Does an Inverter AC Need Stabilizer? – Pros, Cons and Working Method

Air conditioners arguably are your best friends in the summers. No other appliance can fend off heat waves better than them. However, with advancing technology, more power-efficient ACs (inverter ACs) came into the picture that do not need stabilizer to run.

Unlike ordinary ACs, inverter ACs work on the alternating current, which allows them to draw variable power. They draw power based on conditions such as the temperature level in the thermostat and the incoming air temperature.

So, since inverter ACs only consume the required amount of energy, you may wonder if inverter ACs enable a stabilizer-free operation. In that case, we’ve got you covered. 

How Does a Voltage Stabilizer Work? 

First of all, stabilizers aren’t meant to provide your appliance with a constant voltage output. Instead, they work actively to keep the energy level within permissible levels. They’re exceptional in protecting the respective appliance from fluctuating power supply. AC voltage stabilizers have sensors that can detect abnormal voltage. Based on the readings, they implement measures to negate the current variations at the earliest.

For example, if the power supply suddenly drops, the stabilizer will immediately boost the voltage and hold it. Likewise, if it suddenly surges, the stabilizer will reduce it to protect the appliance. These operations are called boost and buck operations; we’ll be shedding more light on these in a while. In any case, a power stabilizer actively works to save your appliance.

Behind the scenes, a current stabilizer utilizes various electrical components to do its job. These components include the transformer, rectifier unit, comparators, switching circuit, and relays. A modern stabilizer also involves a capable microprocessor as its control unit. The microprocessor tackles energy fluxes with even better efficacy. What’s more?

Power stabilizers typically consume very little electricity, around 2 to 5% of maximum load. So, getting a power stabilizer for your inverter AC should be a no-brainer in most cases.

working voltage stabilizer

Boost and Buck Operation in Depth

Boost Operation

It is used when the voltage supply is lower than required. In that case, the current passes through a step-down transformer. The transformer is connected in such a way that it adds the secondary output to the primary power supply. The stabilizer achieves this boost in the voltage by switching the corresponding relay. This adds the secondary output to the primary load and thus balances the energy. 

Buck Operation

A stabilizer makes use of buck operation in case the power surges beyond a certain threshold. In buck operation, the step-down transformer serves to deduct power from the primary supply.

Besides boost and buck operations, modern voltage stabilizers can also cut off the voltage entirely if things go out of hand. You can just rest assured and let your stabilizer do all the hard work. This small investment of yours can save you thousands of dollars on repairs and replacements. Meanwhile, a current stabilizer also ensures top-notch health for your appliance.

Is Stabilizer Required for Inverter ACĀ 

Is Stabilizer Required for Inverter AC? 

In general, there’s a straightforward answer to this question: Yes. Inverter ACs need a voltage stabilizer to save the day in case of “severe” voltage fluctuations. Inverter ACs, unlike ordinary ACs, effectively keep the power consumption in check to save energy.

However, this operation can’t save these Air Conditioners from voltage variation beyond a specific range. Voltage stabilizers come in handy when your inverter AC model doesn’t have an S-UTR compressor which is quite likely. If the product does not need a stabilizer, the manufacturer mentions about it.

Purchasing a stabilizer for your inverter AC is never a bad investment. It’s worth your money, even if you live in an area that rarely encounters severe voltage fluxes. Voltage stabilizers enable double-layered protection from misbehaving voltage for your expensive inverter AC.

Pros and Cons of using a Voltage Stabilizer for your AC

There are always two sides to a coin. No device or appliance is ideal enough to have no cons at all. Stabilizers are no exception; let’s discuss the pros and cons in detail. 

