home energy monitoring

Home Energy Monitoring: A Guide to Reduce Electricity Usage

By Laura BourlandRise Writer
Oct 1, 2020

Have you looked at your electricity bill to pinpoint where you can reduce your energy consumption? You probably noticed your energy company doesn't provide you with much more than the amount of electricity used and what it will cost you. Buying energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights, and unplugging devices is a great start, but we can do more! Home energy monitoring solutions exist to answer all your questions and help you save on your electric bill every month. Choosing the right monitor for your home relies on your identification of the top features your family needs.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Home Energy Monitoring?
  2. How Much Electricity Does a Household Use Per Month?
  3. Can I Reduce My Energy Usage With Energy-Efficient Products?
  4. How Can I Monitor Energy Usage at Home?
  5. How Can I Track My Energy Usage at Home?
  6. How Can I Tell Which Appliance Is Using Too Much Electricity?
  7. Can Home Energy Monitoring Save Me Money?
  8. What Is the Best Smart Home Energy Monitor?
  9. What Are the Leading Brands of Home Energy Monitors?
  10. Become a Smart Energy Consumer
Emporia Gen 2 Vue Energy Monitor
Emporia Gen 2 Vue Energy Monitor. Photo Credit: Emporia

What is Home Energy Monitoring?

Every time you receive a monthly electric bill, you receive a basic form of home energy monitoring. Most homeowners look straight to how much they have to pay this month. However, most utility companies also include total energy usage, monthly energy usage over the past 6-12 months, and changes in price per kilowatt-hour. Smart home energy monitoring systems go a step farther to monitor and observe minute-by-minute trends in how energy is used in the home.

These systems either connect to your home's electrical panel or meter. They serve as a communication platform for homeowners, appliances, devices, and sometimes the utility company. These systems can monitor and observe minute-by-minute trends in how energy use in the home.

There are several different types of home energy monitoring systems on the market today. However, most allow homeowners to track the energy consumption of each appliance in the home. Today, these systems are connected to your smartphone or home Wi-Fi system and deliver instant updates and reports regarding energy usage in your home.

These systems can also deliver homeowners valuable data that can help them track how they are using their energy daily, weekly, and monthly. This information can be beneficial when discovering practices and behaviors that contribute to increased energy usage. For example, if you are alerted that several lights were left on in the house, you can use that information to turn off those lights with smart lighting control.

Some energy monitors even analyze patterns and trends to make recommendations for energy reduction, like unplugging the toaster after breakfast and upgrading to an energy-efficient refrigerator. Having such a valuable tool working around the clock will help your family make smarter decisions and reduce your energy consumption.

curb home energy monitoring
Curb Home Energy Monitoring

How Much Electricity Does a Household Use Per Month?

The Energy Information Administration reports that the average electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer in 2018 was 10,972 kWh annually or about 914 kWh per month. Despite improvements in energy efficiency in the devices we use in our homes and through home construction techniques and practices, total energy usage in the United States in 2018 was higher than in 2008. Residential energy usage has shown a slight decrease in recent years. However, the increase in overall energy usage is perhaps in part due to Jevon's Paradox.

Can I Reduce My Energy Usage With Energy-Efficient Products?

We waste much of the electricity we use in our homes through continued reliance on energy-inefficient, out-of-date technologies. A 20-year-old refrigerator could use 1,700 kWh of electricity annually, compared to new Energy Star models of similar size using about 450 kWh. Updating our appliances, windows, doors, and other sustainable building aspects to more energy-efficient models is a straightforward solution to drastically reducing our home energy usage.

Sense Home Energy Monitor
Photo Credit: Sense Home Energy Monitor

How Can I Monitor Energy Usage at Home?

Most energy monitors offer real-time monitoring via an app or desktop system. These systems will help you identify power drains by devices left running while you’re at work. They can even alert you to abnormal energy usage, such as a refrigerator door left open.

How Can I Track My Energy Usage at Home?

