With the frequent occurrence of voltage fluctuations in the Philippines, it only makes sense for us to buy an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) to protect our appliances. This is especially important for a refrigerator as it is in use 24/7 and so has many chances to be afflicted by a voltage fluctuation.
In this buying guide, we will discuss how to choose the best AVR model for your refrigerator.
- Does your refrigerator need an AVR?
- How to choose the best AVR for your refrigerator
- Our recommendation
Does your refrigerator need an AVR?
Because AVRs are rather expensive, sometimes the cost-benefit analysis wouldn’t work out especially if you have a relatively inexpensive refrigerator model.
AVRs should be used for refrigerators that have sensitive electronics. This includes inverter models, and those that have features like Door-in-Door and water dispensers.
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.
However, if you live in an area with an inconsistent power supply, you should consider purchasing an AVR even if your refrigerator is a basic model.
Note: as a rule of thumb, the more expensive your refrigerator is, the more it will make sense to protect it with an AVR.
How to choose the best AVR for your refrigerator
After you determine your need to buy an AVR for your refrigerator, you need to determine which kind you should purchase. Here are some guideline:
Servo-motor type vs. Relay-type AVR
There are two types of AVRs in the market: servo type, and relay type.
A servo-motor type AVR uses mechanical parts to regulate the input voltage. This results in a very accurate voltage regulation that keeps the voltage at a steady 220V. However, they can be expensive.
Meanwhile, a relay type AVR is simpler; it uses an electronic circuit to maintain the voltage at 220V. This is less accurate than a servo-motor type AVR, but it gets the job done. Also, they are relatively inexpensive compared to the former.
You can certainly make do with a relay type AVR. But if you can afford a servo-motor AVR, we recommend that you do.
Determine the total wattage of your refrigerator
Using the wrong capacity AVR for your refrigerator can be disastrous as your fridge can constantly trip the AVR or cause it to burn out.
For appliances that use a motor (like a refrigerator’s compressor), the AVR’s capacity should be three times as much as the refrigerator’s rated wattage. This is to account for the surge in power after the compressor starts up.
For example, if your refrigerator has a rated input of 205W, a defrosting input of 150W, plus a 10W lamp, you should add them all together then multiply by 3.
(205W + 150W + 10W) * 3 = 1,095W AVR capacity requirement
AVRs range from 500W all the way up to 5,000W. If you are unsure which to get, you can contact a representative from AVR manufacturers in the Philippines to ask about the best AVR model for your refrigerator.
Other features to consider
To get the most bang for your buck, you should look for AVR models with the following features:
1. Built-in surge protector
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.
2. Fuses and circuit breaker
The AVR itself needs to be protected from power surges. A fuse pops when it detects a surge. This stops the electricity from reaching the AVR and the refrigerator. You should purchase AVRs with easily replaceable fuses – this allows you to switch out a fuse when one of them pops because of a surge.
3. Power on delay function
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.
4. Built-in transformer
If you’re using an imported refrigerator, or if you bought a Japanese surplus model, you need a transformer so that you will be able to use a refrigerator that uses 110V. Some AVRs have a built-in transformer that converts the standard 220V power supply in our sockets into the 110V that those imported refrigerators can use.
We recommend the brand Stavol, as they offer affordable servo-motor type AVRs. And guess what, their models also have a built-in surge protector, power on delay function, and 110V transformer!
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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. However, buying an AVR without studying your refrigerators requirement can disastrous; Using the wrong capacity AVR for your refrigerator can constantly trip the AVR or cause it to burn out. 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.