has anyone tested a kvar device?

ampmiamiAugust 26, 2009

After reading the answers here, all of which are in the negative, i cant help but to ask how can people who have not tested the divice in question, make assumptions by which other readers make decisions on an item.

I have installed two units in my condo in Miami. One was installed in the airconditioning unit itself on the roof and another was installed at the breaker panel.

To all of those experts, my fpl bill was over 60% lower this year compared to the same month last year. from #107.00 to $47.00.

To prove this to a friend who questioned this fact. I uninstalled the units two months ago and my bill went to $129.00.

So, I suggest you people who are bound to say "NO" to anything you dont understand and are afraid of, that you install one instal it at your airconditioning unit and then make an educated decision. Remember there were those, like you, that said man would never fly!

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I've never jumped off a cliff before but science says that gravity will pull me down really fast and I'll get hurt when I land. I don't need to jump off the cliff in order to know what will happen.

Science dictates that these units don't work. Questionable anecdotal evidence is not proof.

I repaved my driveway last year. This year my electricity usage went down 10%. Maybe everyone should redo their driveway so that they can save money on electricity.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Nice of you to register today to plug this product.

I live in: United States
My birthday is on November 14.
First registered on August 26, 2009.

The reason that people on this board can make "assumptions" is because many of them are engineers and/or have more than a passing knowledge of electricity. The product that you are plugging doesn't pass the sniff test. It's like trying to sell miracle "Male Enhancement" pills to someone in the medical business. They don't have to try it, they know enough to know it doesn't work.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 10:39AM
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Isn't it funny that electrical systems/distribution grids and powerplants can be engineered and built by using the sciences of math, chemistry and physics? And once built, really function well? But that same science cannot, in the parlance of the snake oil sales people, say that the Kvar devices are worthless for residential applications. Simply amazing!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 11:56AM
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If you're gonna sign up just to post this, at least post it in one of the numerous kvar threads already on here.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 1:15PM
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I don't like Kvar, my central air is kaput and I have to rely on two window units. So be careful out there.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 11:09PM
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I'm not familiar with kvar, but I am with the Power Save 1200, 3200, and 3400. I'm assuming that these units are very similar. The 1200 is 2- 40 uF capacitors in parallel which is basically an 80 uF capacitor rated for 200 amps single phase. The 3200 consists of 6- 40 uF capacitors in a series parallel configuration, 120 uF per phase rated for 200 amps 3 phase. The 3400 is 6- 60 uF capacitors in a series parallel configuration, 180 uF per phase rated for 400 amps 3 phase.

I am an IBEW Union electrician. I was recently introduced to these units by a fellow electrican friend that has been installing them. I thought this was an excellent opportunity to make some $$ in this down economy. I must admit that I was very excited. I saw immediate results with a power factor meter after hooking the single phase unit (1200) to my home. I turned on the AC, washer, and dish washer. The initial power factor was .77 and was corrected to .99 on both phases immediately after turning unit on. The amps went down roughly 10% on each phase also. The unit did what the company claimed.

Here's the problem. Out of 4 commercial installations, all 4 bills went up, not down as Power-Save promises. My friend and I called Power-Save and they said that the bill going up is absolutely impossible because the amperage goes down. I was very irritated at this point and got back into my apprenticeship books and started doing research on the internet. I found this forum and I saw the light.

True power or Real power = voltage x current x PF

A kilowatt hour meter only sees real power, not apparent power. I conducted tests again on my panel with the unit on and off and guess what. The KW never changed. The PF was corrected and the amperage went down, but it's all relative. It's a wash. As amps go down, PF goes up and as PF goes down, amps go up. You still achieve the same product. There is no change in voltage.

This is a very clever scam. The unit does correct power factor and perhaps is good overall for the system to run more efficiently, but who cares if it doesn't save $$.

The capacitors in these units are made in China and after doing some research, the capacitors can be purchased for a little over $2 a piece. The markup on these units is absolutely incredible.

I spoke with Power Save and they claim that they are selling an average of 4000 units a month with less that 1% returns. I don't understand how that can be true based on my experience with this product so far.

I did one more isolated test with the (3200) unit on a 3 phase 3 wire 75HP pump motor. The initial KW with the unit off was 37.74. The KW increased to 38.91 with the unit on. This explains why the other installations actually increased the bill. The installations took place at a residence, 2 Subways, and 2 gas station/food marts. The only positive that came out of this was that the beer was ice cold at the food marts. The coolers were running more efficient because of the power factor correction, but at a higher $$ price.

