power savers - fact or fiction
hi, a friend of mine is just redoing his part p course so i asked him about getting an electrisave device. (this is only a plug in monitiring device that measures the whole house usage). he said i would be better of getting one of these sockets that alter the current/voltage and use it for the fridge and freezer. his boss at work put him onto the idea despite his sceptisism.
my friend explained that it kind of reduces the peaks in the current waves amongst other things and makes it more efficient. I've been looking online for sava sockets and elecricity savers etc but i'm confused and also sceptical about what i've found. there are sockets designed for fridges which reduce the motor power usage but this doesn't seem to do what he said. seeing as i have a new and small fridge, i suspect this wouldn't make a huge saving.
the electricity savers i've found, do reputedly cut off the peaks etc, and you simply plug in one unit in the socket nearest the meter. these are alledged to reduce your overall power usage by 10-20%. i've found very little info on the technology used or anything concrete about the CE mark, although a few do claim to have them. I just wondered if anyone has tried anything like this and can recommend one? thanks
The electrisave you mention sounds like it may help. It looks like it would help you learn what things in your home are using how much electriciy, and thus allow you to change your usage and save electricity.
The electrical savers that I found claim to correct power factor. It is true that poor power factor does consume more electricity. However, you have very few things in your home that would cause power factor problems. Your AC motor is probably the only one that could be a major problem. The best solution to this problem is to purchas an AC with a higher effeciancy rating.
I am not sure about the UK, but in the US power factor is not metered in residential applications. We are billed on streight Kilo-watts. Kilo-wats will not change with power factor correction. Large industrial facilities do monitor power factor. Poor PF can cause transformers to have a shorter life span. These facilities use equipment that is so large that PF can become a Major problem. I work in one such facility, and the engineeres there have yet to find a majic widget for PF correction. Instead they purchase equipment with better PF ratings. Like motors with split start/run windings, and motors with built in capacitors.
I have not yet purchased any of the devices that you mention because I do not believe that there would be any savings. Instead I reccomend that you use the available proven technology. Use flourcent lights. Look for energy lables when purchasing appliances. Unplug transformers when not in use. (eg cell phone charger)
Power saving units?
I live in Ontario Canada, and our power company had this program that was an incentive for residents to install a Peak Saver box that would attach to our air conditioning units. It didn't cost us anything and was installed by the company. Supposedly, during peak times when the weather was really hot, this unit would kick in and from what I understand 'adjust' the thermostat to be actually 1 degree warmer than you actually set it. So for example, if you wanted the AC to run at 24 degrees celcius, it would adjust it to 25 (in the peak times). This is a good idea/concept, but if we really want it colder, we can put the temp to 23!
Also, there is a light that is on this monitoring device that stays on 24/7 and 365 days a year. I noticed this and perhaps this burns electricity too, even through the winter months. For that, I turned off the breaker in the winter so that I don't 'burn' any more electricity than I need to. A small amount, but still...I'm not outside looking at this box with a light on in the dead of winter!
Some incentives are great, but some energy savers kind of don't make sense. If I can buy 4 standard bulbs for $1 but the compact flourescents cost $4 each, even though you MAY save over the long term, the new bulbs don't fit everywhere and are more fragile and contain mercury...which can be dangerous if you ever drop the bulb...
Pros and cons.
Found this gadget on-line. It does NOTHING in itself to "save" electricity; it simply monitors usage. The basis for the "savings" assumes that the user will monitor his/her actual usage and make adjustments based on being able to see what is being used/what the associated cost is.
If you really want to "save" on your electric bill, install a capacitor upstream from your watthour meter to shift current 90deg. out of phase w.r.t. voltage. You'll notice the disk slow WAAAAY down!:wink: (NOTE: THIS CONSTITUTES THEFT AND I'M SIMPLY MENTIONING IT AS A JOKE. I DO NOT CONDONE IT [although I do drool each time I think about doing it]).
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