Brownouts are so common in the Philippines that we’ve pretty much gotten used to its annoyance. However, did you know that once the power comes back on, it can do severe damage to your refrigerator? This is what the little nifty device called the Power on Delay is designed to mitigate.
A Power on Delay is a device that protects your refrigerator from the effects of voltage fluctuations after a brownout.
In this article, we will explain how a brownout will affect your refrigerator, and why you should buy a Power on Delay for your refrigerator.
Note: in other countries, low voltage fluctuations are usually known as “brownouts”. However, in the Philippines, brownouts and blackouts/power outages have the same meaning.
- What is a power on delay?
- How does a brownout affect your refrigerator
- What are the benefits of having a Power on Delay for your refrigerator
- What types of refrigerators need a Power on Delay?
What is a power on delay?
As said earlier, the Power on Delay is a device that protects your refrigerator from the effects of voltage fluctuations after a brownout.
After a power outage, it delays the incoming electrical current for 3-5 minutes to ensure that the power stabilizes before it reaches the appliance. This protects your appliance from the expected voltage surge after a power outage.
How does a brownout affect your refrigerator
A power outage (otherwise known as blackout or brownout) is a loss of electric power in a given area that can last for minutes or for days.
All appliances stop working during a brownout. However, the damage to your appliances doesn’t occur when the power goes out, but when the power goes back on line.
The energy that comes immediately after a brownout can be unstable; the voltage might be too high or too low. When the voltage is too high, it can cause a power surge; too low, then a power sag will occur. Both are bad news for your refrigerator.
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 over time.
What is a power sag/low voltage fluctuation
A low voltage fluctuation decreases the voltage significantly below the standard level. Not all appliances get 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 it, hence the compressor will produce heat even though it is 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 destroy your compressor and the whole refrigerator itself or start a fire if you do not invest in a low voltage protection device such as a power on delay.
What are the benefits of having a Power on Delay for your refrigerator
Aside from protecting your refrigerator from the effects of a brownout, a Power on Delay gives you the following benefits:
1. Allows the refrigerator’s refrigerant gases to stabilize first
A refrigerator works by constantly circulating a refrigerant gas throughout its evaporator and condenser coils with its compressor.
When the compressor stops working, the refrigerant needs to stabilize first before it can be safely turned on again. If you did not give it time to stabilize, it can cause issues with improper cooling.Since the Power on Delay gives you 3-5 minutes of time before it turns the refrigerator back on, it gives time for the refrigerant gas to stabilize.
2. No need to unplug and plug-in your refrigerator during and after a brownout
With a Power on Delay, there will be no more need to manually unplug your refrigerator when a brownout happens, then plugging it back in a few minutes after the electricity comes in. It all happens automatically!
3. Some Power on Delay models have a built-in voltage protector as well
While a Power on delay does offer some protection against brownouts, the coverage is a little limited. Remember: it does not do anything to protect your refrigerator DURING the brownout; it only kicks in AFTER the brownout is over.
To add more protection, some models of Power on Delay have a built-in voltage protector to protect your refrigerator from power surges and low voltage fluctuations as well.
What types of refrigerators need a Power on Delay?
Because refrigerators are expensive and have a long usable life, I suggest that your refrigerator should be equipped with some type of Power on Delay. However, which kind?
For non-inverter refrigerators, freezers, and beverage coolers, I suggest that you pick up a basic Power on Delay model with a built-in voltage protector. This will give you basic protection from voltage fluctuations.
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.
The AVR does a better job than the voltage protector at protecting your refrigerator from voltage fluctuations since it regulates the incoming voltage instead of just shutting off your refrigerator when it detects either high or low voltage.
Refrigerators are expensive upfront but will last you decades if you take care of them right. I highly recommend that you should invest in power protection equipment such a Power on Delay to protect your investment and to prolong the usable life of your refrigerator.
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.