Home energy monitors also retain historical data to help you better understand your everyday energy consumption and find actionable solutions to cut back. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop guessing what is draining your electricity and know that your actions are actively reducing your energy consumption?

How Can I Tell Which Appliance Is Using Too Much Electricity?

Energy monitoring devices equipped with appliance recognition will pinpoint individual appliances throughout the home. The smart device will recognize every item plugged into your sockets from hair dryers to your washing machine. You may even have the opportunity to give it a unique name within the app. Naming your appliances will help you better track which TV in the house is on. It may even make recommendations like setting a time to turn it off automatically each night.

Can Home Energy Monitoring Save Me Money?

Common sense would have us believe that increased energy efficiency should lead to less overall energy demand. Unfortunately, when electricity is more efficient and cheaper, we tend to use more of it. Energy efficiency gains will only lower overall resource consumption when accompanied by behavioral patterns that make a conscientious effort to reduce resource use.

In the specific case of smart home technologies, each technology by taken by itself, might be able to reduce overall energy demand. On a larger scale, however, the 50 billion smart home devices expected to be in use by 2020 could undoubtedly lead to an increase in total residential energy use. Home energy monitoring systems are one type of smart home technology that encourages behavioral changes that are essential for reducing our energy demand.

What Is the Best Smart Home Energy Monitor?

To select the best home energy monitor for your family, you must evaluate the house and what you hope to gain from the monitor. For example, some devices will allow you to set customized budgets and goals, while others provide energy reports on a weekly or monthly basis. For homes with installed solar panels or those considering adding solar, look for an energy monitor that comes solar-ready.

Home energy monitoring systems have come a long way since being introduced about a decade ago. The best home energy monitoring systems should include several innovative features, including:

1. Wi-Fi Connectivity

Your home energy monitoring system needs to interact with other smart home devices you might be using. Make sure to prioritize options that come with Wi-Fi connectivity, as this will allow for seamless integration into your smart home network. More straightforward Bluetooth connectivity is also an option for homeowners who want to monitor their household energy usage.

2. How Consumption is Measured

An added benefit of many home energy monitoring systems is how they present your residential electricity usage information. An interactive interface with graphs and diagrams is usually easier to understand than a bunch of numbers. The best systems will also present the data both in kilowatt-hours and in dollars and cents. This will help homeowners see how reduced energy usage directly translates into monthly savings.

3. Compatibility With Your Home Electricity Setup

Most home energy monitoring systems support various household electricity voltages (120/208/240V). Others, however, will only be useful for split-phase households. Make sure to ask an electrician which type of monitoring system will work with your home.

4. Ability to Track Solar Production and Energy Usage

Even if you don't have solar panels, a home energy monitoring system capable of tracking solar production is an essential element of the solar-ready home. This feature can help homeowners properly size a future solar PV system and determine the best ways to reduce municipal grids' reliance.

5. Easy Installation

Homeowners should prioritize home energy monitoring systems that are easy to set up and install. Both wireless monitors and those attached to your power board should be up and running in less than an hour for a relatively little labor cost.

Below are our recommendations for those interested in understanding how you use energy and identify opportunities for energy savings throughout your home.

What Are the Leading Brands of Home Energy Monitors?

There are so many options on the market now, here's a breakdown of some of our favorites.

  • Emporia Gen 2 Vue Home Energy Monitor
  • Sense Home Energy Monitor
  • Neurio Home Electricity Monitor
  • Eyedro Home Electricity Monitor
  • Smappee Home Energy Monitor
  • CURB Home Energy Monitoring System
  • Ecoisme Home Energy Monitoring System
  • Efergy Home Energy Monitor
  • Blue Line Innovations EnergyCloud

Scroll down to take an in-depth look at the features and price range of each.

Emporia Gen 2 Vue Home Energy Monitor with 16 Sensors
Emporia Gen 2 Vue Home Energy Monitor with 16 Sensors

Emporia Gen 2 Vue Home Energy Monitor with 16 Sensors

Emporia aims to bring the best value in home energy monitors. The Emporia Vue provides what you need to monitor your home's energy usage in real-time. It comes with a varying number of sensors - from two to sixteen so that you can monitor individual circuits. More connections allow you to see how specific appliances and electronics impact your energy bills. This product enables you to see how much energy you are using over time and at any given moment.

