Like a seriously unwelcomed but all-too-familiar guest, load shedding has returned. South Africans will be without power for many hours of each day.
To help you get through the powerless days and dark nights, Brights Hardware has prepared a list of 10 must-have items that will keep your home (and office spaces) functional and lit during a power outage.
1) Battery powered LED lighting
“Battery powered LED lighting is essential during power outages,” says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware. “There is a wide range of rechargeable LED light strips, lanterns, and torches available that make keeping the lights on during load-shedding easy. Look for options that have Li-Ion batteries instead of Lead-acid for longer life span.”
2) Smart LED lights
Another great item to have in the home are intelligent LED light bulbs. These bulbs come in either a screw or bayonet configuration and can be used like a standard light bulb in any light fixture, but they stay on during load-shedding as they hold charge for up to four hours.
3) Solar lighting
In addition to rechargeable solutions, there is a wide range of solar powered lighting on the market today. These range from spotlights/security lights to solar lanterns, garden lighting and even pool lights. “Solar powered lighting is a great solution in a sun-rich country such as ours,” advises Luis. “There is no cost to recharge them, and many are practically “set & forget” and will come on automatically after sundown. Remember not to mount the solar panel on a south facing wall that will be in the shade for most of the day which will not make the battery charge effectively.”
4) Gas stove/cooker
Boiling water and getting meals prepared during power outages is impossible without a gas stove or cooker. Thankfully there are many different options available to consumers today – whether it is a large gas hob and oven or just a simple, portable table-top one or two-plate gas cooker – and many more options in between.
“Many people are choosing to change their ovens over from electrical to gas. Not only does this mean you can carry on your dinner preparations during a power outage, but your electricity bill will also be reduced through the introduction of gas appliances,” says Luis.
5) Gas geyser or water heater
Although loadshedding is generally not long enough to cool the contents of your geyser, we all need to start looking at long term solutions to reduce our reliance on the energy grid,” says Luis. “A good option is to convert to a gas geyser, which is cheaper to run than an electric one and offers instant heat.”
6) A generator
If budget allows, investing in a generator is a great way to make power outages less intrusive. “There are many different models and options to consider,” says Luis. “Entry level two stroke generators, such as a 950-watt unit, are unreliable if the petrol/oil mixture is not consistent, so Brights recommends starting with no lower than a four-stroke generator.”
Luis explains that with a two-stroke model you have to premix the oil and fuel first in the correct ratios, whereas with a four-stroke unit the fuel is housed in a separate tank and the oil in the engine like in a motor car. Luis further explains that the higher the wattage of the generator the more power it outputs and so the more electricity it generates.
7) Inverters – because silence is golden
This then introduces the question – what about people who live in complexes and housing estates that are not allowed to run a generator because of the noise pollution? Luis says that the best option here is to purchase a pure sine wave inverter with batteries. All these units are silent except for the cooling fan which blows on the side. They also switch on automatically during load shedding.
8) Portable power bank
We all want to stay connected, especially in the dark. No electricity coupled with no means of communication is not a great combination.
“Portable power banks are a fantastic solution to ensure that you don’t run out of cell phone battery life,” advises Luis. “These compact gadgets can also charge other devices such as tablets, portable modems and speakers.”
9) A surge protector
It is a good idea to purchase a surge protector for your home or office. This is an electrical device that is used to protect equipment against power surges and voltage spikes that can be caused by power cuts.
“Surge protection can range from plug and play devices to systems installed at the distribution board by a registered electrician.”
10) Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS sine wave inverter)
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power. A UPS differs from a generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions by supplying energy stored in batteries. It is a type of continual power system. “A UPS is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment or other electrical equipment where an unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.”