Anyone familiar with KVAR Energy devices?

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by GreyWolf, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Well-Known Member

    Anyone familiar with KVAR Energy Devices?

    Recently while researching ways to save energy I came across a Phoenix, AZ local Fox News video at this link:

    [ame=]YouTube - Fox 10 News Report On KVAR Energy Savings Device[/ame]

    A 70% reduction in energy required to power a refrigerator goes a long way in an off grid system. But I get the impression that a whole house 220volt unit would only save energy on 220 volt motors and compressors and not the 110 volt appoliances as shown in the news story. I have found the demo models also for sale for less than $200 I think it wsa.
  2. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    Not familiar with that system ... I might have to look a bit deeper into it ..

  3. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  4. tiedami

    tiedami Well-Known Member

  5. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

  6. Tex

    Tex Pincushion

    Most of the bigger loads in your house are inductive motors. That will bring down your power factor. Most meters account for your power factor and bill you extra accordingly. A capacitor on your system can cause your power factor to shift toward the center. You want to keep your power factor as high as possible. 1.0 is maximum. If your loads are capacitive, a KVAR unit would cost you money.

    I'd be careful about Power Factor Correction equipment for residential use. It may be something that you would only want to turn on when you AC is in use. You can use a harmonics analyzer to determine your power factor, but since your load changes, so does your power factor. I wonder if I should experiment with putting a capacitor on the load side of my compressor input contactor. That would shift the power factor toward unity(assuming your load is inductive), but you would think that this was considered in the design of your AC or any other high dollar appliance with an inductive motor. (dish washer, washer, dryer, ceiling fan, refridgerator, etc...)

    Bottom line: Check it with a harmonics annalyzer if you can before you add capacitors to your house wiring. Find out if the KVAR automatically switches on and off as needed or if it is just a dumb capacitor.

    This explains it better than me. The discussion below helps also.

    If your meter measures real power and not apparent power, PFC is a waste of time and money. That's what you need to find out first.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  7. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Well-Known Member

    Good information Tex. That explains a lot. I seriously doubt the unit has automatic switch and would lead to higher untilty cost.
  8. labotomi

    labotomi Well-Known Member

    Power companies take this into account when they bill you. You're billed for the KW hours you use not the KVAR.

    If you draw a triangle one leg will be KW (real power that does work), another leg will be KVAR (Reactive power, power that is stored in magnetic fields as in capacitors or inductors. this power is returned to the source but tends to increase the actual electricity running through the lines). The hypotenuse of the triangle will be KVA (Killovolt Amps Apparent which is the actual amount of electricity running through the lines).

    The above poster is correct in that a power factor of 1 is considered unity and all power is real power and is the ideal situation. If your home has mostly motors or inductive loads you will have some power factor less than 1 and current will lag voltage by some angle depending upon how far away from unity you are. If you have more capacitive loads you're power factor will be less than 1 but current will lead voltage depending upon the same criteria cited above.

    These devices may make your power factor closer to 1, but the power company won't care because they have ways of determining exactly how much real power (KW) you are using and you are billed accordingly.

    Sorry, I don't have a less technical way of explaining this. There's an explanation on wikipedia if you look up "power triangle"

    BTW, large manufacturing facilities that consume massive amounts of electricity do sometimes use setups to improve their power factor, but it's mostly to reduce the size of the wires feeding the places due to the extra electricity flowing back and forth due to reactive loads that don't do any actual work.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  9. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    FINALLY! A voice of reason!

    I run into these things around once in a while, and people SWEAR they are saving this or that...
    Until you get the bill comparisons from the utilities and they find out it's the same as it always was...

    A solar install got shut down because of one of these things because the city inspector didn't know what it was and though we had installed it...

    Much better money spent plugging up air leaks, insulating attic and doors, around windows, ect.
    Switching to CF or LED bulbs is always instant money in the bank!

    Just did my sister's house last year in Texas, just outside Austin.
    CFs, plugging up leaks, insulating the attic, ect.
    Cost was about $1,500 and took me a week, but I'm lazy and slow...
    40% reduction in energy bills alone for the 7 months since she's been able to track it...
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  10. mfsteve

    mfsteve New Member

    Old thread but since I own one...

