What is Home Energy Monitoring?
Reminding family members (over and over again) to turn off the lights is one form of energy monitoring. Installing a home energy monitor to track daily electricity usage is a far more effective one. But is it worth it? How much do you really achieve? If you’re looking to control your household power consumption, not just track it, a monitor only goes so far.
A home energy monitor (commonly called a home electricity monitor), helps you track and understand how much energy you’re using — when and where, and on which appliances and devices. It has a sensor that measures your household electricity usage and a small screen that shows the actual kWh your refrigerator, dishwasher, air conditioner, etc. are using in real-time. Smart models can transmit the time data and other details to your computer or smartphone as well.
There’s also a plug-in energy monitor (a.k.a. electricity meter) that plugs directly into the mains. Plug your electrical appliances into it, and you’ll see how much energy they’re using on a handy screen. Along with wattage, voltage, frequency and current, this type of power meter tracks time and electricity price. What you do with this time data is up to you.
To save on electricity costs and make a real impact on your long-term energy budget, you should consider a smart home system that monitors energy and manages it.
How Can I Monitor My Energy Usage at Home?
Turning down thermostats, unplugging devices and using appliances during non peak hours can all curb your energy usage. A home energy monitor (HEM) kicks things up a notch by tracking usage more precisely and providing time data to help you understand your electricity use overall. It can also discover hidden power drains without you having to hunt for them.
A home energy monitor comes in many available options — from a small plug-in power meter to a whole house electricity usage monitor. All do what they’re designed to do (monitor energy) but on different scales and levels of functionality.
A whole-house power monitor has sensors that connect to your home’s power meter or electrical panel and track each appliance. It shows how much energy you use daily, weekly, and monthly — so you can look for ways to save on your electricity budget. Bob Villa’s Home Energy Monitor guide explains how different types of monitors work and gives practical tips like how to use them with programmable thermostats.
Smart home energy monitoring systems break down your electricity usage and provide real-time insights to your smartphone or computer. Connected to your home’s electrical panel or electricity meter, they track each appliance remotely. But while this technology is impressive, it puts the onus on you to figure out what to do with all the data. Whether smart or basic, an energy monitor is designed to diagnose problems, not implement solutions.
How else can you monitor your energy budget? You can use the data from your HEM to do a basic time cost analysis to and find more ways to save. Your electric bills will also show your consumption (watts), energy price (per kWh) and usage time (hours/day). You can plug those numbers into a formula yourself — or try the SaveOnEnergy® kWh Calculator. It can also help you understand your electric bill and how it’s calculated.
While the time cost calculation is basic, you also need to factor in things like: variable electric rates; different operating modes (operating vs. standby); and how many hours a day the device operates. This requires a lot of number crunching!
Monitoring your home’s energy usage is just the first step. Read on to find simpler ways to reduce energy costs, control your electricity budget, and really optimize your household energy use overall.
What are the Top Home Energy Monitors?
There are several types of home energy monitor systems on the market today. A home energy monitor (also called an electricity monitor or electricity meter) delivers instant reports on energy usage and most connect to your smartphone or Wi-Fi. Some even give recommendations for improving your energy efficiency — e.g., upgrading your refrigerator.
The top home energy monitors come with a variety of features. Do you want to monitor a single appliance at a time or your entire house? For individual appliances, an affordable plug-in power meter should do the trick. For a “big picture” look at your complete energy usage, consider a household energy monitor that plugs into your home’s energy meter or electrical panel and shows patterns over time.
All in all, the top smart home energy monitors on the market are fairly similar, but differ based on their connectivity, price, or applicability to different energy networks. What’s the best home energy monitor to meet your goals?
Home energy monitor reviews often name these in their top 3 HEMs:
Sense Energy Monitor – Generally considered the most advanced of the top energy monitors as it’s able to connect to existing smart home networks. Requires professional installation.
Emporia Vue Smart Home Energy Monitor — Easier to install and more affordable than Sense, this HEM sends energy progress and consumption reports to your phone. However, it only works in a small number of US states — so be sure to check first.
Eyedro Home Energy Monitor — The most customizable smart home monitor, this one lets you pick which circuits to monitor. Clip the sensors to the circuit and then connect to the Internet using the provided Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.
More top contenders:
CURB Home Energy Monitoring System — The most comprehensive of the energy monitoring devices listed here but also the most expensive. Curb tracks individual appliances, monitors solar power and can control smart devices from its app.