I wish this could have worked out because I could sure use the $$ right now. What can I say. I did the test and meters don't lie. It's a very clever scam and I don't understand how they've been in business for 5 years now.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 2:26AM
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"My friend and I called Power-Save and they said that the bill going up is absolutely impossible because the amperage goes down."

"The initial KW with the unit off was 37.74. The KW increased to 38.91 with the unit on."

Capacitors are not perfect devices, they have a factor called loss tangent. The loss tangent is related to the effective series resistance of the capacitor and the dielectric losses.
The more current they move around the higher the internal losses causing the capacitor to heat up.
That is why they have ripple current ratings.

The KVAR weenies (and I am being polite) are trying to cover for paying money for something they do not understand and getting ripped off.
The answer you received, "bill going up is absolutely impossible because the amperage goes down," as you have found out shows a gross ignorance of electric power.

Amps are NOT power.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 8:29AM
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The only way I see this unit saving $$ is if utility companies begin using meters that monitor apparent power rather than true power. I proved that the amps do go down with the unit on which definitely would reduce the apparent power.

These units are useless so long as utility companies use kilowatt hour meters reading only true power.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 11:46AM
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Large industrial users do pay more if they have a poor power factor since the grid must support the apparent power and not just the dissipated power.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 12:46PM
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I know that commercial customers are charged different rates depending on usage and time of the day. Are these charges still based on kilowatt hours just as residential customers?

I'm just trying to understand how some people claim to have a savings with these units. I find it hard to believe that less than 1% get returned. What is your take on this?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 4:38PM
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Across the states (and other sub municipalities that regulate power prices) there are a wide number of metering methods.

There are rates based on peak power, power and power factor, just power (typical for single family residential), and other methods the utilities negotiate with their regulators.

There are discounts for load shedding under utility control, for running backup generators under utility command, and other methods to reduce peak power.

Residential customers are not billed for 'apparent power' (AKA V-A) so adjusting power factor is of no advantage to an individual who is not paying based on power factor.

Outside of actually being able to add and remove a unit under the same load and measure power (NOT amps) there is no way to actually verify if the unit does reduce power consumption.

The theory behind power factor correction is well understood though, and adjusting the power factor when you are using a watt-hour meter to measure actual power consumed the power factor has no impact.

Power = amps * volts * power factor.
A watt-hour meter only measures the real power consumed, no matter what the power factor.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 5:39PM
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Just in case it is not clear, changing the power factor after the meter may reduce the amps drawn, but the overall power factor of the load increase by exactly as much as the current reduction.

Adjusting the power factor 5% would result in a 5% drop in current making the real power used a wash, not including any losses in the power factor correction equipment (and is has losses).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 5:43PM
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To: Brickeyee

I'm on the same page with you regarding kilowatt hour meters and power factor correction.

I do have a question though. As I mentioned before, the unit did cause a cooler to be much colder in a food mart/gas station. There was no savings, but the motor apparently ran more efficiently.

In regards to air conditioners, is it possible that correcting power factor could cause the system to run more efficiently resulting in the thermostat kicking the system off and indirectly saving $$ because of less use? The church that I attend has 6 units that are very old. I'm just curious if the power factor correction unit may cause an indirect $$ savings due to the air conditioners running less time. What do you think?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 12:38PM
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It seems to me that one doesn't need to be an electrical engineer much less than electrician to figure out these devices don't work. Hell, even the village idiot isn't that stupid. Why? Has anyone noticed that this incredibly effective device that saves consumers 60% on their electric bill has somehow managed to escape the notice of every leading news outlet and consumer organization in the country?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 1:01PM
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I am an electrician and have tested the units. They do correct power factor and lower amperage, but as you may have read above, kilowatt hour meters do not see the power factor correction. I don't know about 60% savings, but the company guarantees at least 8%+ savings per month. I did file a complaint with the better business bureau because of their false claims. They need to disclose that the units do not work if a kilowatt hour meter is the type of meter monitoring power useage. Kilowatt hour meters are the typical meters used across the country as far as I know, so they are screwing many people with this clever scam.

There is an argument that power factor correction does cause motors to run more efficiently which could indirctly save $$. For example, an air conditioner may not run as often, therefore saving $$. I don't know if that is a valid argument though and am waiting for further discussion on that topic.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Effective power factor correction occurs when the correction means is matched to the load and energized only when that load is energized. Any other approach is just a crapshoot with similar odds.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 5:11PM
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The claim that power-factor correction will cause a motor to run more efficiently is just as bogus as the other claims.
Although PFC applied at the motor will reduce the line current, and hence the i^2R losses in the line feeding the motor, the current and power factor drawn by the motor itself will stay the same with or without the capacitor.
With no cap in circuit, the motor current is the same as the line current.
What happens when the cap is connected is that the motor current becomes equal to the line current plus the capacitor current. Note though, that it is not just the algebraic sum, the currents add like vectors (phasors if you are pedantic).
I hope this is reasonably clear. It can tie the heads of the uninitiated into knots (been there done that).

