Knowing how much energy you’re using in your home can be difficult. Often, you don’t have any idea how much juice your house is consuming until you get your utility bill at the end of the month, and the best thing you can do to improve is to make little adjustments to see if the next bill is lower. Obviously, conserving our planet’s resources is a top priority, but so is saving your hard-earned money, and there are plenty of variables to be tested when you’re trying to find the most efficient method for energy conservation and savings. This is why a whole-house energy monitor can be a good investment for carefully monitoring and maximizing the efficiency of your home’s energy usage.
Many whole-house energy monitors are capable of converting your energy usage directly into dollar amounts and some can even show you how much each of your appliances is costing you to run. Adjustments are easier to make when you know exactly where you can make them, and this type of technology can provide the information you need to do so. A whole-house energy monitor will provide you with feedback almost instantly, allowing you to maximize your energy usage. Granted, you will still have to manually adjust your appliances in order to change their energy consumption, but at least you will know where to focus your attention.
There are a variety of different products on the market that offer the ability to track energy usage. Many are capable of telling you how many kilowatt hours an individual appliance is using, but this information is often hard to analyze, and can only be applied to one appliance at a time. Whole-house energy monitors typically attach to your home’s energy meter and can provide a much more dynamic form of information than can a simple monitor that’s plugged into an AC outlet.
So how much money can you expect to save? It’s hard to say exactly, but many companies boast a 15 percent savings within the first month. Depending on how closely you monitor the device, you could save even more. Depending on the size of your electric bill, a whole-house energy monitor that costs between $200 and $1,000 could easily pay for itself within a year.
If you’re considering a whole-house energy monitor for your home, these options offer exceptional technology and advanced capabilities:
Energy Joule by Ambient Devices
The concept behind the Energy Joule is simple—if you, as a homeowner, knew how much it cost to run certain appliances throughout the day, you’d know where and when to cut back. Each month, energy companies provide homeowners with information about kilowatt hours and usage. This information can be hard to understand, making it virtually useless to the average homeowner. The Energy Joule translates this data into meaningful, understandable metrics so homeowners are able to make an informed decision when it comes to energy usage. In fact, Ambient Devices has taken an extra step to simplify the data with a color indicator on the back of the display, which shows green or red to reflect when energy costs are at a low or high, making it easy to identify the best times to consume power. The ultimate goal of the Energy Joule is to inspire homeowners to run their appliances at the optimal energy-wise times. www.ambientdevices.com
The Energy Detective (TED)
The Energy Detective is the oldest energy monitoring company around, having been established in 2001, and experience definitely shows. With the ability to collect information about each of your home’s appliances and deliver it in terms that are easy to understand, The Energy Detective is worth the investment. For example, the refrigerator compressor has just turned on. Using a TED device, you can quickly see how much money it’s costing to run in real-time and compare it to how much money it cost to run the refrigerator yesterday, last week, or even last month. With TED, making a better-informed decision on energy savings becomes possible and simple. www.theenergydetective.com
Power Wise Systems
Geared more toward the energy management of commercial buildings, Power Wise Systems offers a great solution for tracking energy consumption. The system’s user interface delivers comprehensive feedback about energy usage that is organized in charts and graphs. Power Wise products are also capable of metering the use of water, oil, and natural gas/propane. www.powerwisesystems.com
PowerCost Monitor by Blue Line Innovations Inc.
Blue Line Innovations Inc.’s PowerCost Monitor provides real-time data about energy usage in homes and businesses. Access to the information is securely available from an iPhone, where you can view real-time as well has historical energy-usage data. Charts and graphs display all the information, providing hints on how to minimize your household energy consumption. DIYers will love the fact that Blue Line Innovations series of energy management products are designed to be installed by homeowners. www.bluelineinnovations.com
When it comes to smart energy usage, there’s really no better way to accomplish it than by having a whole-house energy monitor installed. While electric companies continue to jack up the prices on utilities, many homeowners don’t know just how much they’re using until it’s too late. Information is power, and whole-house energy monitors are the best way to stay informed. Whether you’re trying to save money or the environment, or just want to know how much your electric bill is going to be before it shows up in your mailbox, a whole-house energy monitor is definitely the type of investment homeowners should be considering.EH
Lindsay Bull is the marketing coordinator at Vantage Controls, where she writes SEO web content, blog posts, and print copy. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University.