How your generator and other alternative energy sources during load shedding may affect your insurance

Load shedding is back, and here to stay a while, but don’t rush to buy your own alternative diet without first checking how it will affect your home insurance.

That’s the warning from King Price’s customer experience partner, Wynand van Vuuren, who says it’s vital that alternative power supplies like generators are installed and certified by licensed electricians. If these devices are installed or used incorrectly, you may not be covered for any damage that may result.

“There has been a huge increase in the number of people using portable generators to keep a few essentials running when the power is off. But what most people don’t know is that you need to have them professionally installed by an electrician. You can’t just put your generator in the garage with an extension cord going through the window, ”Van Vuuren said.

Here are Van Vuuren’s top tips for staying covered and charged safely during load shedding.

Do your homework

Know what your alternative diet options are, along with the pros and cons of each.

  • A inverter transforms direct current from a battery into alternating current which you can use to operate all kinds of devices. Obviously, it needs a battery to be useful. These batteries are charged either by solar energy or by the network when the power is on.
  • A portable generator is a little generator on wheels that you see dozens of people buying at Makro and Builders Warehouse over the weekend. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, but cannot run large devices.
  • Stationary generators are usually slightly larger units that are permanently installed and automatically turn on when the power is removed. They are more expensive but have a larger capacity.

Stay safe – and covered

Besides keeping your lights on, the different power options all have one thing in common: they must follow safety guidelines and be installed by a professional.

“I know guys who take their portable generators to another mate’s house every weekend so they can watch rugby during the load shedding. It is not as smart an idea as you might think: not only is the generator not covered, but any possible damage caused by the generator will not be either, because it is not installed correctly ”, a said Van Vuuren.

It is also essential that portable generators operate in open areas with good air circulation, to prevent carbon monoxide build-up, and that fuel is stored safely in an area with adequate ventilation.

Keep your bases covered

If you are using a generator or inverter, make sure they also power your electric fence, gate, and alarm, as burglars are all too quick to exploit opportunities caused by power outages. If you don’t have an alternate power supply, make sure your fence, gate, and alarm have enough battery backup to help you get through your darkest times.

Oh, and make sure your generator is insured too, in case it gets stolen or struck by lightning. You would usually insure a portable generator under your house. A stationary generator set (emergency) becomes a fixed element once installed and must therefore be added to the coverage of your building.

Beat the lows with UPS

Another major headache for South Africans is the power surge that can occur when power is restored after a load shedding, with expensive household appliances like dishwashers, televisions, refrigerators, coffee makers and coffee makers. public address systems all in danger.

“We have seen complaints for computer equipment, appliances and even ‘fried’ distribution boards caused by power surges. This can be avoided by installing an inverter (uninterruptible power supply) – which is not cheap – but which is advisable to at least protect expensive items, like televisions and audio systems, and items of intrinsic value, like laptops, ”Van Vuuren said.

“The other alternative is to manually disconnect your most sensitive devices from the power supply and reconnect them once power is restored. “

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Rosemary C. Kearney