THE PATHFINDER TO YOUR ENERGY MONITOR
The most important things to know
to choose meaningfully.
Energy monitors and energy meters are both devices used to track energy consumption at home.
From a user perspective, the main differences between these solutions are two:
1. Data Reception. Energy monitors make data available only to final users while energy meters share it with energy suppliers.
2. Availability. Energy monitors are plug-in devices that can be purchased and installed according to the indications of the manufacturers. In contrast, energy meters are provided and connected directly by the utility providers.
Scientists are continuously looking for cleaner sources of energy as burning fossil fuels is damaging the environment. In the future, we will experience not just a broader use of renewable energy but also substantial improvements in the way that energy is stored and distributed. Making efficient use of the energy however will always remain as the foundation for achieving a more sustainable environment, and at the individual level, energy monitors and meters can support you on that.
Time saved through remote energy consumption monitoring, without the need of reading any other display than the one integrated on your smartphone.
No direct impact on the physical environment.
Peace of mind increased thanks to increased transparency and accuracy regarding energy use.
Savings increased thanks to the early detection and correction of habits and consumption patterns that negatively impact your bills.
Energy monitors can be mainly classified attending the object of interest to monitor:
Although some of these solutions can track consumption at the appliance level, their main scope is to provide you with a general overview of your home consumption. They usually consist of the energy monitoring device, installed within the electrical panel of your home, and a monitoring display that presents the readings and keep you informed. When energy monitors use the internet to send consumption data to your mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, monitoring displays may not be included. Considering the place of installation of the monitoring device, the involvement of a professional installer is always advised.
These devices are meant for single appliance use. Both smart plugs and switches can track energy consumption on real-time as well as provide you with further capabilities like scheduled appliances' activation and deactivation.
These apps do not require a whole system to be installed; they are a more cost-effective solution for measuring home energy usage but are based on user inputs and statistical predictions, making them.
Energy meters can be classified attending several aspects like the end application (residential, commercial, industrial) or the type of display used (analogue, digital). At residential level today there are three main types of energy meters in use:
These are the oldest ones, also known as watt-hour meters. This meter is relatively easy in construction, but its' accuracy is low due to external fields.
These meters are very accurate and reliable as compared to conventional mechanical meters. They give instantaneous measurements as soon as they are connected to load and consume very little power. They can be both analogue and digital.
These are a type of electronic meters that connect to the internet. This feature enables both users and energy suppliers to read, process and provide feedback about the energy being entirely consumed from remote and in real-time.
In case you are interested in proactively monitoring and decreasing your energy consumption, you can look for an energy monitor. Plugs and switches are standalone products with their purchasing variables that require individual treatment in a separate article. The following considerations are specific for Home Energy Monitoring Systems:
As per said, home energy monitoring systems generally provide an overview of the energy that is consumed at home. However, some can automatically associate energy consumption to specific appliances. Although this feature works well at differentiating appliances with different consumption patterns and levels like a washing machine and an air conditioner, the possibility to distinguish certain appliances like a microwave from a toaster might be more challenging. For this reason, from time to time, some devices might require you some support.
Some home energy monitoring systems allow you to translate energy consumption into costs. To do this, they generally need your inputs on the energy rates of your supplier.
If you have photovoltaic solar panels installed, choose a solution that can read not just the use of energy but also the energy produced by your solar system.
Some solutions compare your energy consumption with one of the similar households. With this, you can get an idea of your position with respect to the average.
If you are interested in installing a new smart energy meter or replacing the old one, you can contact your current, or other, energy provider and check the status of their roll-out plan. Consider that in most countries, the transition to this new type of energy meters it is not mandatory. However, when talking to them, be sure to understand:
1. Changes from an operating standpoint (data readings and invoicing.)
2. Changes from an economic perspective (tariffs).
3. Contents of the product (monitoring device + display).
4. Installation and maintenance costs of the product.