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 8:06PM
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The only situation I can think of were power factor correction could improve motor performance is if the line drop is so large the motor had low voltage at its terminals.

Decreasing the current might then restore the voltage at the motor enough to improve performance.

Any installation with that kind of issue was marginal at best to start with.

When circuit runs become excessively long, all sorts of problems start to creep in.
At high currents voltage drop becomes an issue, and even inductive effects in the wiring can start to affect how things behave.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 10:31AM
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I tested a unit from www.energysavermart.com which is like the KVAR in claiming huge savings. I bought 3 units from them - a 2401M which is the whole house unit installed at the breaker panel and (2) 2401S units which are installed at the A/C or heat pump and are wired on the output side of the power relay so that they are only energized when the A/C is running.

These units have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee so I figured "what the heck?" and bought them.

I have read reports from the skeptics saying these devices do not work and from the testimonials of users who say their electric bills were dramatically reduced. I figured the best and only way for me to decide whether these work was a controlled experiment, which I performed as follows:

I first turned off all of the breakers in my house except for one of my two A/C units and one of my two furnaces (for the blower motor). I then turned my thermostat up to 80 degrees and I checked my electric meter for 4 minutes to make sure that it did not move (which it did not) verifying that I had no electric load running.

I then turned my thermostat down to 60 degrees and used my stopwatch to time how long it took my electric meter to make 50 revolutions, which was 6 minutes and 30 seconds (390 seconds).

I then turned the thermostat back up and installed one of the 2401S units, removing the hard start capacitor (as per the written instructions). I then turned the thermostat back down to 60 degrees and used my stopwatch to time how long it took my meter to make 50 revolutions, which was now 6 minutes and 29 seconds (389 seconds, which was virtually the same as without the unit installed, but actually 1 second faster!).

I then turned the thermostat back up to 80 degrees and I removed the 2401S from my A/C, reinstalling the hard start capacitor. I turned the thermostat down to 60 degrees and again timed how long it took my electric meter to make 50 revolutions, which was now 6 minutes and 27 seconds (387 seconds).

So - my results were 390 seconds without the unit, 389 seconds with the unit, 387 seconds again without the unit. All trials were within 1% of each other which would be within a normal margin of error for no change, so I feel confident in saying that the 2401S made no difference in the metered electric usage.

All three trials were within a 40 minute period in the morning (10:00 am to 10:40 am) with the ambient air temperature virtually unchanged. My A/C is positioned so that it received no direct sun at any time during my experiment.

I did NOT measure the amp draw with or without the 2401S unit, since I was only concerned with saving money and my electric bill is based on the meter movement, not on the measured amp draw.

As a note of praise for www.energysavermart.com - the units seemed to be well built, the installation instructions were well written and easy to follow, and when I returned the units under the 30 day satisfaction guarantee my money was promptly refunded to my PayPal account with no problems or hassles. I was unable to check the internal wiring on the unit because it was sealed and opening it would have voided my warranty and voided my ability to exercise my 30 day satisfaction return.

In conclusion - do these devices save money on a residential electric meter? In my opinion - NO!!!! I admit that I did not test the KVAR brand though, but the principle of that device is the same.

To any of the KVAR dealers (or to the sellers of any other similar devices) out there - if you believe that your units do actually work, send me one and I will promptly install your device and do a controlled test to determine the electric meter usage both with and without the device installed. If your unit does not save electricity, I will return it to you (you pay postage). Furthermore, if I am able to measure even a 5% reduction in electric usage (which is far less than the claims on your devices) I WILL GLADLY PAY FULL LIST PRICE for the unit and allow my name, photograph, and results to be used for free in any advertising and testimonials for your product.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 5:41AM
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Victor registered for this forum today. One can assume that the purpose was to shill for this worthless junk.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 6:55PM
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You might want to read the post again, Bus. He says his test showed that the gadgets don't work.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Interesting how it is one year and one day after the last post.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 3:34PM
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To The Einsteins In The Group Who Can Not Spell Like Me But Can Perform Some Simple Research On The Power Factor Correction Issue.

To Start With, I Have A High End Solar Panel On-grid System That Does Slow Down My Electrical Meter Nicely.

Does This Mean That A Kvar Would Do The Same Thing? The Answer Is No.

