Home Energy Monitoring and Management
Get all the info you'll need on home energy monitoring and management, so you can keep a close eye on your energy use and implement an automated management system.
By: Sean McEvoy
Most homeowners have experienced a breathtaking energy bill or two, especially during high summer or the dead of winter, when energy usage and costs often soar. In an effort to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of their homes, more people are exploring the option of home energy monitoring and management via the many systems available for automated home control.
One step to consider taking before you begin exploring options for home energy monitoring and management is a home energy audit. Provided at low cost or even for free by many power and lighting companies across the country, a home energy audit may give you a good baseline for how energy efficient your home is. The audit can help you uncover any particularly glaring inefficiencies to address prior to implementing a monitoring system.
Once you've gotten a good picture of your home's overall energy efficiency, you'll want to consider what type of energy monitoring and management system is right for your home. Systems range from affordable, simple and easy-to-install to highly complex and extremely expensive.
At the lowest tier in terms of complexity and cost are the outlet-based energy monitors. These operate like power strips and plug directly into your home's wall outlets. You then plug any appliances near the outlet into the monitoring device, and the device will monitor and display the amount of energy being used by each appliance. This way you can determine where the energy hogs in your home are located (hint: TVs and computers are big offenders) and closely monitor how often they're plugged in and sucking up energy.
Next up in terms of cost and complexity are whole-house power monitors. These devices will integrate with your home's electrical grid and monitor your energy use centrally. You can enter information about the devices you want to monitor, as well as your current energy costs, and the device will calculate how much energy you're using and what it's costing you. Some of these devices can even give you information about high usage patterns and compare against variables like weather to tell you if you're using too much energy. Recent models have begun to feature wireless technology, so they can report information to a hub device or to your computer, tablet of smartphone.
The most advanced, complex and expensive option is to integrate your home energy monitoring and management with a whole-house control system. These automated home control systems combine control and monitoring for several common home systems, like lighting, security and sprinklers. Opting for energy monitoring and management as a feature of an automated home control system can be an extremely convenient approach, as it may offer the ability to account for all of the home's various systems as opposed to the more basic monitoring of electricity or heating and cooling provided by standalone systems. While the overall cost for an integrated system may be significantly more, the cost savings over time can also be significant since the levels of control and monitoring provided will be both more complex and more efficient.
See Also: How to Plan a Home Control System
Boost Electrical Safety at Home
Maintain your home's electrical system and keep the lights on and the power flowing.
10 Steps to an Organized Home Office
Your home office can be the most difficult room to keep clean. Follow these 10 simple tips to help declutter your space.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Heating and Cooling System
Learn to keep your heating and cooling system in top shape with these tips.
How To Build a Stone Planter
Dress up your porch or patio with a stone planter box.
How to Build a Stone Path
A path made of stepping stones is a simple, inexpensive way to add charm to your landscape. Stone paths offer a practical route for foot traffic from the sidewalk or driveway to your front door and along the side or back of the house.
How to Build a New Fireplace Surround and Mantel
A dated fireplace is given a British Colonial look with the addition of staircase posts, molding and a coat of fresh paint.
How to Repair a Burst Pipe
Fix it and prevent it from freezing again with these instructions.
Q+A With Kitchen Crasher Alison Victoria
DIY Network’s Kitchen Crashers host Alison Victoria answers your decorating and remodeling questions in HGTV Magazine.
Feeding Birds in Winter: To Stop or Not to Stop?
Do birds suffer when the feeders stay empty?
How to Replace Wood On a Deck
Repair a damaged section of your deck with these step-by-step instructions.
Copy This Room: 7 Stylish Dorm Room Decorating Ideas
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 27, 2015 by Shannon Petrie
The Votes Are In! Tour This Tiny + Charming Cottage
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 23, 2015 by Farima Alavi
What’s Your Yard Art Spirit Animal? Take the Quiz!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 22, 2015 by Kayla Kitts