Why is Electrical Power Quality Important?

power-qualityIn any construction or home improvement project, business, office or personal home, it is vitally important to have good power quality, both for purposes of safety and efficiency. In this article we will explain what is meant by the term electrical power quality, we will explain the problems and hassles that having poor power quality can cause. Finally, we will briefly explain how to fix problems of poor power quality, and outline the substantial benefits of having a good connection to hand.

What is meant by Electrical Power Quality?

Simply put, electrical power quality is what is says on the tin – it is a measure of the quality of an electrical connection. An electrical signal is comprised of a sinusoidal (up and down) wave, and the power of a wave is equal to the energy transported per second. This means that power is a combination of both the height and size of the peaks and troughs of the waves, and also the speed at which the wave travels. A high quality wave is a wave that is pure. Electrical signals often pick up noise (irregularities along the signal) that can distort information and the power transported, and sometimes the peaks and troughs of the wave can be too large or too shallow, usually due to surges caused by external disturbances of the grid. In short then, electrical power quality refers to the purity and stability of the electrical wave.

Why does Electrical Power Quality matter?

Fundamentally, electrical power quality matters for the reasons outlined above, the purity and stability of the electrical power you are receiving. Many appliances, tools and machines are designed to operate on very specific ranges of electrical power, and a poor power quality could mean the power lapses outside of this range. This can be quite dangerous, as machinery can malfunction, become unsafe to use and not operate in a way that fulfils its purpose. It also makes it likely that you will need to spend more time repairing machinery, or replace items earlier, both of which are expensive to do. This is a big safety risk, and an irritating inconvenience for all parties concerned.

Having a low power quality can often result in energy bills becoming more expensive, as electrical power quality is not something accounted for by suppliers when charging tariffs for their energy services. It also leaves the client liable for reactive power consumption charges, which can be quite expensive.

Finally, in the Information Technology Sector, or any project involving computerised technology, it is a conceivable issue that poor power quality can lead to loss of data from hard drives, as the irregularity in power can lead to computers malfunctioning, turning off unexpectedly, or facing CPU damage. Loss of such data could, in certain scenarios, be really damaging to a company or a private individual. It is something that should be avoided at all costs, meaning any steps to reduce the risk by improving power quality should be taken.

How can I ensure that I have good Electrical Power Quality?

The best way to ensure that you have good electrical power quality is to invest in an active dynamic filter, to fit into your connection. Such a filter is designed to cancel out imbalances in the signal you are receiving, ensuring that it is both consistent, pure and stable. There are numerous sorts of mechanisms by which a signal can lose quality, such as through harmonic interference, flickering or voltage variations. Filters are designed with all of these mechanisms in mind, and are specifically made to counteract them by recomposing the wave back to its pure, original, desired format. Filters are easy to fit in buildings, and whilst installation may require energy professionals and have a moderate upfront cost, this is more than compensated for by the reduced risk of damage to systems and the reduction in energy costs that you will experience.

The benefits of having such a system in place are huge. You can relax in comfort knowing that your energy bills will be cheaper, knowing that your equipment is not being slowly damaged by their source of power and that your electronic data is safe. Fundamentally, the risk of damage is massively reduced, because of the stability and lack of uncertainty that accompanies a high quality power source. We would argue that the often neglected issue of power quality is one that everybody should sit up and take notice of, and that the benefits of having a high quality power source are second to none.

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