What is a home energy monitor and how does it work?

Home energy monitors (HEM) are Wi-Fi enabled devices that are installed in your home’s electrical panel. Many HEMs only provide the whole home view of your usage. Some HEM devices give you real time data on how energy is being used in your home. The Sense monitor discovers the unique electrical signatures of the electrical devices in your home. The Sense monitor works by breaking those signatures down to tell you how much electricity each device is using. Other HEMs use sensors on each electrical circuit of your home.

However the monitor collects the data, HEMs then take this electrical usage information and turn it into charts, graphs, and overviews of your energy use and costs . They bring your energy use and home activity to life visually and deliver the information via mobile apps.

Home energy monitors have a lot of potential for helping homeowners save energy and money. Read on to find out about the three different benefits that using a HEM can provide.

Understanding the electricity consumption in your household

By using a HEM, you can measure how much energy is being used by the devices or appliances you may have, such as space heaters, air conditioners, computers, or even toaster ovens. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the energy use from Always On devices across the U.S. accounts for 23% of power consumption in the average household, or about a quarter of any given electricity bill. A HEM can show you your ‘Always On’ – also known as your vampire load. You can even track it over time, so you can see the progress as you turn off forgotten lights and devices sitting on ‘standby’ that don’t really need to be.

This thing is so cool. In less than a week it has impacted how we use (or not) our electricity in a big way. I had no idea that the old fluorescents in our kitchen use as much electricity as 100 LED lightbulbs. We will be swapping out those fixtures for sure!”
Justin A.
Putney, VT

Energy savings potential

A device like the Sense Home Energy Monitor can detect the biggest electricity users, and help you to save $100 a year, on average. Whether you are ready to take your home to net-zero, or are just trying to save a few bucks, a home energy monitor like Sense can help. Once you know which devices are consuming a lot of energy you can then decide what to do about it.

Enjoy the convenience of getting real-time data on your smartphone

Most of the home energy monitors on the market have a mobile app for your smartphone. Notifications can help you see when your kids get home, if the refrigerator door is open, or whether your sump pump is on. Track spikes, trends, and more, right from your phone.

Is a home energy monitor worth it?

Simply buying and installing an energy monitor is not going to save you energy or money. However, these devices can highlight the way you use energy in your house and show you where you can save. Modifying your energy saving (or wasting) behavior is up to you.

Safety matters: Be sure that the home energy monitor you choose is UL or ETL certified.

Prices for HEMs vary from the low end of $70 to models that go for around $400.  You’ll likely find that all the options will give you an understanding of how you are using power and what that will mean for your bill. There are a few different devices on the market, we encourage you to do more research and find a monitor that works for you. There’s a great deal of potential in having a home energy monitor.

You can save energy with a home energy monitor

Get a Sense® Home Energy Monitor from Efficiency Vermont. For a limited time, get a Sense for $100.

Enroll today