The advanatges

  • They’re Cost-effective: These are highly affordable concerning the value they provide. Not only do they demand meager upfront costs, but they also do not generally consume more than 2-5% of the maximum power. For example, you can get a voltage stabilizer for your inverter AC with a 160-280 VAC operating range for as low as Rs. 3000.  
  • They’re Quick to Respond: Modern power stabilizers house a microprocessor to detect energy oscillations. And, they also counter them by producing the correct secondary output. The instantaneous response is required to protect the appliance against sudden voltage fluctuations. This becomes important as a delay of mere seconds is enough to break your appliance. In any case, rest assured, your stabilizer is smart enough to function automatically and almost instantly.  
  • They’re Small and Lightweight: Stabilizers are exceptionally lightweight and smaller in size. So, even if the space around you is cluttered, a voltage stabilizer will fit right in. The best part of all is besides being compact, such stabilizers look extremely elegant, especially on the walls of your room. 
  • They’re Frequency-independent: Most parts of India operate on a 230V supply current with a frequency of 50hz. However, rest assured your stabilizer will work a charm regardless of your region. Stabilizers work even if the frequency is different for your area or your appliance functions at a different frequency. This independent operation allows these to work smoothly in every region. 
  • They Prevent Permanent Damage to Appliances: Extreme vacillations in current levels can severely damage your appliance. Voltage stabilizers, however, can easily prevent that. It doesn’t let the energy get too high or too low for the concerned appliance. So, your air conditioner doesn’t feel any change and keeps functioning normally.
  • They Contribute to the Longevity of Appliances: Electrical energy stabilizers can meticulously extend the lifespan of your appliances. They’re beneficial if your area encounters small but frequent electrical energy fluctuations. These small vacillations may not seem harmful in the short run. But they significantly reduce the lifespan of your appliances slowly and steadily. Thankfully, these appliances are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to circumvent this. 
  • They have Long Life-expectancy: The life expectancy of most stabilizers in the market is truly exceptional. All thanks to high-quality components and intelligent microprocessors. Electrical energy stabilizers take the heat themselves and protect your appliance. Despite being this powerful, they show extreme endurance and don’t get damaged. One may even argue that they last forever. In any case, you can expect your appliance to give you at least 20-25 years of reliable service before demanding a replacement
  • They Don’t Require any Maintenance: These typically don’t demand repairs or frequent checkups. The upfront costs are only what you have you have to manage while installing a stabilizer. 

The limitations

  • Poor Current Overload Capacity: While voltage stabilizers work wonders in keeping the electrical energy levels in check. However, they don’t provide your appliance much safety from instabilities at current levels. If the current gets high enough, though it’s rare, your stabilizer can fail relentlessly. 
  • Expensive than Mechanical Voltage Regulators: Stabilizers house components such as microprocessors and other complex mechanisms. Costly and advanced features significantly increase their prices. These stabilizers are incredibly cost-effective. However, they’re not as affordable as mechanical voltage regulators. 

How Does an Inverter AC Work? 

An inverter AC, as the name suggests, is a regular AC fused with inverter technology. For starters, an inverter is a device that converts DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current) or vice versa. So, an AC (Air Conditioner) with inverter technology can optimize its power consumption based on usage.

For example, your inverter Air Conditioner will adjust the compressor’s speed to consume the least possible electricity. This function relies on factors like temperature settings and ambient temperature.

working of inverter AC

Moreover, the ability to limit the compressor’s speed allows inverter ACs to enable precise temperature control by optimizing flow of the refrigerant in the cycle. Inverter ACs do not need to entirely stop the compressor when the desired temperature is attained in the room, unlike non-inverter Air Conditioners.

This effective control over the compressor results in dramatic power savings. In contrast, non-inverter ACs have no control over the speed of the compressor. They need to stop/start the compressor based on conditions entirely. This repeated restarting of the compressor in non-inverter ACs alone increases the power consumption by up to 30-40%.

For instance, a 3-star rated inverter Air Conditioner consumes 700 units of electricity per year. However, a non-inverter AC with the same BEE rating will consume more than 1000 units per year. 

Read: Inverter vs. Non-Inverter AC

Here’s How an Inverter AC Meticulously Enables Extreme Power Savings

  • The inverter compressor motor consists of magnets, one permanent and one electromagnet. The permanent magnet naturally has a magnetic force and a magnetic field. The electromagnet, however, only behaves like a magnet when it’s connected through electricity.
  • The current’s side enters the electromagnet becomes the north pole, and the other half becomes the south pole. Upon reversing the direction of current, the north and south poles of the electromagnet switch place. 
  • When the poles of the electromagnet come in contact with the poles of the permanent magnet, the magnet rotates. This rotation is based on the electromagnet’s polarity, which is ultimately governed by the direction of the current. So, the change in current can determine the speed of the motor; that’s where the inverter kicks in. 
  • An inverter adjusts the speed of the motor by switching the direction of the current. It meticulously controls the current-switching speed to gain the optimal speed of the motor. For example, when the room temperature reaches the desired level, the inverter will limit the speed to save as much power as possible. 

What is Stabilizer-free Operation in Inverter AC? 

Some manufacturers claim their AC doesn’t need an external voltage regulator. But they claim it with a side-note that says an external stabilizer is necessary if the voltage fluctuation goes out of a particular range.

