When designing a solar power system, it’s important to carefully calculate your power needs. Whether the system is for your home, shed, or RV, accurate calculations ensure that you have enough solar power to use all of your electronic devices each day. But in addition to the continuous power needs of your electronic systems, you should also be checking their surge power needs. What is surge power, and why do you need to include those watts in your calculations? Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Surge Power?
Surge power refers to the higher surge of energy that certain appliances require when starting up. While not all electronics and appliances require surge power, many of the items you use every day require that additional jolt of electricity when they’re first turned on. Then, their electricity usage drops down to a steady consumption rate. Unfortunately, not all appliances clearly display their surge power needs, so remembering to include that number in your calculations can require you to do some research of your own.
Why Does Surge Power Matter?
Simply put, a system that’s designed to only meet your continuous power needs can prove to be nearly useless if it can’t also meet your surge power needs. When you don’t include surge power in your calculations, you might find that certain large devices and appliances can’t power on at all; even if you have a large enough system to meet their continuous power ratings, it won’t matter much if you can’t get that engine to turn over, as it were.
While you might feel like you’re “oversizing” your system by building one large enough to meet those surge power needs, doing so is essential to your system’s overall operation and your ability to use all of your systems and devices while using solar power.
Surge Power Needs of Common Appliances
Not sure which devices might need additional surge power? Here are a few examples of common appliances, their continuous power requirements, and their additional surge power needs:
- Central AC (24,000 BTU) – 3,800 W continuous power, 11,400 W additional surge power
- Dishwasher – 1,500 W continuous power, 1,500 W additional surge power
- Refrigerator/freezer – 700 W continuous power, 2,200 W additional surge power
- Electric dryer – 5,400 W continuous power, 6,750 W additional surge power
- Washing machine – 1,150 W continuous power, 2,250 W additional surge power
As you can see, the additional surge power needs of your appliances can be significant. Make sure that your system is large enough to accommodate these needs, and that you have the best pure sine wave inverter able to handle high surge loads.