In the Philippines, refrigerators are designed to work at a standard voltage of 230V at a frequency of 60Hz. However, the electrical supply in some areas can be inconsistent. Worse, these power problems can cause some damage to your refrigerator in the long run. This is why some people invest in an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) to protect their refrigerator – and you should to!
An automatic voltage regulator (AVR) is a device that maintains the voltage at the desired level supplied to your refrigerator, by regulating any voltage fluctuations (both over and low voltage) that might occur.
In this article, we will explain what an AVR is and why you should buy one for your refrigerator.
- What is an automatic voltage regulator (AVR)?
- Why should you buy an AVR for your refrigerator?
- What are the benefits of having an AVR for your refrigerator?
- What types of refrigerators need an AVR?
- AVR Buying Guide
What is an automatic voltage regulator (AVR)?
An automatic voltage regulator (AVR) is a power protection device that maintains the voltage at the desired level supplied to your appliance, by regulating any voltage fluctuations (both over and low voltage) that might occur.
Compared to a power surge protector or a power on delay, an AVR offers the most protection for your refrigerator. Some AVR models even come with a built-in surge protector and power-on-delay functions. However, they are the priciest option when it comes to appliance power protection.
Why should you buy an AVR for your refrigerator?
Power fluctuations like power surges and low voltage fluctuations are more than just mild annoyances; they can cause damage to your appliances as well – especially to the ones that are constantly plugged in and in use (i.e. refrigerators and freezers).
What is a power surge
A power surge is a short-duration (3 nanoseconds) oversupply of voltage that increases the voltage significantly above the standard level. Power surges can not only destroy your refrigerator, it can also start an electrical fire.
A strong power surge can cause an arcing of electrical current in your refrigerator. This produces heat and can make your refrigerator’s parts to overheat. Refrigerators with microprocessors and inverter boards are especially susceptible to damage as strong power surges can fry these parts and even melt some of the plastic parts away.
While weak power surges have a low chance of destroying your refrigerator outright, it can build incremental damage to your refrigerator, affecting its performance and shortening its lifespan overtime.
What is a power sag/low voltage fluctuation
A low voltage fluctuation decreases the voltage significantly below the standard level. Not all appliances gets damaged by low voltage fluctuations. However, appliances with motors (like a refrigerator’s compressor) are especially susceptible.
Your refrigerator’s compressor needs to maintain a level of torque to work. A higher voltage will increase torque, while a reduced voltage will reduce torque. If the torque decreases to a certain level, it will stall your compressor. However, power will still be supplied to the it, hence the compressor will produce heat even though its not working.
If this heat continues to build up, it can melt the insulation wires and other parts of your refrigerator, making them less efficient in the long run. It can also totally destroy your compressor and the whole refrigerator itself or start a fire if you do not invest in a low voltage protection device.
What are the benefits of having an AVR for your refrigerator?
These are some of the benefits of having an AVR for your refrigerator:
1. Accurate voltage regulation
An AVR does a better job at protecting your refrigerator from those small but frequent voltage fluctuations that occur day to day.
2. Keeps your refrigerator operating after a power surge
A power surge protector automatically shuts off your refrigerator when it detects a power surge or when the voltage gets too low.
Mean while, an AVR will catch the voltage fluctuation and change it to the standard voltage that your refrigerator uses. This allows it to remain in operation after a voltage fluctuation occurs.
3. Some models have a built-in fuse/circuit breaker
AVRs with built-in fuses or circuit breakers will protect your refrigerator from overloads and short circuits. The fuses will pop when an overload happens, thus breaking the circuit. This prevents the surge from reaching your AVR, and thus your refrigerator.
4. Some models have a built-in surge protector and power on delay function as well
AVRs can handle power surges well, but for extremely strong ones, those that have a built-in surge protector can shut off the refrigerator just in case.
A built-in power on delay also automatically turns on the refrigerator after 3-5 minutes after a power outage to ensure that the power stabilizes before being used by the refrigerator.
What types of refrigerators need an AVR?
Because AVRs are rather expensive, sometimes the cost-benefit analysis wouldn’t work out especially if you have an inexpensive refrigerator model.
For inverter refrigerators and those that have fancy electronics, I suggest that you invest in an AVR with a Power on Delay function. This should also be the choice for someone who lives in an area with an inconsistent power supply.
For non-inverter refrigerators, freezers, and beverage coolers, you can get away with not having an AVR. Instead, you should invest in a power on delay with a built-in power surge protector. This is cheaper than buying an AVR.
AVR Buying Guide
Buying the wrong kind of AVR for your refrigerator can be disastrous as your fridge can burn out the AVR.
We’ve written a more detailed AVR buying guide here. For those who want a quick and dirty guide, the recommended purchase is a servo-motor type AVR with a capacity that is three times as much as the refrigerator’s rated wattage.
Here are our recommendations:
|Capacity||Model||Surge Protection||Power |
|500W||SVC-500VA||Yes||Yes||Check on Lazada|
|1000W||ST1000||Yes||Yes||Check on Lazada|
|1500W||ST1500||Yes||Yes||Check on Lazada|
|2000W||ST-2000VA||Yes||Yes||Check on Lazada|
Refrigerators are expensive upfront but will last you decades if you take care of it right. I highly recommend that you should invest in power protection equipment such an AVR to protect your investment and to prolong the usable life of your refrigerator. If the cost is too prohibitive, you should invest in a power on delay with a surge protector instead.
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.