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Understanding How Harmonics Affect Power Factor

Category: PQ Theory, Power Quality, Harmonics/Interharmonics

Understand how harmonics affect power factor and how this process varies from traditional issues with inductive loads.


Adding PF correction capacitors could increase the level of harmonics due to resonances with inductive loads.


It’s important to measure the harmonic levels before and after installing correction capacitors to verify that harmonic levels are reasonable.


Tuned filters or other harmonic mitigation techniques may be used to reduce the nonlinear current.


An understanding of how traditional inductive and modern nonlinear loads reduce power factor is essential for taking the correct steps to reduce system losses.


Inductive loads create a phase shift in current, which decreases real power for the same apparent power.


This may be mitigated with correction capacitors to shift the current back.


Nonlinear loads don’t reduce real power, rather they increase the apparent power presented to the system.


This mechanism is not affected by phase shifts, and harmonic filters may be needed to improve the power factor...


This White Paper Includes:

  • Power Factor Definition
  • Real Power
  • Power Factor with Undistorted Waveforms
  • Power Factor with Distorted Waveforms
  • Mixed Loads

Download White Paper Here