    I have one. I payed ~$400 for it. I've had it since December. Last month I received my lowest power bill ever since living in this house (circa April 2004). This month we have the AC running which is the big power hog. No numbers on that front yet but I will post results once they become available.

    I can add that the motors in the house act noticeably differently since the unit was installed. We have 4 ceiling fans that are on constantly and they seem to be a quieter and move more air at the same speed setting. The fridge and dishwasher seem quieter as well. Small things, I know.

    My highest power bill was in August of last year. After sending the power company a check for $450 I started looking at anything that could lower the bill.
  11. labotomi

    labotomi Well-Known Member

    You've been scammed

    Read This. It pretty much mirrors my previous post
  12. jimmymack

    jimmymack New Member

    Kvar 1200

    Yes the unit does work with 110volt.....199 is a really good price. I was the exclusive sales rep for Guelph, Ont in 07..and beleive me its a fantastic technology. However, what is not so great, is the fact that as always it takes consumers forever to catch up with it. We were promised that are hydro supplier was going to offer billing direct to there monthly statement in easy installments of course...because then i was selling them for 699 pl tx.! Im not sure youll find to many DEMO models out there for that price at least not in canada. In fact i think i have the only one left which i posted on kijjiji for 199. cheers jamie
  13. labotomi

    labotomi Well-Known Member

    KVAR or more correctly var is a measure of the volt-amp-reactive component of power. It is "imaginary power" in that is does no work nor is consumed. It is however stored in magnetic fields such as produced by inductive loads (motors, solenoids, or other such things that use inductors) and capacitive loads. Note that I said "stored" and not "used". All reactive power is returned to the source (generator, electrical grid, etc) at a rate of 60 times per second (in the US) and therefore not used. (it is not considered real power which is measured in Watts. The only way this device could possibly save money is to reduce the heating of the electrical wiring used to furnish appliances in a home. This heating I would say amounts to less than 1% of the electricity used in a typical residential home.

    Industrial facilities such as mine that routinely use 120K Amps per steel melting furnace (we have 2 operating about 80% of the time) do benefit because this amount of electricity would generate excessive heat which would be wasted energy or facilitate us using cabling that is several times larger than what we can use if we limit the reactive power. If I remember correctly, we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $600k on a unit to reduce the amount of reactive power, but that's justifiable when our electric bill is north of $4M a month.

    Residential use = Scam. They provide no benefit as the electric companies charge you in actual power used (KWH) not in (KVA or Kilo-Volt-Apparent which takes into account the KVAR, reactive power)

    Off the grid = Scam. Unless you're trying to reduce wire size and I wouldn't think this would be necessary since off the grid systems typically don't use very much power.

    Another note; These do nothing for DC systems as KVAR only applies to AC systems.

    If anyone wants to purchase one, by all means go ahead, but you'll only be wasting your money by giving it to someone else and gaining nothing useful in return.

    I'm an electrical engineer (not saying that gives me credence), I've never studied these commercially available KVAR devices, but have been involved in industrial models and do understand the effects of KW, KVAR, and KVA on a distribution system.

  14. labotomi

    labotomi Well-Known Member

    believe the salesman, not the electrical engineer.

    These devices are scams, they provide no useful benefit to the residential customer or any other small scale systems. They only provide benefits to large industrial companies who can be charged penalties by the electric companies because of their effect on the power factor of the entire grid.

    Entire neighborhoods have negligible effects on grid power factor, but you claim that this device will save a considerable amount of money.

    This is the savings you would achieve if you mounted the device at the washing machine (which by the way, these aren't whole house devices. By their very nature they have to be mounted by the appliance. You would have to have one by your washer, refrigerator, AC unit, basically any load you're looking to save money.

    You will never regain the cost in your lifetime.

    Other sites
    Do Power Factor Correction Devices (kVAR) really save money? This is the EnergyStar Site
    has anyone tested a KVAR unit? - Electrical Wiring Forum - GardenWeb
    KVAR PFC Unit - Scam Review | open4energy
    Power Factor scams -- Ask Mr. Electricity
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  15. BrandeisHEP

    BrandeisHEP New Member

    KVAR Report

    I work in the Brandeis High Energy Physics Lab. We decided to do a report on the KVAR Energy Controller. Here are our results:
    KVAR Energy Controller Report
  16. labotomi

    labotomi Well-Known Member

    Good detailed write up.