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Is Anyone using a home energy monitoring system?


I am doing a fairly large project with all new hvac as well as building a home theater and my energy consumption has always been through the roof. I average 2,000 KWH a month already and my new additions may cause it to increase. I had an electrician laying out wires tell me I have some type of electrical problem, because 2,000 KWH is way too much for what I am using. He said I should install an electrical monitoring system to figure out where the power is going.

I have see a bunch of plug in ones that you have to manually plug everything in but I don't want to do that. i also see the energy detective that has mixed views.I went through (link removed, anti-spam violation) to know more but wasn't satisfied.

Anyone recommend a product for this application.

Thank you.


  • David ButlerDavid Butler Posts: 3,889
    edited August 2017
    @Joe, be sure to check out previous posts on this topic in the Energy Monitoring category. Your post prompted me to move several more discussions from the LinkedIn archives to the Energy Monitoring category, But it's been a while since we dived deep into EM, a topic that's near-and-dear to me. Hopefully others will chime in with their experience with some of the newer products.

    Still, the least expensive way to monitor your heating & cooling loads would be to to install a used old-school utility meter on the HVAC circuit. I get mine from Vision Metering, who buys them by the truckload as utilities transition to smart meters. Vision Metering calibrates the meters and sells mostly overseas. A standard meter (240V, form 2S, single phase) sells for as little as $15. A cyclometer type meter is a bit easier to read. Here's one not listed on the main single phase page that sells for $20. For indoor installation (recommended), this base that costs $8, works with either meter. Vision Metering also sells refurbished gas meters starting at $40. Several clients have bought these to monitor individual gas appliances such as a furnace, boiler or DHW.

    A lot can be learned from utility bill history. We've had some interesting 'stump the chump' discussions where an energy auditor posts details about a difficult home, including a summery of notable loads and seasonal consumption patterns. Once the details are revealed, a smoking gun usually emerges. If you want to try that, post your information in the Energy Audit category.
  • I asked a similar question in a parallel post regarding SMAPPEE, Curve, TED, Nurio etc and no one has given feedback so far. Hopefully someone can. I too am curious. Seems a bit cumbersome to have a utility meter connected to my utility meter, given I already have an extra on my house to monitor energy feedback to my utility from my solar.
  • David ButlerDavid Butler Posts: 3,889
    I evaluated the TED system in 2011 and found several major flaws:

    a) TED uses PLC (powerline comm) between outdoor and indoor modules, and TED's PLC implementation is inherently unreliable, depending on connected loads and the impedance between L1 and L2. Since PLC interference is often transient, it may not be immediately apparently that data is lost, and there's nothing in the protocol to flag or recover missing packets. One result of this is anomalies on the graphs that range from subtle to bizarre. Or at worst, in some homes the system simply won't work.

    b) I found the Footprints software user interface to be very sluggish. The code is poorly written because it requires continuous updates from the gateway, which is already overwhelmed with communicating every second with the outdoor units inside the breaker panel.

    c) I found the graphs to be a pain to use. For example, the default ranges were often poorly selected. The user could change the range settings, but since these changes are stored in the gateway (instead of in the client app on the PC, duh), every time a range is modified, the gateway reboots, which has the following irritating effects...
    1) causes dropouts in the power readings
    2) takes about 15 seconds
    3) when the user interface restored, it defaults to dashboard, thus it was necessary to drill back down to view the graphs that were just adjusted

    NOTE: it's been several years since my evaluation, so it's possible some of these issues could have been resolved.
  • David ButlerDavid Butler Posts: 3,889
    @Dav, my recommendation for reburbished utility meter is specifically for those who want to monitor an individual load such as DHW, A/C or heat pump.

    I took a look at the Neurio website. It uses Zigbee (RF) to communicate between breaker panel and indoor gateway, so it should be much more reliable than TED. However, the HEM doesn't appear to be expandable, other than an add-on solar system monitor. I wouldn't consider spending that much on a CT-based monitoring system that can't be expanded! I can't speak to the Neurio firmware or software/app.

    Smappee, a European (Belgian?) company, makes one of the first commercially available non-invasive load monitors (NILM), a technology I've been following for decades (search for NILM in this forum). As much as I'd like to believe NILM is ready for prime time, I remain skeptical until I see an independent test report. A cursory check of online reviews for Smappee don't look promising.

    I'm not familiar with the Curve energy monitor. Perhaps you meant Curb? Like TED, Curb uses PLC, but I haven't tested it so I can't say if it's subject to the same problems as TED. Much of TED's comm issues could have been avoided through a more robust design (I have deep experience with PLC comm, going back more than 30 years). Curb expansion capability is superior to TED inherent in a dramatically different architecture (there's a single PLC transmitter with multiple inputs).

    There's another energy monitor called Sense. It looks like a mash-up between Neurio and Smappee, in that it uses CT's, but limited to mains and solar, and it uses NILM for individual loads.

    Like you, I would be interested to hear from others who have direct experience with these products.

    Since you're considering Neurio, I'm guessing you're only interested in monitoring total household consumption? If so, and if you have a smart meter, you may want to check with your utility company. Many now have apps or online portals that report hourly consumption. With a solar system, getting at actual energy consumption is a bit more challenging since the utility meter only sees net consumption or exports. The same system must monitor solar production and net consumption to work backwards to get total consumption. TED does this, and there's no reason why Neurio couldn't do this (although I can't confirm). Most of the utilities I've had experience with (through my clients) can't do this, because either they don't own the solar production meter, or it's not a smart meter capable of integration with the net meter data.

  • Sorry you thought I was leaning toward Neurio. I was not. I was just wondering for both myself to track HVAC systems, pool pump and other uses, what is the best options people have found, and what to tell clients who call me to complain that their E bills are too high and what can I do to help them lower their bills.
  • BTW, I have a "smart" meter, an Elster A3RAL and LADWP sent me to mvweb.ladwp.com to view tracking and it is the worst, most confusing webpage/tracking system imaginable. After looking at it for hours, I still have no idea how to interpret the data presented. I would be willing to discuss mvweb further if anyone knows it, off line.