If you have saved your lolly reading this page - please consider how you can help others?
Look through our Forums - find one that interests you - share your experience with our readers by Joining our community and posting a comment. Check out our page on Smart ways to Save Electricity - is there more you could do - something you could share with us or a friend - we do NOT want your cash - we DO ask for your attention!
The KVAR Energy Controller (KEC) family of products has grown exponentially. The products are sold by a network of distributors who receive training from KVAR. Each of the products listed below claims to save money by reducing lost electricity using power factor correction (pfc) and saving on the electricity bill.
List of product names include the "original" KVAR Energy Controller (KEC) - KVAR PFC Unit, KVAR Power Factor Optimizer, KVAR KEC PU 1200. It is possible that power factor will help an old motor run more efficiently. I suggest we say - "consumer take care"
The Kilowatts or real power (Volts x Amps x power factor) used by an appliance will NOT change when power factor is corrected, and neither will your electricity bill. The cable resistance losses eliminated by power factor correction are negligible in most homes.
It is important that we are clear on the distinction between a product that scams consumers by exaggerated claims of electricity saving through pfc and a product that scams consumers by claiming it does pfc when it does not. We are of the opinion that the KVAR branded pfc products listed above (we will cover product quality and performance separately) are a technology capable of performing pfc.
It is also important to understand that the issues we raise are only applicable to home owners. Commercial companies and industrial users do require power factor correction for the improved reliability of their electrical equipment, to save electricity, and to save on their electrical bill.
A reseller of KVAR KEC - GoKVAR claims the following on their web site "Imposter's: Don't get taken by imposter's. We are NOT affiliated nor do business with these vendors that are manufacturing and/or marketing our KEC under another name: Power-Save 1200, Green Machine, Vortex Power Products, Titan Energy, P.E.F.L Inc., Kilowatt Nanny, Power Shaver, Chiefo Electric, Tri State Energy Solutions, Power Saving Solutions, MRD Solutions, EMAXX 3000, Power Flow 1200, Powerhouse Construction, Vortex Generators, PowerwoRx e3, ActivTek Environmental, V-Blox, EZ Energy Savings.
I confess I was little surprised at these allegations for I have seen the PowerwoRx e3 and it does not look at all like a KVAR KEC. On further investigation I found that the allegations are based on a claim by KVAR that it is the original inventor of power factor correction technology. I quote "KVAR Corp. are the inventors, the scientists, and manufacturers that developed KEC. There are other individuals and companies that have produced ‘knock-off’ facsimiles brands and some were manufactured illegally, and they have illegally used our patent and UL numbers."
This is not true, the principles of power factor correction are well established and mature. KVAR do hold a patent on "var sizing" which is correctly stated on the KVAR web site. I do not know why GoKVAR has such untoward things to say about the competition, and I advise all readers to ignore this claim and investigate each company listed individually.
There is truth in the fact that our homes have devices which consume electricity at lower power factors. As an example we know that "CFL light bulbs" have a Power factor of between 55% and 70%, while incandescent light bulbs have a power factor of 100%. All electric motors, including fridges, air conditioners, fans and computers generate reactive power which will affect their power factor.
Based on the above information it could sound logical that a pfc technology would save money for a home owner. But this is NOT a correct conclusion at all. Improving a consumers power factor will mostly save a "negligible" amount of electricity. I have correct my earlier opinion of "NO saving" to "usually negligible" thanks to an informative discussion with the founder of V-Blox Mr David Mulvaney.
Mr Mulvaney contacted me regarding his company and said "I want you to know we do not recommend power factor correction in homes and I will be the first to tell you that savings if any would be negligible". Noticing that his company is on a list of "imitation KVAR products" published by a KVAR distributor, I listened to his version of the story.
Mr Steve Fish, CEO of KVAR Energy Savings Inc. also contacted me. He said "we are a professional organization and will take back any KVAR product that fails to reduce the electricity bill by less than our guarantee of 6%". I have asked many times for hard data showing saving but nothing has been provided!
When the power factor is less than 100% it means that there is a phase shift between voltage and current. Consumer tariffs are based on Real Power, only the electricity actually consumed by a device. The consumer electrical tariffs include provision for the losses which this "out of phase" might cause the electricity supplier.
Power factor and power factor correction are indeed subjects that we should be aware of as consumers. We are responsible for the energy costs we cause others, but it is near fraud when marketed to home owners as a simplistic way to save money on their electric bill.
We have an overview on "Power Factor" and the definitions for real power, apparent power and reactive power for those who would like to understand more of the technical details on this topic.
If you are uncertain as to the accuracy of Open4Energy's opinion we suggest you review this study by ScienceDaily - (Dec. 18, 2009) - "If you've seen an Internet ad for capacitor-type power factor correction devices, you might be led to believe that using one can save you money on your residential electricity bill. However, a team including specialists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have recently explained why the devices actually provide no savings by discussing the underlying physics".
Open4Energy - Get Smart about Energy™