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How to Choose the Best Home Battery Backup

Dec 25, 2023

We're here to help you find the best home backup battery to use when the lights go out.

Power interruptions can frustrate anyone. Picture yourself stuck in a dark, uncomfortably hot, or poorly cooled home. It's an undesirable scenario that a power outage can impose on anyone.

Suppose power goes out or unsafe power fluctuations occur. In that case, a home battery backup can instantly step in, providing reliable energy for all your devices, including servers, wireless networking equipment, TVs, computers, and gaming consoles.

This guide will help you find the ideal home battery backup to handle power outages, voltage fluctuations, and other interruptions.

A home battery backup is a system that stores energy from the power grid or renewable energy sources, like solar and wind. You can use the stored energy to power your home during outages or peak demand when prices soar.

To set up a robust home battery backup system, you'll need several components, including wires, cables, and a battery charger. But here are the main components.

A backup battery is a device that stores the electricity generated by your solar panels or the grid. This stored energy can be used later during power outages or peak demand periods.

The charge controller is the device responsible for regulating the amount of energy delivered to the battery. It ensures the battery charges properly and prevents overcharging, promoting extended battery life.

Charge controllers come in two primary types: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) and PWM (Pulse Width Modulation).

Batteries and solar panels produce electricity in direct current (DC), but homes and the electric grid typically use alternating current (AC). That's where inverters come in.

Inverters are crucial for the battery's energy storage and conversion. Hybrid inverters, for example, can convert AC to DC or DC to AC.

Just to note, hybrid inverters are incredibly robust and can work independently without needing a charge controller.

Batteries fail due to various reasons, some of which are easily detectable and preventable. To address such issues, consider installing a remote monitoring device on your system and start receiving instant alerts about backup power supply issues via SMS, email, or an online dashboard.

Home battery backups come in various types, each with unique designs, performances, and maintenance requirements. Here are the common types of home battery backups.

Lead-acid batteries employ the same technology used in most car batteries for decades and are a common choice for home energy storage. Despite being cost-effective, they have low energy density, and their efficiency is often moderate at best.

Lithium-ion batteries operate on a charging and discharging principle similar to that of regular rechargeable batteries. They're lightweight, energy-efficient, and are a common choice for homeowners. There are a number of popular lithium-ion batteries for home use.

Flow Batteries

Flow batteries (redox flow batteries) rely on chemical reactions, using liquid electrolytes flowing between the battery chambers to generate energy.

Even though they boast impressive scalability, minimal self-discharge, long life cycles, and efficient cooling during operation, flow batteries are rarely used in residential battery backup systems. This is because they're primarily large-sized and expensive, and only a few companies manufacture them.

Saltwater batteries are relatively new battery types that use a saltwater solution to store and release energy. These batteries are eco-friendly, non-toxic, and long-lasting, making them a viable option for environmentally conscious homeowners.

People use electricity for various everyday purposes, like lighting, heating, and cooling their homes, making it crucial for users to choose the battery that can provide optimal performance. Here are the things to keep in mind when looking for a home battery backup.

Before setting up a battery backup system, it's essential to evaluate your energy demands and select batteries with the right capacity.

Battery capacity refers to the amount of electrical energy a battery can store, measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). You can power your home using a single large battery or multiple batteries stacked together. The latter option typically provides a larger storage capacity.

Round-trip efficiency is a measure of how much electricity put into storage is later retrieved, expressed as a percentage, and a higher percentage indicates minimal energy loss during storage. If a battery takes in 100 kWh of electricity but can only output 80 kWh, its round-trip efficiency would be 80%.

Over time, battery backups lose storage capacity, leading to a decline in charge-holding capacity. For this reason, many battery backups include a warranty detailing their expected efficiency by the time the warranty expires.

Leading batteries, including the lithium-ion-based Tesla Powerwall, often feature a 10-year warranty with around 70% capacity retention. This means the battery should maintain 70% of its original capacity by the end of the warranty period.

Some batteries might not work well with existing components of a battery backup system or those made by different manufacturers.

Selecting a battery compatible with both existing components and those from various manufacturers (like solar panels, inverters, and charge controllers) offers flexibility and the potential to save on purchasing costs.

Another crucial consideration is whether you want a battery rechargeable via grid or solar. Choosing a battery that recharges via solar or, ideally, both methods can provide greater reliability during outages.

Setting up a home battery backup system might be financially demanding, primarily due to the costs of buying and installing the batteries. The initial expenditure, however, varies depending on the battery model and quantity required to power your home.

While investing in home battery backups tend to be cheaper in the long run, it's crucial to consider the trade-offs between brand reputation and the different battery types. Take into account aspects like the number of batteries required, maintenance demands, and replacement costs.

Power outages, fluctuations, and other disturbances can potentially damage your home appliances and devices, including entertainment, communication, and security systems.

However, a home battery backup can come to the rescue by storing sufficient energy to power your entire home when grid electricity is unavailable or costly. It also helps prevent risks associated with power issues, like voltage spikes, fluctuations in power grid frequency, and harmonic distortion.

Denis is an environmental science graduate who started freelance writing in 2016, while still working as a loan officer. He mostly writes on topics related to cybersecurity threats, security vulnerabilities, and cloud security best practices. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to music.