Loadshedding: Are Your Appliances In Danger?
As we head into the final months of 2021, Eskom's dreaded load shedding has once again become a daily part of life for South Africans.
Apart from the inconvenience, there have undoubtedly been many concerns about how load shedding affects – and perhaps destroys – cell phones, geysers, decoders, modems, gate motors, and other equipment, as well as how you can protect yourself.
The good news is that with enough information and forethought, you can do a lot to safeguard your belongings and your bank account.
What damage does loadshedding do?
According to energy experts, the consequences of load shedding vary greatly depending on the type of device.
Load shedding puts batteries, which are used in everything from cell phones to gate motors to alarms and backup systems, at risk. A battery's lifetime is drastically diminished if it is totally discharged. What’s more, battery manufacturers only guarantee a certain number of charging cycles. Load shedding causes more charging cycles, which affects battery life.
When the power is turned on and off, pure resistance devices such as stoves, geysers, kettles, and heaters remain unaffected.
Refrigerators, tumble dryers, lawnmowers, dishwashers, washing machines, hair dryers, and gate motors typically feature an electric motor that is susceptible to surges when the power is cut. Although unprotected electronics – often very old appliances – may be harmed, protection safeguards are typically built-in to shield electronic components from surges, thus damage is uncommon in reality.
Mobile phone chargers, decoders, laptops, radios, and modems all need a little amount of energy and often utilise a power source that converts the high supply current to a lower, direct current voltage.
These power supplies are often quite powerful and prevent surges from reaching the devices. Surge protection is also usually provided by batteries. When power changes cause damage, it's usually simply the power source that has to be replaced.
Refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners all use compressors, leaving them vulnerable since pressurized gas may produce resistance and harm the device's engine when the power is put back on.
Load shedding makes 3-phase power systems susceptible because one or more of the phases may be lost when power returns, causing 3-phase motors to only partially operate and burn out.
What you can do to protect your equipment
During load shedding, there are some measures that can be taken to safeguard your equipment, your property, and yourself:
- During load shedding, turn off refrigerators and air conditioners. Switch on these appliances one by one as soon as the power is restored and steady – no flickering or dimmed lights, for example.
- If power is restored, turn off any equipment that might present a fire hazard.
- Protecting your electronics with a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is a wise idea. It should keep them powered long enough to safely shut them down.
- Refrigerators and freezers should be kept closed to keep them colder for longer.
- Have the most recent load shedding schedules on hand so that you and your family can prepare for the power loss.
- Purchase a few high-wattage solar lights for your yard, as well as a few LED lights for your home. Would-be burglars are deterred by light.
- Keep your phone charged or invest in a portable phone charger so you can still get hold of people if necessary.
It's also critical to help reduce grid stress by using energy-efficient bulbs and appliances, smart plugs and timers, involving your entire household in energy conservation, and investing in alternative energy sources such as a generator, backup battery system, or solar system.
The key is to think about all the ways things may go wrong ahead of time and plan accordingly.
Luckily for you, when it comes to our products, we’ve made it easy for you.
Load shedding doesn’t have to be a worry where Solenco air purifiers and dehumidifiers are involved. These appliances are fitted with auto-restart technology, removing the stress of loadshedding damage when that power surge hits, and making sure the air quality in your home isn’t compromised no matter the time of day.
Whether you’re a family living in a large house, or a bachelor on your own, we have a wide variety of options to choose from in deciding upon the right dehumidifier for you.