What is Backup Power?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Backup power is power which kicks in when power from the electrical grid is not available. Backup power systems may be designed to provide a seamless transition so that people never experience an interruption in power, or they can be designed to kick on when the power goes off, restoring power during an outage. Such systems are critical for businesses which want to retain functionality, and they can be very useful at home, especially if people rely on power to run lifesaving devices such as ventilators at home.

There are a couple of ways to design a backup power system. Some systems are designed to provide people with a window of time which allows them to safely shut down equipment when the power goes down. In this case, the backup power is not designed to be used for working, but rather remains on for a few minutes after the power goes out to allow people to stop what they are doing, save, and safely shut down. These systems can be important when power interruptions might damage or corrupt data and computer systems.


Other backup power systems last for a longer period of time on stored energy. They can recharge through the electrical grid when it is working, or through the use of things like windmills and solar panels. These systems may last for hours or days, depending on how they are designed. Other backup power systems will generate energy when the power is out to maintain power until the grid is restored. Gas powered generators are an example, as are solar and wind systems.

Uninterruptible power supplies, as they are known, will provide a seamless transition. When they sense that the power is going out, they kick into action so that people do not lose power at any point. In other instances, a backup power system may need a few minutes to activate, or it may be activated manually as needed. In addition to being used to provide power in an outage, such systems can also be used to save money on energy; for example, people can use backup power during peak periods, and recharge the backup system during off-peak periods, for lower electrical bills.

It is a good idea to research power needs well before they become critical. Electricians can provide specific advice on the basis of the system being protected and the needs of the consumer, and they can also perform installation and maintenance on a backup power system. Some reasons to invest in backup power include: being a business which wants to stay open during outages; using electronic medical devices; working on computers and wanting to avoid data loss; or simply wanting to enjoy the convenience of electrical power even when the grid is down.



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