Power related questions and answers relevant to Philippines – By Ray

I have been thinking for a whole about common experiences all residents in PI experience, Filipino and expats alike.
Power related questions and answers relevant to PI, affecting both Filipino and Expatriate residents.

1) Why does my AC unit, Deep well pump, ceiling or stand fan operate well with sufficient speed during the day and is very slow, will not cool, or even in cases start at night, fluorescent lamps flickering and not lighting.
Answer – Low voltage is the culprit, it not only reduces the efficiency of the appliance it will undoubtedly damage the internal windings, ( burn ), over a fairly short time, have you noticed how common rewind shops for fans  pumps, and electric motors are in the country in general. As voltage drops the amperage increases creating excessive heat, the main causes are general overloading of the system, and in some cases your shared transformer, this will be noticeable as light around dark, people are turning lights and fans on in your community, the systems just have not been built with growth in mind, what was ample 10 years ago will not supply demand now.
Possible solutions. At  the generation level we are all stuck with what they supply us with, we have no choice in the matter, but when an electrician automatically tells you to buy your own transformer, stop and think. If supply is low into the said transformer, you will still receive low voltage, i recently checked a friends house who at quite considerable cost had installed a new transformer, he lives 100 metre from my house, i am on a fairly lightly loaded shared transformer, possibly 8 connections, but i`m the only one frankly with any load to speak of. At the time we were experiencing 194v to 200 v around 6.30 pm for about 2 hours then increasing to 220 after maybe 2 hours, people are settling down for the night, appliances get turned off and the general demand is reduced. He came over to my house and my voltage at outlets was 196 volt, at his house he had an improvement of one volt, 197 volt, so beware the guy who automatically tells you, new transformer sir, it cost him 85k peso for a 1 volt improvement, and the guy advising new transformer has his own agenda, which is making money out of the deal, natural really and to be expected. Now of course if a transformer that you are unlucky enough to be connected to resembles a Christmas tree with myriad connections and is obviously way overloaded well the answer is obvious, get your own, just be always prepared to budget for stuff like that here.

     The route i and some other expat and OFW friends have taken to solve the problem would appear to be the most cost effective, and that is to install AVRs on higher cost and more important appliances, that is automatic voltage regulators, they are designed to give a steady 220 v supply, plug in units to the outlet and appliance plugs directly into it. I did look at buying a large unit to supply the whole house, but they are very expensive so not very cost effective, plus if IT breaks you have lost it all, with individual units they can be repaired and i can manage for a day.

    Do not be stingy, buy good quality when you can find them, and always use units that are rated well above your needs, they last a long time that way.  I had one cleaned and new carbon brushes fitted for a total cost of 350 peso only two days ago, and that was really only preventative maintenance and the unit is 5 years old.
     So some examples of sizes that i have found suitable, mind you if you suffer from extremely low voltages, buy bigger units as they will cope with them, read ratings on the units before purchase, it will list the minimum input they will tolerate, normally around the 175–180 v region.   

i HP and .5 HP ac units work fine with 1500 or 2000 watt units.
1.5 and 2 HP ac units are good with 3000 watt units, present cost for these 4500–4800 peso, a new compressor installed in your ac will run to 9k, if you can find the part. Upright fridge freezer i use 1000w and stand fans the small 500 watt ones we use on PCs, one will run two fans comfortably, just ensure it`s an AVR and not just surge protector,they are sometimes misleading. You may think it`s a bit expensive but remember your 1 hp ac unit is only running at best 80% capacity when under low voltage conditions and will barely give a whisper of cool air. I would suggest anyone dabbling in this to actually know what voltages you have at peak load times, go to any decent handyman’s shop in the malls, or an electronics store and treat yourself to a hand held meter designed for ac use, digital is important so it reads numerically, do not buy analogue. Good luck and keep your fingers out of outlets!