Q:

How do you explain power factor correction in layman's terms?

A:

Quick Answer

In layman's terms, power factor correction is a measure of how efficiently electrical power is converted into a usable output. The ideal power factor is one, meaning that all of the electricity is converted to usable energy; anything less than one means that additional electricity is required to obtain the desired output.

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Full Answer

When the power factor is less than one, the differential is known as reactive power. Motors and other inductive load devices unfortunately require reactive power to create a magnetizing field, which means that these types of electronics can never have the ideal power factor and always result in some wasted energy.

Power factor correction has been used since the early 20th century to bring the power factor as close to one as possible. Normally, this function is served by adding capacitors to the electrical network, which help to reduce the burden on the electrical supply without having a detrimental effect on the operation of the equipment. In addition to making the system more efficient and wasting less energy, power factor correction also helps to reduce the cost to the consumers who pay for the electrical output. It also helps to reduce the loss of voltage in long supply cables. The target corrected power factor is typically between 0.92 and 0.95.

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