Except for the big metros like Mumbai, Delhi, and so on, you experience voltage fluctuations almost everywhere in India. Almost every night you find the AC tripping up frequently.
As you go deep into the summer months, the frequency of tripping increases manifold. The same is the case with your Led TV, fridge, and washing machines.
When you experience tripping, you also put your electrical appliances at great risk.
The only way to avoid these tripping is to install a voltage stabilizer.
Buying Guide for Voltage Stabilizers
As you move out of the major cities in India, you frequently hear the term, ‘voltage fluctuation.’ Now,
What is voltage fluctuation?
What harm can voltage fluctuations do?
How do you deal with voltage fluctuations?
This buying guide will answer these questions and much more.
What is voltage fluctuation?
Ideally, the input voltage in your home electric circuit is in the range of 220 to 230V AC (Alternating Current). What will happen if the input voltage drops down to below 220V or rises above 230V?
For example, you have the incandescent bulbs in your house. Yes, some houses still use these bulbs even after the introduction of the LCD and LED bulbs and tubes. Have you ever seen them becoming dim at times where you can see the filament clearly without straining your eyes?
It is a result of low voltage. Similarly, you also see extreme brightness due to high voltage. This dropping and rising of the input voltage over the standard 230V is what we refer to as voltage fluctuation.
Reasons for voltage fluctuations
There are many reasons for voltage fluctuations. One of the primary reasons is the fluctuation in the input supply from the main grid.
Bad wiring in the house or inadequate earthing can also cause voltage fluctuations. Short circuit is also one of the reasons for voltage fluctuations.
They can also occur when you suddenly switch on high-powered appliances such as AC units, electric motors, pump sets, and so on. Overloading can also cause voltage fluctuations.
Can Voltage fluctuations harm your appliances?
Usually, all home circuits have circuit breakers. Therefore, if there is any voltage fluctuation beyond the acceptable limits, the circuit trips thereby protecting your appliances from harm.
Technically speaking, a sudden switch off will not harm your appliance. However, there can be voltage surges during the restoration of the current supply. This surge can damage your electronic appliances.
In the absence of a circuit breaker, low voltage can cause harm to appliances that use motors or compressors.
The solution is to install a voltage stabilizer and ensure that the electric supply to your electrical appliances like AC, TV, fridge, and washing machines passes through the voltage stabilizer.
The Role of the Voltage Stabilizer
The name suggests that the voltage stabilizer is a device that stabilizes the voltage. In other words, it brings the voltage to the desirable range during any fluctuation.
If the input voltage is higher than the acceptable range, the stabilizer reduces the output voltage. On the other hand, if the input voltage is low, it steps up or increases the output voltage.
The voltage stabilizers use electronic regulators that use tap changers with autotransformers.
Thus, the voltage stabilizer acts as a safeguarding mechanism between your equipment and the utility by constantly monitoring the fluctuations and maintaining the output voltage in a trouble-free range.
The choice of the right voltage stabilizer
]The sizing of the stabilizer depends on the load you connect to it. Note down the power consumption of all the appliances that you propose to connect to the voltage stabilizer.
The sum total of the power consumption figure of the individual components gives you the load on stabilizer in watts. The stabilizers sizes come in Volt Amperes (VA) or Kilo Volt Amperes (KVA). 1 KVA = 1000 VA.
You have your power consumption load in watts. You need to convert this figure into VA. As a thumb rule, you can add 20% to the watts value to get the approximate VA size you need.
Therefore, if your proposed consumption is 1000 watts, you should go for a voltage stabilizer having capacity of 1200 VA or 1.2 KVA.
Things to look for while buying a voltage stabilizer
Check the input voltage range in your home. Usually, it is 230V AC in India.
Check out the range of the voltage stabilizer. If you opt for a stabilizer in the range of 150V to 250V, it means that the stabilizer will switch off the current if the input voltage goes below 150V or above 250V.
If the input voltage is in this range, the stabilizer will stabilize the input voltage and set it to 230V AC, the desirable output voltage range.
Make sure your voltage stabilizer has surge protection or spike guards. There can be a huge surge of input current during restoration of current or during lightning strikes and short circuits.
Under such circumstances, the surge protection feature switches off the current supply to the connected appliance and ensures there is no damage to it.
Salient features of a voltage stabilizer
You should look into these salient features while purchasing a voltage stabilizer.
High-level mount: Placing your voltage stabilizer on the ground can be unsafe because there is a danger of it getting wet or damaged.
Secondly placing it at a high level not only protects it from damage but also prevents you or your children from exposure to accidental electric shocks.
Indicators: The modern-day voltage stabilizers come with LED indicators that display the input and output voltage.
In the olden days, you had the galvanometer-type indicators where you have to ascertain the reading by watching the movement of the arrows on the calibrated indicators.
Digital models: The advantage of the digital stabilizers is that they adapt well to different appliances. You have to plug in the devices to these stabilizers and avail the benefit.
Time Delay Function: Your appliances like the AC and the refrigerators have compressors. These compressors need sufficient time to balance the current flow during a power cut situation. The voltage stabilizers come with the time-delay function that enables a time-lapse to protect these compressors.
