The quality of electricity among residents of urban apartments is usually higher than that of owners of private houses and, especially, summer residents. Of course, urban electricity networks are also far from always ideal, but the fluctuations encountered in them are still less than in rural areas and the private sector. However, even small differences in the supply voltage can interfere with the normal functioning of modern household appliances and electronics. Therefore, a voltage stabilizer is often necessary in urban environments.
In which case a voltage stabilizer is needed in the apartment?
If a stabilizer is almost always needed for a private house and cottage, then everything is not so simple with city apartments. Firstly, the remoteness of apartment buildings from power plants is less, therefore, critically low voltage indicators are less common than in the countryside. Secondly, strong network swings in the city are the exception rather than the rule.
The presence of voltage fluctuations is easy to determine with the naked eye. Noise in the speakers and on the screens of the video reproducing devices, the blinking of the lights, the change in the sound of the refrigerator or the washing machine clearly indicate that a voltage regulator is needed.
But what if such signs are not observed - can one be sure of the absence of voltage drops and the safety of one’s equipment? Unfortunately not. Small fluctuations in the network may not manifest itself visually, but slowly “grind” the electronic stuffing of modern household appliances, adversely affecting its durability and performance.
You can check your electricity network for the quality of the electricity coming from it by using the help of an electrician or yourself. It is enough, using a multimeter, to measure the voltage at the outlet during minimum consumption (for example, at the height of the working day) and during maximum load (morning, evening or weekend). The data obtained should be compared with indicators of permissible deviations, which should not exceed 10% of the rated voltage:
for 230 V networks - not less than 207 V and not more than 253 V;
for 220 V networks - not less than 198 and not more than 242 V.
If the measured voltage is in the installed aisles, stabilization is not required, with the exception of equipment requiring power supply, the quality of which exceeds the existing standards (for the household sector this technique is a clear exception). In case of power surges above or below the specified standards, you should think about buying a stabilizer. The need for it will grow along with an increase in the voltage deviation from the standard value.
What technique needs a primary voltage stabilization?
Before buying a stabilizer, you need to decide which equipment will be connected to the device. It should be understood that some types of household appliances are more resistant to fluctuations in network electricity than others. Consider the impact of power supply quality on the operation of the most common electrical appliances in urban apartments:
Fridges. Modern models perfectly perform their functions with voltage changes within 10%. In the case of more significant deviations, you still need a voltage stabilizer for the refrigerator, otherwise such equipment may go into defense and turn off. If the refrigerator still starts up at a reduced or increased input voltage, then long-term operation in such conditions is fraught with a reduction in the compressor working life. Older models of refrigerators react even to the slightest fluctuations in the mains voltage, which is audible by a change in the sound of their work. A motor burned out due to a network differential is a common cause of breakdown.
TVs. Products of the latest generations are stable at floating voltage. The built-in switching power supplies equalize the network signal and support a wide range of input values up to 110 V at the bottom and 260 V at the top. However, if dips below the specified value in a city apartment are almost impossible, then voltage surges above 260 V can occur. Therefore, in some cases, a voltage stabilizer for the TV will be required.
PCs, laptops and office equipment. In modern PCs, laptops and monitors, switching power supplies are used, similar to television ones, therefore, in the conditions of small network differences, there is no threat to such devices. Strong power surges are dangerous for the power supply itself - it may fail. In the presence of such phenomena, it is worth taking care of protecting your equipment with a voltage stabilizer for PC and office equipment.
Iron. It will work at almost any network performance, but at low voltage the device will not be able to warm up to the desired temperature, and at high voltage it will quickly overheat.
Audio equipment. Power surges adversely affect sound quality. With small fluctuations, a surge protector is sufficient for correct operation. In the case of severe deviations, an improvement in sound is guaranteed only by a voltage stabilizer for audio equipment.
Climatic equipment. Air conditioners, fans, heat guns, humidifiers are dependent on the parameters of the supply voltage. Deviations from the nominal values adversely affect the reliability and durability of their electric motors. For example, an air conditioner in conditions of unstable power supply will operate at reduced power or fail. Therefore, such equipment in the presence of any network fluctuations should be used only with a voltage regulator.
Vacuum cleaners. The main unit of any vacuum cleaner is a compressor, implemented on the basis of a motor that is sensitive to the quality of electricity. The result of power surges for the vacuum cleaner will be either partial power operation or premature failure.
Washing machines. Automatic and semi-automatic models have an electric motor, so any deviations in the mains will adversely affect their performance and service life. In addition, sudden surges of voltage will cause constant triggering of protective automation and will affect the built-in water heaters that will not heat up the water or fail. Undoubtedly, a voltage stabilizer for the washing machine is required even with minimal deviations of the mains voltage from the established norms.
Dishwashers. The principle of their operation and the device are largely similar to washing machines, respectively, and the problems arising from voltage fluctuations in the electrical network are similar. Therefore, for stable operation and prolonged life, it is necessary to connect a voltage stabilizer for the dishwasher. It will improve the quality of its work and extend its life.
Microwaves. Under reduced voltage, they will not be able to provide the declared radiation power. If the nominal voltage is significantly exceeded, the control electronics and the power supply may fail. Therefore, in order not to get cold food in a hot dish, it is recommended to use a voltage stabilizer for the microwave.
Energy-saving lamps. Very sensitive and quickly burn out with frequent voltage drops (in cases where ordinary lamps simply blink). In addition, at low voltage they may not turn on at all.
LED bulbs. They practically do not respond to changes in the network and shine with the same brightness in a wide input voltage range (the limits of permissible values depend on the quality of the built-in current regulator).
Incandescent lamps. Conventional lamps are more resistant to network fluctuations than energy-saving. But at low voltage, their light dims noticeably, and at high voltage it becomes brighter, which negatively affects a person’s vision, and also reduces the lamp life and causes an excessive consumption of electricity.
Electric heaters. When the voltage drops, they will not be able to warm up to the required temperature and will not fulfill their direct functions. With increased voltage, models equipped with automation will turn off, and simpler ones may overheat and not only fail, but also cause a fire.
After analyzing the foregoing, we can conclude that all household appliances to a greater or lesser extent depend on the quality of the supply voltage. Therefore, if there are any deviations from the established normative values in the electrical network of your apartment, it is advisable to invest once on a high-quality and modern stabilizer for household appliances that can guarantee the correct functioning of electrical appliances.
What type of voltage regulator is suitable for an apartment?
Immediately discard the technically obsolete and unsuitable for modern domestic use ferroresonant devices. The remaining types of stabilizers will be considered in more detail:
Relay. The principle of operation is based on switching transformer windings with special relays. The winding at which the voltage has a value closest to the rated one is selected. The main advantages: reasonable price and high enough response speed. If your equipment can be used with an accuracy range of 8%, the relay is an ideal option.
Servomotor. The voltage is corrected by moving a special contact driven by a servo drive along the transformer winding. Advantages: increased (compared with relay devices) stabilization accuracy and low cost of most models. If you have a stable high or stable low voltage - then this is your option!
Triac and thyristor. According to the principle of operation, they are similar to relay ones, but switching between transformer windings is carried out to maximize the speed and make the device work almost silent semiconductor switches: thyristors and triacs. The characteristics of stabilizers of this type are superior to many analogues. Such devices can be successfully used in urban apartments, perhaps second only to the previous types at a price.
Now you have complete information about all types of voltage stabilizers and about the consumers in your apartment. If you have questions - write, call, we are ready to advise on all issues.