However, This Is Word For Word Out Of My Electric Company Contract

When, Based On A Test Of The Customer's Power Factor, The Power Factor Is Below 85% Lagging, The Billing Demand May Be Increased By Adding 1% Of The Actual Demand For Each 1% That The Power Factor Is Below 85%.

Now What Does The Above Statement Mean?

It Means That My Residential Power Provider Will Charge Me More Money For Power That Is Produced Below The 85% Power Factor Mark. Thats Right Folks, Read Your Electric Contract Closely Because When The Power Factor Drops, Your Provider Has Every Legal Right To Charge You Extra Money.

Will The Kvar Save You Money? Answer Is Yes. Why? Because It Is A Power Factor Correction Device. Would I Pay More Than $100 For It? Never, Because With At Least A Much More Costly Solar Panel System, I Can See My Meter Slow And Reach Net Metering Status, The Kvar Does Not Do That But The Kvar Does Perform Power Factor Correction Which Does Extend The Life Of Appliances, Which Does Save You Money. How Much Money Does It Save Is Literally Impossible To Determine, But For Under $100 I Will Give It A Shot, Especially In A Screwed Up Economy.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 12:03AM
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"To The Einsteins In The Group Who Can Not Spell Like Me But Can Perform Some Simple Research On The Power Factor Correction Issue.:"

We also learned how to use capitalization.
You might research that.

"However, This Is Word For Word Out Of My Electric Company Contract

When, Based On A Test Of The Customer's Power Factor, The Power Factor Is Below 85% Lagging, The Billing Demand May Be Increased By Adding 1% Of The Actual Demand For Each 1% That The Power Factor Is Below 85%."

I do not have an "Electric Company Contract" the same as nearly every other residential power user and am not billed for power factor, just like every other residential customer.

Correcting my power factor does NOTHING for my bill since I ONLY PAY FOR REAL POWER.

You agreed to sell power back to the POCO I bet, and they are trying to do everything they can to increase what they can charge you to offset the 'cost' you are presenting to them.

Get real.

Correcting PF only benefits the POCO if you use a watt-hour meter.
They only record REAL power (watt-hours) not power factor (V-A-hours).

Unless you are being billed based on PF (as it appears you are under your contract) adjusting the power factor will have no effect on real power (watt-hours).

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:18AM
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Power factor correction requires careful selection of components. You don't get that from an overpriced, high-margin "one size fits all" gadget.

The main function of "KVAR" devices is to move pieces of green paper from your pocket into someone else's.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:48AM
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"Power factor correction requires careful selection of components."

Not only that, but the POCO gets very nervous about over-correction so that your load looks capacitive.

The grid system is set up to deal with inductive loads, and over-correcting will not save money (even if you are billed for PF) and can cause all sorts of grid stability problems.

Luckily the overall inductance of the system and other loads normally swamps any minor over-correction so the POCO still sees an inductuve load.

Power factor correction works, and reduces the reactive load the POCO sees, saving them money.

Since residential power is NOT billed based on PF, correcting it does NOTHING to reduce your bill.

You do not pay based on current (amps) drawn.

You pay based on dissipated power, watt-hours.
Unlike in simple DC circuits, AC power is volts x amps x power factor.
Reducing the amps drawn has no affect on the power if the reduction is achieved by altering the power factor.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 8:41AM
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I love threads about scams like this one. I enjoy observing how resourceful they get. It helps me spot similar things in other fields where there is more at stake. It really helps (I've never lost more than $5000 investing in stocks, in employees or in clients, but there is always some way to improve). The first response from greg_h was great. Keep up the good work brickeyee and everyone.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 7:05PM
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The manufacturers and many dealers of these products are aware that they do not save residential customers any money. I have watched 3 demonstrations at home shows in person. I even asked the demonstrators to connect a power meter and show me the before and after results on their own demonstration units. All three refused to do it. Their demostrations are all done the same way. The show the amperage draw of the circuit with the KVAR unit off and then on. Their is always a reduction of at least 60% in amperage with the unit on. They claim that amperage reduction is power reduction. That is a bold face lie. That one lie is what sells these useless units. As far as I am concerned, someone should go to jail.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 1:00AM
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That is somewhat like a "5 horsepower" vacuum cleaner (that plugged into a 15A 120V receptacle) I saw at a fair booth once. When I stated that the motor could not produce 5 hp from that circuit unless it also repealed one or more of the laws of physics, the seller launched into BS mode. When that failed, he eventually offered me $20 to get lost, I told him if he would merely say "you are right", he could keep the money.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 2:37AM
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