The ideal Power Factor is unity or one. Resistive loads such as a toaster or baseboard electric heaters convert the electric power to heat. Here voltage and current are in phase. These loads do not affect Power Factor.
Most electrical equipment such as motors, compressors, transformers and even switch start fluorescent lighting, are what is known as inductive loads on the supply. These loads convert electricity into magnetism which unfortunately is necessary for motors and other inductive loads to operate. The magnetic fields cause current to lag voltage, the extra current drawn to overcome these magnetic fields is called Reactive Power. The more Reactive Power there is the lower the Power Factor.
Power Factor Correction is the term given to a technology used to restore Power Factor to as close to 1 or unity as is possible.
This is normally achieved by the addition of capacitors to the electrical network, which compensate for the Reactive Power demand of the inductive load and thus reduce the load on the supply.
The benefits of Power Factor Correction are
- Electricity Bills Reduced
- Motor and Transformer losses reduced
- Power Consumption Reduced
- Electrical energy efficiency improved
- Less voltage drop
I installed a Power Save 1200 to my panel. Installation is simple. You need to install a double pole 20amp breaker. The Power Save simply wires into the breaker. My power factor is now .98