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Considerations When Selecting Appliances

When your solar electric power system incorpoprates a good quality sinewave inverter, commonly available household appliances will function satisfactorily. This does not mean that 'commonly available' appliances are the best choice, however. Below are some of my thoughts on appliance slection. Remember, I live off-grid, so energy efficiency is of paramount importance to me.

Phantom Loads:

    Phantom Loads draw electricity all day, every day. Typically these phantom loads only draw a small amount of power. BUT this small amount of power is sustained all day, every day. These loads, although small individually, add up over time and can be a major problem in an off grid home. It is to one's advantage to remove these loads from your home.

    Examples of phantom loads include electric clocks, appliances that incorporate digital clocks, any electronic item that responds to a remote control, etc. Some appliances such as washing machines can draw power even though they are 'off'. The power supply for my inkjet printer draws enough power to keep my inverter out of standby mode, even when the printer is turned off.

    You need to keep appliances drawing phantom loads isolated from your AC power when the items are not actually in use. Switched power strips are ideal for this - with one switch you can keep your TV, VCR or DVD, and Satellite Receiver isolated, for just one example.


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Last update: 5MAY2003

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