Power factor correction is to your energy consumption what a tuneup is to your vehicles gas mileage in that with a good power factor rating you will waste far less electricity through heat dissipation throughout your entire electrical system. So what is a good power factor rating? Given that the average home in the US today has a power factor rating of between 0.71 to 0.80 or 71%to 80% there is plenty of room for improvement in achieving a rating of 95% or higher. Also while using energy star rated appliances, compact fluorescent bulbs may seem like the best plan of attack it is not something that everyone is capable of affordably pulling off but all hope is not quite lost.
Before I get into the single best way to improve your power factor rating it is important to understand what is it that is most directly affected by a poor power factor causing significant electrical waste and increased monthly bills. Inductive loads otherwise known by their more commonly recognized device name the A/C motor. These devices are used in practically every household appliance present in most homes and include refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, well pumps, sump pumps, pool/jacuzzi pumps and fans. There are many other types of machinery that use them in your garage but by now I am sure you get the point.
Every time one of these motors is energized they can require up to 6 times the amount of energy in reaching their operational speed of rotation as they use during normal operation. Now consider how many times per day your refrigerator or air conditioner turns on and you can begin to see how it is that your electric bill can get to being so expensive every month. Furthermore, depending on the load that these motors are under they can heat up quite a bit but if you notice this heat under normal operating conditions then that is energy loss through heat dissipation which is attributed directly to poor power factor. By simply correcting the poor power factor in raising it to as close to 100% efficiency as it can be you will immediately notice that not only will all these motors operate far cooler which will extend their life, but they will actually use far less electrical power by up to a 25% savings.
Power factor conditioners were initially developed back in the 1970’s out of the necessity of that decades energy crisis when the prices of oil and gas had risen causing the sudden and sharp increases in electrical power. Sound familiar? Fortunately for that time period these costs were short lived and fell back to the normal prices that existed prior but not before industry received this great new technology that has been used ever since to keep the operational energy costs of running A/C motors at bay. Since that time we have not heard too much about the power factor conditioner simply because the costs of electrical energy were so low that the return on investment of one of these units would have taken far longer to pay for itself until now when prices are again skyrocketing nationally.
Today these capacitor based devices are being used in a wide array of both residential and commercial applications to save people money on the sudden and sharp increases in electrical energy costs. Most people are realizing an operational savings of up to 25% of their electrical costs and as a result these power factor conditioners are paying for themselves within 6 to 12 months. The appliances being powered with their use are operating far cooler which is providing them with longer operational life and experiencing fewer breakdowns due to heat stressed A/C motors. So if you are ready to GO GREEN but not ready to replace every appliance in your home or business with one that is Energy Star rated then consider what our own US Department of Energy has stated regarding the great importance of utilizing power factor conditioners which you can read more about on our web site.
Global Team Direct, LLC
Robert has worked for the past 30 years as an Electrical Engineer for many well known companies to include the R&D facility of Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley and was a part of the engineering R&D team of the AC Drives Div. that developed their AC drive systems currently used worldwide.