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The "Power Mizer 1200" claims to conserve energy, protect against surges, spikes, and line noise through the use of "power factor correction". The product looks quite similar to the Kill-a-Watt saver (nothing to do with P3 International) so I am curious where it is being manufactured.
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 power factor correction. We are of the opinion that the Power Mizer 1200 unit (we will cover product quality and performance separately) does have capacitors, and is theoretically capable of correcting the power factor in you home.
But but but - this does not mean it will save you a penny.
The sellers of these systems typically bring people together for a presentation in a local restaurant. Please do look at what we were sent (see comment below) by a person who bought their unit and the "energy blankets" in 2010. I have his phone # and he has offered to use his experience to help others avoid this scam.
Please note that 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. This is NOT applicable to regular homes.
The truth to the story is that our homes do 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.
It might sound logical that correcting this power factor will 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. I will be writing a separate posting on how it seems that the real pfc scams have developed. I did find all he said to be professional and reasonable.
There is clearly an issue here, resellers are capable of "overzealous selling" - I suggest that all consumers be vigilant when investigating "var" or KVAR related savings in their home.
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, but it is "near fraud" when excessively marketed to home owners as a way to save money on their electricity bill.
With regard to the claims on surges, spikes and noise we suggest you speak to your utility company about this. The needs will vary from state to state, depending on weather, lightening strikes, and other such factors. These electrical variables should be compared to the actual devices (computers etc) that you have powered by each electrical circuit.
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.
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