What Causes Inverter Overload?

By:Michael Johns

inverter overload

Got an inverter overload?

It can easily happen.

You’re not alone if your inverter is overloaded, many people have this issue. 

The good news is that the problem is easy to find. In fact, it is usually one of three specific reasons.

As long as you identify the issue and take the correct action there will be no damage to your equipment or appliances.

Modern inverters are designed to quickly shut down when they sense an overload. So don’t worry if your inverter has stopped working, this is because it is protecting its self.

Let’s go through the reasons you could be suffering from an overloaded inverter.

3 Reasons for Inverter Overload

An overloaded inverter usually occurs for one of the following reasons.

Drawing More Than Continuous Power

This is the most common problem when it comes to overloading an inverter. 

You are simply trying to draw more power than the inverter can handle, you are exceeding its capacity for the continuous power output.

The continuous power output is the number of watts an inverter can deliver over a long period of time. A long period of time can be a matter of minutes to hours, it’s the amount of electricity it can continually provide.

When you plug in too many appliances or an appliance that is too powerful then this will cause inverter overload.

You can find the continuous power rating of your inverter by checking its size. The size of an inverter is usually referred to by its wattage such as 500 watts, 1000 watts, 2000 watts, etc. The continuous wattage of an inverter should be clearly marked on the device plus in the user manual. 

To avoid overloading an inverter you should check how many watts your appliance(s) uses and make sure it doesn’t exceed the inverter capacity.

Run Over Peak Power

The second important thing to consider is peak power.

Peak power is a surge in wattage that an inverter can produce, but it only lasts for a few seconds. Peak wattage is usually double the continuous wattage output. For example, a 1000W inverter will be able to deliver 2000W for a maximum of 5 to 10 seconds.

It helps to cope with spikes in power that happen when you switch on appliances. This spike only occurs for a second or two before the power drops to a more stable level.

When you draw power that is more than the peak power, even if only for a short moment, your inverter will instantly be overloaded. 

To avoid this happening you should not try to run anything that draws a spike in power more than your peak power rating. 

Input Voltage Too High

If your appliances are not the problem in drawing too much power then a high input voltage can also overload your inverter.

This means you are trying to input too much electrical force into your inverter. This will occur if your battery is a higher voltage than your inverter. For example, using a 12V inverter with a 24V battery.

You should always match your inverter and battery voltage. If you don’t you’ll end up with overvoltage or undervoltage.

Why is Inverter Overload Important?

When your inverter stops working because of an overload it can be frustrating.

But it is for your own safety. 

If an inverter continues to operate when it becomes overloaded it can create a dangerous fire hazard and damage anything connected to the circuit.

You could end up with a broken inverter, damaged battery, and damaged appliances. Not to mention the fire safety issue.

This is because the aggressive use of power would quickly lead to a heat build-up that your inverter can’t handle. The internal circuits would melt and even catch on fire!

How Do You Know if an Inverter is Overloaded?

It’s very easy to spot an inverter overload. 

Usually, the inverter will automatically stop working to protect itself and a red LED light will show. Adding to this, you can spot an inverter overload before it occurs if you notice the cooling system straining.

Final Words on Inverter Overload

That’s it, the main causes of an overloaded power inverter.

The basic reason is that you are trying to draw more electricity to your appliances than your inverter can handle.

If this happens, you need to reduce the load before resetting your inverter.