Renewable energy has been a huge topic in the tech world since climate change and scarcity of resources became increasingly understood. It is a problem of today and not a problem of tomorrow. Those who already use renewable energy as a primary or secondary source of power understand how important measuring home energy use is. It can help to know what your energy needs are, and it can also help to know whether or not you can handle going “off the grid” without some major lifestyle changes.
Even if you aren’t concerned about how your energy gets to your home, knowing how you use energy can help you to be more efficient. It can also help you to save money or conserve energy to reduce your carbon footprint on the Earth. The problem lies in how you know where you use energy and how you can change it.
How to Measure Home Energy Use
Most public utility departments handling electricity distribution now include usage reports in their monthly usage reports. In some districts, you can access real-time data online. This is because of smart readers, which are installed on the outside of your home near the main panel. They can be read from a distance and supply the electrical department with more information than they used to be able to get via manually-read meters. However, outdoor meters only give you an overall idea of how much energy you are using. If you want to really evaluate your energy use, there are other options.
Household monitors are installed at your breaker panel, and they learn how to read your homes electrical system over the course of a few weeks. They must be installed by a licensed electrician, and they are totally worth it. Check out the household monitor, Sense, and you’ll understand how state-of-the-art these devices are.
One you have a household monitor installed, it learns your behaviors and your appliances. You can evaluate all of these details from the convenience of your smartphone or other electronic device. It maps it all out for you. You may find that one appliance is sapping up a good portion of your electric bill. On one review, a person found that one appliance was using a strangely large amount of electricity. He ultimately found a pinched electric cord. In this case, the household energy monitor saved him money and a fire hazard.
Appliance monitors will show you if your refrigerator really is as efficient as stated in the sales pitch. These monitors are plugged into the wall, and they show usage instantly on a screen when an appliance is plugged into them. You can monitor usage this way, and you can also detect anything that is causing spikes or surges in electricity use.
In today’s world of smart homes, it is no wonder that smart plugs can also monitor energy use. TP-Link Kasa has a smart plug that also monitors energy usage. If you put them on all of your major appliances, you’d have a good idea of what items are worth remaining plugged in, and which one’s should simply go away and save you a lot of money.
Smart Circuit Breakers:
Smart circuit breakers are the next big thing in home energy. They allow you to remotely turn on or off a breaker and also allow your electrician to troubleshoot easily. As far as monitoring home energy use, these devices are equipped with all the information of other Wi-Fi enabled monitors, and you can monitor entire circuits in this way.
What do you do with energy use info?
There are many different things that can be done with the information gathered from home energy use monitors. The first of course, is nothing. Installing energy monitors is fun. It is also an interesting thing to understand and know how your consumption affects your energy bill. Maybe you are fairly efficient, and this is great! Having monitors may not make you do anything immediately, but down the road, they may help you detect faulty appliances.
The next thing you may be able to do is eliminate some old appliances that are consuming WAY too much energy. If you have a 1980s refrigerator that for some unnatural reason still works, you’ll see that you may actually save money by upgrading. Energystar-rated products are typically the best way to go. Other things that may be using too much juice are old televisions and even halogen light bulbs. Most lights should be changed or in the process of being changed to LED, which uses way less energy.
Lastly, you can change your energy consumption habits. In the world of LED lighting, it isn’t as important to turn off the lights. However, if you are running the dishwasher twice a day, it may help your electric bill if you wash a few dishes by hand (Oh the agony!). Lifestyle alterations may be turning off the electricity are changing the thermostat by two degrees. Each adjustment is personal, and there are many options.