The Zap Box - Does it Work?

Two summers ago I googled "save electricity" and was shocked to find a residential power factor correction device as one of the top hits on Google for the topic.  Power factor correction has been proven to save industrial customer money by reducing any penalties they may pay the utility for poor power factor, but as I stated in my post on power factor correction, utilities don't charge  residential customers based on power factor!

The device I found when I googled "save electricity" was then called Plug and Save, but it seems that the company (or the person behind who owned the original Plug and Save site) has re-branded (could it be because of criticism that they were making false claims?) and is now calling the device The Zap Box. For instance, when I now google "save electricity", Plug and Save is gone, and Zap Box is in its place.  I must commend them for working on their SEO tactics!  Check out this post seen on Open4Energy that reviews some of the Zap Box claims. 

On the original Plug and Save website, they claimed, "Save Electricity by up to 40%!".  So I found it hilarious that on the new Zap Box website they state:

Don't be mislead by other powersaver companies suggesting savings of "up to 40%".  Savings this high are equally possible with The Zap Box too but as they are not typical (with any powersaving device) we choose to stay ethical with our claims.

Are you kidding me?  If The Zap Box is indeed Plug and Save, weren't they the ones claiming savings up to 40%?  They now claim you can save up to 15% off your electricity bill with their device.  I would love to see some proof of that from an independent expert.  If that is the case, I would start selling them immediately.   If you're wondering how a "power saver" works, here is how it is described.

They claim their device is not just a power factor correction device, but then how does it save energy?  I would love to hear some technical claims from them.

Power factor correction companies make some big claims on your energy savings, but I have never seen any proof that their products live up to those claims.  Yes, I know that power factor correction devices help reduce I²R losses, but what does that equal in energy savings in the residential setting?  I've read that most modern household appliances and equipment has power factor correction elements built into it!

I'm not sure how the Zap Box works, but I do feel they use questionable evidence to validate their claims.  For instance, under their "Proof" section on the the Zap Box website, the anecdotal evidence they provide either only applies to industrial customers (like the DOE paper) or doesn't meet rigorous scientific tests (like the Hodges Test paper).  Until someone can show me a test where they set up two identical houses (or electrical circuits similar to what is used in a home), one with a power factor correction product ( or a power saver device) and one without, and then prove to me that the power factor correction device saved the energy they claim it will save, I'm saying your time and money is spent on more valuable energy conservation measures for your home!

Other Links:

Proof that Power Factor Correction Doesn't Work

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Very good post ... The killer argument is at the beginning, and it's purely economic ... ---utilities don’t charge residential customers based on power factor! Utilities charge commercial/industrial under a different schedule, where it makes sense for the customer to correct the power factor, and then only there is a significant discrepency from 100%. Businesses know/do that a long way back. Nothing new is discovered by the new prophets of residential PF correction... Their marketing hype is their only discovery ... And if the circuit design inside their PF equipment is wrong, it may easily use more electricity when the PF equipment is idle ...than the savings produced when there is a PF correction
Preach it, brother. ;)
True PF correction is not a money saver residentially that i can tell. A small capacitor can help if a house has some decent size motors but I did an experiment with one and am not able to discern improvements because of variables. However, the new smart meters seem to be picking up on poor power factor in houses and the customer is getting charged from what i can see. Also, in commercial, the case is much different and there are very large penalties for poor power factor. There are different rate schedules. Often the company doesn't even know or understand how they are being billed.

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