Overload Protection: The present-day voltage stabilizers come equipped with an overload protection feature whereby the voltage stabilizer switches off the current supply in case of short circuits or overloading.
Frequently Asked Questions – Voltage Stabilizers
Now, you would not find it a challenge to buy the right voltage stabilizer for your expensive electrical and electronic appliances.
We have discussed the buying guide in detail and reviewed about a dozen voltage stabilizers for different appliances such as AC units, TVs, and refrigerators.
1. Do we have multiple-phase voltage stabilizers?
Just as we have single-phase and three-phase current supply, we have multiple-phase voltage stabilizers. However, you will need using these three-phase voltage stabilizers only if you have a three-phase motor or you require providing stabilizing voltage for the entire three-phase setup.Usually, our electrical and electronic appliances work on the one-phase stabilizers.
There is no need to connect your entire house to a voltage stabilizer. These stabilizers also consume electricity. If you use these devices for a single appliance like your AC or your TV, you can always switch it off when not required.
2. How much current do these voltage stabilizers consume?
Many people are unaware that voltage stabilizers also consume electricity. The energy consumption of the stabilizers depends on their efficiency. A stabilizer with an efficiency of 95% to 98% (as is the norm) will consume 2% to 5% of the load.
Resultantly, a 1000 VA stabilizer will consume up to 50 watts (peak load). Leaving the stabilizer switched on for 10 hours can result in consumption of 0.5 units of electricity.
3. Is it advisable to have individual stabilizers or a consolidated mainline stabilizer?
Not all your electrical devices need the support of a stabilizer. You should be protecting your expensive appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, air-conditioners, and so on with voltage stabilizers.
It is better to use dedicated UPS for computers as the UPS mechanism is different from that of a stabilizer. As voltage stabilizers also consume electricity, you should not use mainline stabilizers. You can switch off the individual voltage stabilizers if you do not intend to use the appliance.
4. What is the concept of in-built voltage stabilizers in the modern refrigerators and TVs?
Most of the modern TVs, refrigerators, and AC units come with in-built voltage stabilizers. The usage of electronic circuits like the SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) makes voltage management easy. The present-day LED TVs can work even under low voltage.
The mechanism is such that they can work in the voltage range of 110V to 290V. Therefore, there is no need to have a dedicated voltage stabilizer for such devices. Even refrigerators, AC units, and washing machines come equipped with such in-built stabilizers.
5. Are there different stabilizers for different appliances?
Every appliance in the house has different features. They come with specific energy limits. Depending on the energy limit, you need voltage stabilizers. The manufacturers engineer these voltage stabilizers after considering the energy limits of these appliances.
Hence, you have different voltage stabilizers for TVs, washing machines, ACs, refrigerators, music systems, ovens, and so on. The following categories of voltage stabilizers are available in India.
Digital Stabilizer for LED/LCD TV and Music Systems, Stabilizers for CRT TV and Music Systems, Stabilizers for AC, Stabilizers for Washing machines, microwave ovens, and treadmill, Stabilizers for Refrigerators, Mainline Voltage Stabilizer
6. Why do LED/LCD TVs need voltage stabilzers when they have in-built voltage stabilizers?
Most of the LED and LCD TVs come with in-built stabilizers that can handle voltage fluctuations in the range 110V to 290V. The only use for the external voltage stabilizers for such machines is that the surge protection feature in the stabilizers protects these appliances from sudden current surges.
Electrical surges can occur when you suddenly switch on high-voltage appliances like electric motors and ACs. It can also occur during lightning strikes, short circuits, and at times during restoration of electricity supply after a long period of power outage.
7. Why do we use UPS for computers instead of voltage stabilizers?
The voltage stabilizer can stabilize the output voltage, but cannot store and power up an appliance. The computers need some time for you save the work and shut it down safely in case of a power cut.
The UPS allows you to do these activities by continuing the electricity supply to the computers even during a power outage.
8. What is the difference between an inverter and a voltage stabilizer?
An inverter is a device that converts DC into AC and helps your appliances function during power cuts. The inverters come with a battery that enables you to store electricity and use during a power outage. The voltage stabilizer does nothing of this sort.
The job of the voltage stabilizer is to stabilize the input current and ensure that the appliance receives electricity within the prescribed voltage range (230V). It does not work during a power outage.
9. What is a step-up and step-down stabilizer?
The principal responsibility of the stabilizer is to ensure that the output current is within the acceptable range of 220V to 240V. If the input voltage is less than 220V, the stabilizer increases the output voltage to a minimum of 220V.
Under such circumstances, you refer to it as a step-up voltage stabilizer. On the other hand, if the input voltage is higher than the standard range, the voltage stabilizer reduces the voltage to maintain the level within the permissible limits. Thus, it acts as a step-down stabilizer.
VS Chaitanya is a Computer engineer, creator, and editor in chief of Kitchenarena. He is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert and has experience of Ten years in technology news reporting and his area of expertise includes Large Appliances and Electronics.