If your inverter AC comes with an S-UTR compressor pre-installed, you don’t need to worry about instabilities for the most part. These compressors are immune to power-ups and downs under a specific range as described by the manufacturer. In any case, double-layered protection with an external current regulator is never a bad idea. 

How to Connect Your AC to a Voltage Stabilizer?

Please take note that it’s always better to let experts do the hard part. However, if you still want to take it as your weekend DIY project, we’re here to help. Installing and connecting your electrical energy regulator with your AC involves the following steps. 

  • Step 1: Check and review the housing and the components of the stabilizer. Review the ammeter, switch, indicator light, buttons, and wiring terminals. Make sure they’re firmly connected to the circuit board of it. If not, ask for a replacement. 
  • Step 2: Install a fuse on the switchboard and connect the input terminal to the switchboard. Installing the fuse on the switchboard is optional. However, it’s recommended to ensure more safety for you and the connected appliances. 
  • Step 3: Form a series connection by connecting the primary power supply of your AC to the output terminal of your voltage regulator. Such a connection will ensure the power to reach your AC only through it. Meanwhile, make sure the required input voltage of your AC is consistent with the input voltage of your voltage stabilizer. If there is a sudden spike or drop in voltage, the stabilizer will rectify it with ease, keeping your AC safe and sound. 
  • Step 4: Turn the primary switch on and check if the indicator light on the voltage stabilizer works (Do not turn on the power switch on the regulator just yet!). 
  • Step 5: Every stabilizer has an analog or a digital voltmeter that shows input and output voltage reading. Check if the output power is standard and is consistent with the required input voltage of your AC. If it’s normal, turn on the power switch of your AC (the control switch on your stabilizer). The voltage stabilizer will adjust the voltage automatically according to the requirement of your AC. 

Some Helpful Tips to Connect Voltage Stabilizer and AC

  • Turn off the primary switch while the AC is not in use to save power. Don’t let the voltage stabilizer run idle for too long, as it can reduce the longevity of the same. 
  • Avoid overloading your voltage stabilizer. Reduce its load when the output capacity reduces to avoid nasty malfunctions.
  • Make sure to only select the voltage stabilizer with more than 3 times the capacity of your AC. 
  • The wire should be thick enough and should have enough cross-section. This prevents damaging factors like resistance and heat from barging in. 
  • The load power switch on the voltage stabilizer must remain turned off after connecting all the wires. Switch the load power switch on only after confirming the output voltage is normal. This precaution is essential to follow as a simple burst of high power is enough to break your AC. 
inverter AC in a room

What is the Relation Between Stabilizer kVA and AC Tonnage? 

The capacity of a stabilizer can be measured in kVAs (Kilo Volt-Amps), and the AC tonnage directly influences it. The kVA of your stabilizer doesn’t solely rely on capacity. Other factors such as the technology of the AC, BEE rating, etc., come into play while deciding the stabilizer with the optimal kVAs.

For instance, for an old window AC of 1.5 tons which draws a current of around 14-16 amperes, a 4 kVA stabilizer is ideal. Similarly, a 1.5-ton split AC with a BEE rating of 3 stars requires a 3kVA stabilizer as the current drawn by the AC is relatively low (10-12 amperes). The higher the efficiency of your AC, the lower kVA it’ll require of the stabilizer.

As for the tonnage, a 2-ton split inverter AC will consume more power than a 1-ton portable AC with the same configurations. Conclusively, the former (2-ton Air Conditioner) will require a stabilizer with the higher kVA.

As a rule of thumb, determine the power rating of your AC and add an extra 20% to the total wattage to determine the kVA needed for your stabilizer. For example, if your 1-ton AC has a 3-star BEE rating and 1kW power rating, a 1.2kVA voltage stabilizer should do the trick.

So, does your inverter AC require a stabilizer? Not always. But is it recommended to use one anyway? Absolutely! How is an investment of a couple of thousand rupees not worth it if it can save your Rs. 35-40k inverter AC?

Furthermore, only an inverter AC with an S-UTR compressor can fight misbehaving voltage levels. Any other type will fail even if the manufacturer mentions stabilizer-free operation for that inverter. It’s inevitable if the variation rises beyond a certain level. So, can your inverter AC protect itself from fluctuating voltage? If yes, then having another robust layer of protection is never a bad idea.


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Soumya

Soumya is the editor-in-chief of Homeplace and a mechanical engineer with more than 8 years of experience. Having a long exposure to working with home and kitchen appliances in the fields of product development, manufacturing, maintenance, and quality control, he is an expert in this field.

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