Smart Energy Monitors for Your Home

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You should consider purchasing a home energy monitor for your house if you feel your energy bill is high but you are unsure where the power is being used. This monitor can help you to pinpoint when and where the energy in your home is being utilized. There are many different types of monitors, so you should first learn more about the capabilities of specific monitors before purchasing one. If you can accurately determine which appliances and in-home systems are using power, you can estimate the amount of money you spend on power monthly or annually. These calculations can be helpful if you are attempting to stick to a monthly budget.

An electricity usage monitor can also show you if a specific appliance or other piece of equipment is pulling power while not in use. If this is the case, you can start to completely unplug the device when it is not in use, which can make your home more energy efficient. To find out more about the uses for a home electricity monitor, the different capabilities of these models and how analyzing the results can save you money, read through the following sections.

What is a home energy monitor?

When you are considering different monitors, you will need to know the difference between a whole house electricity usage monitor and a single device electricity monitor. A whole-house monitor can give you data on the amount of energy that is used throughout your home in a specific time period. These monitors have different features, depending on the type that you choose. With a complex home energy monitoring system like a whole-house monitor, you can begin to understand which appliances and electronics are using the most power and the specific times of day that the most energy is being used in your home.

If you want to know more information about a specific appliance, electronic or electrical system in your home, however, you may not need a whole-house monitoring system. Instead, you can purchase a single device electricity usage monitor and plug the appliance in question into the device.

Some of the best home energy monitor devices on the market will be able to accurately tell you exactly how much power the appliance is using and at what times of the day it is using the most power. These devices are usually inexpensive, making them a smart investment if you want to be proactive about saving money on your utility bill. Although you can complete a home energy audit with your power company or with other energy professionals, energy monitors can help you make small changes to your energy use that may reduce your high bills without professional assistance.

Which electricity usage monitor should I buy?

Once you have decided between a whole house electric usage monitor and a single-device monitor, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of products on the market. There are many brands and models for both of these types of monitors that have different:

  • Price points.
  • Capabilities.
  • Results.
  • Qualities.

Before you begin to choose a home energy monitor to purchase, you should first have a clear understanding of the information you hope to glean by installing the device. Most single appliance electricity monitors have limits on the types of electronics they can monitor. Some of these monitors cannot handle appliances or electronics that pull a certain amount of voltage when powered on. Therefore, if you want to monitor the amount of power used by a larger appliance, such as a refrigerator or a clothes dryer, you should consider a more powerful monitor.

If you are leaning toward a complete home electricity monitoring system that will give you the power usage statistics on your entire home, you will also find several products on the market. Many of these monitors are “smart” devices and can be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. Your smartphone can also upload the data directly from the monitor so you can review your home’s energy usage in the palm of your hand.

Download our informative guide to saving money on utility bills to find out about government energy assistance for emergencies.

Why should I install a home electricity monitor?

An electricity usage monitor is an important purchase if you feel your home’s monthly utility bills are high and you want to investigate the causes. By monitoring a single appliance or your whole home’s energy usage, you can begin to understand your household’s patterns for utilizing energy. When you know exactly where and when the power is used in your home, you can begin to change your habits to lower your energy bills.

The use of a home energy monitor can also bring to light whether or not the appliances and electronics in your home are pulling “phantom loads” when they are not in use. If you monitor this power and find that energy is being pulled when no one in the family is using these devices, you should unplug them or turn them off. This can have a positive effect on your monthly utility bills and you can begin to see a change in your expenses after beginning to focus on eliminating this power use in the home. For example, come monitors may show that your cooling unit is using excessive amounts of energy. The results of this can indicate that you need to follow certain steps to make your house energy efficient during summer.

What can I use the results of a home energy monitoring system for?

If you installed an energy usage monitor on a specific appliance or electronic, you can use the results to analyze how much power it uses each day, week, month or year. For example, if you recently got a new coffee maker and you want to be sure it will not use a lot of power when it is plugged in, you can attach a monitor to the device. You can then analyze the results to ensure you can keep it plugged into the wall without using it exhibiting the use of phantom loads. However, if the results show that the coffee maker uses a lot of energy while not in use, you should consider unplugging it each morning after you have made your coffee.

You can also use a home energy monitor to ensure the appliance or device in question is operating properly. On major appliances, you should find a yellow Energy Guide sticker. This sticker tells you the approximate amount of power the appliance uses. While this is just a general average for the amount of power used, you can compare it to the reading your monitor provides to ensure it is around the same amount of energy. If it is pulling excessive energy, the appliance may need to be repaired, replaced or maintained.

With a whole house electricity usage monitor, you can find out about how much power you use throughout your home. Even if you only use the monitor for a week or two, you can easily estimate how much energy your home will use for the month or year. If smart energy monitors do not help or meet your current energy needs, download our comprehensive guide to LIHEAP assistance.