Sense Home Energy Monitor
Sense Home Energy Monitor

Sense Home Energy Monitor

The Sense energy monitor comes equipped with appliance recognition and real-time monitoring to track individual device usage. Monthly reports will help you understand where your energy was spent compared to prior months.

The Sense device starts at $299 (USD).

Neurio Home Electricity Monitor
Neurio Home Electricity Monitor

Neurio Home Electricity Monitor

The intelligent Neurio energy monitoring solution is a data-driven tool that provides granular detail to reduce energy costs and make predictions and plans for the future.

This solar-ready device connects to the home load panel. It monitors solar performance while helping plan for future storage needs. It offers real-time monitoring from a computer or smartphone, learns from trends, allows you to set a monthly budget, and receives alerts when you're in danger of overrunning. Neurio provides customized energy-saving tips to help you reduce your home energy costs and consumption.

The Neurio device starts at $219 (USD).

Eyedro Home Electricity Monitor
Eyedro Home Electricity Monitor

Eyedro Home Electricity Monitor

Eyedro offers two energy monitoring solutions, a wired and a wireless solution. Both monitors include two sensors to read power consumption and capture appliance start-up spikes. Their online energy tracker shows 24/7 usage history, real-time data, estimates your monthly electric bill, and alerts you to power failure.

The Eyedro system starts at $199 (USD).

Smappee Home Energy Monitor
Smappee Home Energy Monitor

Smappee Home Energy Monitor

The Smappee energy monitor is a simplified system that includes appliance detection and real-time monitoring, all from the mobile app. Choose from the traditional energy monitor or a solar energy monitor.

The Smappee device starts at $249 (USD).

CURB Home Energy Monitoring System
CURB Home Energy Monitoring System

CURB Home Energy Monitoring System

The CURB energy monitor connects to your home's breaker box to help you identify power hogs in real-time and predict monthly energy costs. The monitor is solar-ready and compatible with other smart home devices to help you pinpoint energy drains and remotely power them down, right from the app.

The CURB system starts at $399 (USD).

Ecoisme Home Energy Monitoring System
Ecoisme Home Energy Monitoring System

Ecoisme Home Energy Monitoring System

The Ecoisme energy monitor comes solar-ready and is equipped with real-time tracking on the app. Ecoisme is compatible with smart home devices, allowing you to control power remotely when you're not at home.

The app sends alerts when a device is left on, open, or is close to breaking down. It'll even send you personalized recommendations for energy usage reduction and help you predict your bill.

The Ecoisme solution starts at $200 (USD).

Efergy Home Energy Monitor
Efergy Home Energy Monitor

Efergy Home Energy Monitor

Efergy offers various energy monitoring solutions, including real-time tracking from the app or desktop and solar-ready options. The system makes it easy to set energy consumption targets and track usage to avoid wasting energy. It'll even set off an audible alarm to let you know you've exceeded your energy target.

Efergy systems start at $142 (USD).

Blue Line Innovations EnergyCloud device
Blue Line Innovations EnergyCloud

Blue Line Innovations EnergyCloud

EnergyCloud allows you to take control of your energy with their real-time electricity monitor. The device helps you eliminate unexpected high utility bills and shows you, down the appliance level, what is consuming the most electricity. The device is easy to set up by yourself in 30 minutes or less with no wiring or need for an electrician.

EnergyCloud sells for $159 (USD).

Become a Smart Energy Consumer

We've come to rely on electricity for nearly everything. We tend to take it for granted, overrunning our electricity bills and wasting precious resources to power devices we're too lazy to unplug. 7The old approach of cutting back on all energy consumption across the board is no longer necessary. Smart home energy monitoring devices can help us systematically identify energy hogs in the home and make conscious decisions as to where to cut back and by how much.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-11-19T04:18:24+0000