using, and how big the wattage they are. If you are expecting more power, you can set up several battery banks on the same system.
However, if your battery backup is part of a residential solar system, you can keep going using your backup power source as long as your solar panels are producing energy and delivering it to your home backup batteries.
Benefits of battery backup systems
Whether you have solar panels or not, battery backup has plenty of advantages. For example, they can help you gain electrical energy independence so you don't have to rely on the public grid. This is especially critical if you live in a place with frequent power outages or blackouts.
On top of that, battery backups don't run on fossil fuels and provide a clean energy source for your home. Unlike propane-powered or gasoline-powered generators, backup batteries are nearly silent to operate and don't emit carbon into the atmosphere.
You can also use the battery backup system to reduce your electric costs even if the power hasn't gone out. For example, if you have a time-of-use utility plan, you can draw on the energy from your batteries during peak hours instead of paying sky-high electricity rates to your energy company.
Different types of battery backups
There are several types of batteries used in battery backup systems, including lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, lead-acid batteries, and flow batteries. Let's analyze which type of battery is best for you.
Lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries
Today, lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the most popular for home systems. The most common battery backup products are lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, including the Enjoybot lithium batteries. They are portable, lightweight, and energy-efficient, making them perfect for home use.
The lead-acid battery has been used for hundreds of years and they were the primary type of battery used in so many applications. They are cheaper than lithium-iron phosphate batteries, but their efficiency is not as high as lithium-ion batteries. Users almost can only use 50% of capacity per charge, otherwise, they will be damaged or shorten their lifespan.
The flow battery (also known as redox flow battery) is not commonly used in home backup power systems since it is primarily designed for commercial use. However, this technology seems promising and may be more widely applied in residential battery backup systems in the near future. However, people have to consider the cost and maintenance of flow batteries.
Purchasing, setting up, and maintaining battery backup systems
You can get battery backups from a range of businesses, such as manufacturers, battery retailers, and solar companies. The amount cost will depend on which battery model you choose and how many units you want to purchase for your power system, but most average-sized systems will cost around $5,000 to $10,000 (This is excluding installation fees). However, if you are purchasing battery backups as part of a solar system, you may qualify for a rebate or tax credit (This is depending on your local country policy).
Once you have decided to set up a battery backup system, you will need to make sure to have it professionally installed, otherwise, you will run a risk of electrocuting or injuring yourself. You will likely require to pay a few thousand dollars for the installation (This part is separate from the cost of the battery). After the initial setup, there is less maintenance required on a battery backup system. That is depending on the battery model you choose. Usually, lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries don't need extra maintenance, don't require to replenish a fuel source, and also don't worry about the noise (like you would with a generator).
Lifespan and warranties
After a few years of installation, you may observe that your home backup battery is not charging as well as before. That is because battery backups lose storage capacity over time (This depends on the battery type you use). In a long run, you can choose the latest technology batteries, such as lithium battery, which has a longer lifespan, longer working time, and more efficiency.
Is a battery backup right for you?
A battery backup makes the most sense if you have a solar system or plan to install one with a battery backup. In these cases, your solar-plus-storage system will supply you with continuous electricity when your power grid goes out. Without these panels, you will be limited to much energy is stored in your battery, and you'll have no way to generate more.
We live in a bright world that relies on electricity to function. Once the power goes out, we will fall into trouble. That's why we need to set up a reliable backup power system.
There is a lot that goes into selecting a backup battery system. You will have to consider many factors, such as costs, battery types, installation logistics, and the potential long-term return on the investment, all of which can complicate the purchasing process. I hope this blog article can help you with that.