Save on Electricity
How To Monitor Electricity Usage at Home
Do you know how much of your electricity bill is wasted electricity? Or better yet, do you know how to stop paying for wasted electricity every month?
Most of your energy costs are unavoidable, but paying for wasted electricity is. Saving money on your energy bills can be as easy as knowing how to use electricity usage monitors effectively.
Electricity is one of the most expensive monthly bills, but it’s also one of the easiest for you to control if you understand the basics of energy usage.
Energy Usage Terms you Should Know
Understanding your electricity bill begins with knowing how to read it.
The primary unit of measurement for electricity consumption is called a watt-hour. Watts (W) is the basic unit of electricity, and household products are typically labelled with their wattage to reflect their usage. To know how much electricity a specific appliance needs, a compliance badge on most household appliances shows the amount of power it uses.
Kilowatt-hours are the amount of electricity (measured in 1000 watt intervals) used in an hour and is the typical unit homes are charged for electricity. Appliances are described by their electricity consumption.
For example, if a 5 kWh coffee maker runs non-stop for 2 hours, it would use 10 kWh of electricity. Or if your air conditioner used 250 watts an hour, it would take 4 hours to use a kWh.
A power rating, typically called an energy star rating, is a visual explanation of an appliance’s energy efficiency. The more stars an appliance has, the more energy-efficient it is, thus requiring less electricity usage than a similar appliance with fewer stars.
Ways To Monitor Home Electricity Usage
Not all devices use electricity the same. Smart home devices are typically much more energy-efficient than traditional appliances. The first thing you need to know is how much energy you need versus how much you use each month. The two most effective ways to monitor household energy usage are energy audits and home energy monitors.
Conduct an energy audit
The most important step you can take to reduce your utility bill is an audit. An energy audit analyzes all the appliances you use, how you use them, and how much that usage is costing you. The result of an energy audit allows you to easily see where you are effectively using electricity and where you are paying for waste.
You can conduct a basic energy audit yourself, but it’s best to hire a professional to conduct one for you to get a complete and accurate result.
Invest in an energy monitor
Home energy monitors are used to keep track of your household energy consumption. To understand how much energy it takes to boil the kettle or how much it costs to run one full cycle of your washing machine, an energy monitor is necessary. Reducing the carbon footprint specifically greenhouse gas emissions is essential for the long gevity of the environment, and to also reduce energy costs on a monthly basis for individuals.
An energy usage monitor helps to monitor spending, identify what appliances are using electricity on standby mode, and will always keep energy use at the front of your mind so you will think about energy efficiency before turning devices on.
How Do Energy Monitors Work?
Energy monitors are devices that monitor how much energy your home uses and how you can improve your energy efficiency. By connecting a monitor to your energy meter, it will provide information about how to reduce your home’s energy consumption.
A home energy monitor will track and record actual and past electricity usage, providing insight into usage history and how and when electricity is being used. The best home energy monitors can even track usage patterns to determine which appliances are draining your electricity.
With tariff information, most energy monitoring systems can also calculate how much electricity you’re using and send notifications to you if you’ve exceeded a preset limit. Additionally, some models can be programmed to warn customers when electricity is most expensive.
Types Of Monitors For Electricity Usage
Home energy monitoring devices come in several different types. Some require professional installation, and others do not.
Plug-in energy monitors
Also called plug load monitors, these are smart plugs and are a type of power meter that only works for the specific appliance plugged into them. While some work with a single appliance, others can handle multiple devices at the same time. Simply plug these monitors into an outlet and then the appliance into the energy monitor.
These monitors do not function as a home energy monitor but are power monitors for individual appliances. Since not every device in a house needs to be plugged into an outlet, these monitors will not provide data on total energy usage.
Wireless energy monitors
A wireless energy monitor is similar to an iPad or tablet and is typically a wall-mounted device. These monitors rely upon wi-fi and provide a real-time display of power usage for the entire house.
Wireless energy monitors are in-home displays that provide much more data than plug-in devices; including kWh, costs, and even CO2 emissions. Wireless energy monitors are battery-operated devices and are available as either a traditional meter or smart meter.
Installation for both types is similar and requires a licensed professional to attach energy sensors to the meter.
Online energy monitors
Online energy monitors are web-based tools that are accessed through an internet connection and your desktop, tablet, or mobile app. They are the most accurate and provide a deeper insight into your electricity use.
Typically, these monitors provide data on voltage, power factor, and how your energy consumption compares to that of your neighbours at the same time of year.
Homes equipped with a smart meter may already have access to the online energy monitoring provided by their power company. Otherwise, you need to add an attachment to your internet router and hire a licensed electrician to install an energy sensor on your meter.
If you currently use solar panels, online energy monitors are an energy monitoring option for solar power usage as well.
What’s the best way to monitor electricity usage?
Hands down, home energy monitors are the best method to understand and identify how much power consumption your home is using.
Can monitoring energy use help save money on my electricity bill?
Absolutely. The bottom line is electricity isn’t free, and you should only pay for what you need. But you can’t cut out the wasted electricity usage until you know how much you are wasting and how.
Can any electrician install a 3-phase switchboard?
No, it is mandatory that a level 2 electrician installs, replaces or upgrades a 3-phase switchboard.
Are energy monitors worth the cost?
Along with other smart home devices, energy monitors are an investment. If you utilize them correctly and consistently, they will eventually pay for themselves in the savings at the utility meter.
How To Get An Electricity Usage Monitor Installed
Home energy monitors come in two types: smart meters and traditional meters.
A smart meter, such as a plug-in, is easy to set up and can be done in minutes without the assistance of a professional.
A traditional meter requires professional installation by licensed electricians.
Contact us today to learn which option is best for your home and begin reducing your electricity use and saving money on your next bill.
For more information on how to monitor electricity usage at home, contact Fix Electrical Contractors today!
Adrian Faull is the founder of Fix Electrical Contractors. He is proud to lead a team of qualified electricians and support team that are experts in the field, who will work with you to ensure you’re getting the best electrical solution for your needs.