How To Maintain Power Factor?

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Matthew Porter answered
The power factor of an AC electric power system can be defined as the ratio of the real power flowing to the load of the apparent power in the circuit. Power factor is always expressed as a dimensionless number between 0 and 1 (often as a percentage, for instance 0.4 pf = 40% pf).

In an electric power system, a load with a low power factor will draw more current than a load with high power factor for the same amount of useful power transferred. With a low power factor you will require more current to power your equipment and will therefore have to pay higher utility bills generally speaking. Therefore the lower the power factor is, the higher the cost will be. Having a higher power factor should also extend the life of your equipment. According to www.cip.ukcentre.com, any power factor measuring less than 0.94 is unacceptable and will be costing a business money they can easily save.

The 3 main reasons you should strive to improve your power factor are:

• To lower your utility bills
• To increase system capacity and reduce system losses in your electrical system
• To increase voltage level in your electrical system and have cooler and more efficient motors

Power factor can be improved by:
• Installing capacitors (KVAR generators)
• Minimizing the operation of idling or lightly loaded motors
• Avoiding the operation of equipment above its rated voltage
• Replacing standard motors with energy efficient motors when they burn out

More information on power factor is available at www.powerstudies.com/articles/PowerFactorBasics.pdf

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