Neurio Home Electricity Monitor — Comes solar-ready and connects to the home load panel. Monitors solar performance and storage needs; offers real-time energy monitoring from your smartphone or computer.
Smappee Home Energy Monitor — An easy-to-use system that includes appliance detection and real-time monitoring from its mobile app. Choose from the traditional energy monitor or a solar energy monitor version.
Do Energy Monitor Like Sense Really Work?
In short, yes. A home energy monitor like Sense does what it’s supposed to do: monitor energy use. Sense effectively tracks how much electricity you’re using and identifies patterns over time. It can monitor your home remotely, through its iOS, Android and web apps, and provide real-time insights to help you make decisions. It helps you understand the extent of your whole-house electricity use and may encourage you to change your habits and behavior — but the rest is up to you.
So, while energy monitors like Sense effectively track your energy consumption, they just don’t do enough to control it.
Is It Worth It Installing a Home Energy Monitor?
Residential energy monitoring is a useful way to raise your awareness about household “power hogs” and wasteful power consumption as a whole. When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, measuring and monitoring electricity use is a good first step.
Energy monitors handle this first step effectively. Whole-house models connected to your home energy meter or electrical panel can monitor your refrigerator, clothes dryer, cooling system, etc. Most deliver loads of data, often more than you need. Which leaves you the homeowner with fancy charts and graphs containing days, weeks and months of data to assess and act on. In short, you have a detailed energy report but are left to implement your own action plan.
A home energy monitor can only do so much. If you’re interested in controlling your energy usage (and energy budget), consider a home energy management system instead.
Welcome to Next Level Energy Monitoring: The Responsive Home Energy Manager
To control energy use and really make a long-term difference, consider a comprehensive home energy management system like the one from Lumin. Using smart technology, Lumin’s system combines both energy monitoring and multiple levels of control. So it can discover and diagnose the problem areas (like a home energy monitor) and then implement flexible solutions to fix and manage them.
The premier energy management system, Lumin is bringing the next wave of connectivity to the home energy market. Using smart technology, it manages your entire household at the circuit or breaker level.
Whereas the Sense home energy monitor can show real-time reports on how much energy you’re using, Lumin can act on real-time data to make real-time decisions on which loads or circuits to power — and can actually do something about it.
Based on questions like: Is the sun shining? What’s the weather forecast? What is my current electricity pricing?, Lumin enables homeowners to take control. This level of smart home intelligence takes power monitoring and home energy management to the next level.
Flexible Home Energy Management
Flexibility and control are key. Lumin’s smart home energy management system provides responsive load control that adjusts automatically to grid conditions, electricity pricing, and more. You’re in control and can choose which devices to turn on or off and which circuits to support with energy storage.
By making all circuits smart, Lumin enables whole-home backup. You can manage your energy usage and protect your batteries from running out of juice — all remotely through an app on your smartphone or laptop.
Whole Home Battery Backup
With Lumin you can shed vampire loads and protect essential appliances during power outages — all through whole home battery backup. It’s like having a home power monitor and backup storage all in one.
With whole home battery backup you can access all of your home’s circuits and decide which appliances to power in a grid outage, based on time of year, solar production, battery charge state, etc. Lumin’s smart technology lets you configure your system with partial backup if that’s all you need.
With its smartphone app, you can remotely set schedules and modes and change them anytime — even during power outages.
Switch to Smart Energy Management with Lumin
A home energy monitor (HEM) does what it’s designed to do: monitor energy use. It helps you understand which appliances and devices use the most juice. Pro: HEMs make you think about your power consumption and can motivate you to curb your energy use to save costs or save the planet. Con: That’s all they do.
A home energy monitor on its own will not save you money. To save on your electricity bills, you need an energy management system that can monitor and make a measurable difference.
Rather than buying a basic energy monitor, why not invest in a complete smart energy manager with monitoring built in? Leave it to Lumin to monitor, measure and control your energy consumption — using the Lumin Smart Panel’s proprietary sensor boards, relays and next level of smart home connectivity.
Installing a smart energy management system now rather than later is a smart way to save money on your energy bill and optimize your whole-house energy system. Plus, it increases safety and peace of mind, knowing you can turn off the oven or iron remotely if you forget. With the Lumin app, you have complete (and remote) control, wherever you are.
Take control of your energy now and start saving with Lumin.