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Generator or Inverter?

While the immediate reaction to power outages is to rush off and buy a generator - these appear to be the most popular choice because they seem to be the most widely known. But what about investing in an Inverter?


The Mr. Power team are constantly asked to provide a solution ‘to run the whole house’ which should be thought through carefully as homes differ in size and needs. Roger Bulgin, from Mr. Power, guides his clients through a basic power-audit to prioritise needs and make an educated decision. Below is a list of the common myths:

MYTH: My whole home needs power

THE TRUTH: Not everything in the home needs back up power during an average 4-hour outage. If you plan on investing in back-up power, make a list of essential appliances that must have power during load shedding.





MYTH: Food in the fridge will perish during load shedding

THE TRUTH: As long as you limit opening and closing the door, the temperature will not suffer dramatically and the food will be safe for eating.

MYTH: During a power failure I will have to shower or bath in cold water

THE TRUTH: Provided your geyser was heated prior to load shedding you will have between 150-200 litres of hot water available. An average shower uses 20-40 litres of hot water. With a Mr. Power showerhead you can reduce this by 40%. Plus, with the Mr. Power Geyser Controller the geyser is heated during off-peak times and can save 40%-60% of your monthly hot water costs.

MYTH: I can’t cook without electricity

THE TRUTH: explore a gas option – either a gas hob for your stove or a more simple portable plate connected to a gas cylinder. There is always the traditional braai option of course

MYTH: If the power fails unexpectedly, I will return after work to a dark home

THE TRUTH: create a list of which lighting, exactly, is a necessity, then research cost effective alternatives such as solar lights, battery operated globes and of course the good old fashioned candle. Plug-in emergency lights, strategically placed, are ideal for unanticipated power outages

MYTH: I can’t read or watch TV without power and can’t entertain my family

THE TRUTH: based on Mr. Power’s calculations above, it is easy to keep your entertainment centre going with a Mr. Power back up inverter (whether it be TV or internet based) as it draws around 500 watts

MYTH: I must have a generator

THE TRUTH: your power needs could probably be solved using an inverter solution where you simply plug the emergency power supply into the wall socket and the items you need to run are plugged into the back of the unit

MYTH: installing and having a generator is easy and simple

THE TRUTH: a generator is expensive to purchase, requires regular maintenance and can be costly to run as they need diesel or petrol to run. This means buying and re-fuelling manually and fairly regularly. A 30kW generator uses up to 8 litres of fuel per hour which is around R100 per hour. They are noisy and are required to be placed in a well-ventilated and easily accessible location

To protect sensitive appliances and equipment from power surges, switch off (or unplug)  immediately when the power goes off, (either at the plug or electricity board).  Pre-preparation is key which includes family or business ‘load-shedding drills’.

For more advice and information on how to lighten your load, please visit