Tracking Your Energy Use: Page 3 of 5

With Home Monitoring Systems
Intermediate

Inside this Article

Current transducer
Current transducers (CTs) measure electrical current using the magnetic field that’s created by electrons flowing through the wires.
Using a home energy monitor
With some practice with your home energy monitor, you’ll be able to differentiate individual loads and assess their contribution to your home’s total energy use.
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor gateway
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor gateway
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor base unit
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor base unit
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor app on a smartphone
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor app on a smartphone
eGauge monitoring kit
eGauge monitoring kit components
Current Cost’s EnviR standard monitoring kit
Current Cost’s EnviR standard monitoring kit
Individual appliance monitors
Individual appliance monitors (IAMs) are plug-based sensors that monitor electricity usage of individual 120 VAC appliances
Locus Energy's LGate electricity meter
Locus Energy's LGate electricity meter
Locus Energy's LGate using CT inputs
Locus Energy's LGate using CT inputs
The OWL monitoring devices
The OWL devices are designed to monitor only one circuit, usually the incoming wires to the main electrical panel.
The OWL Intuition series
The OWL Intuition series (which may not yet be available in North America) allows users to view information via any Internet-connected computer or by using a smartphone via the OWL app.
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor kit
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor's sensing unit
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor the sensing unit attaches to the outside of the electric meter.
Energy Inc.’s basic TED 5000 display
Energy Inc.’s basic TED 5000, will monitor total household electricity consumption and show it on a small display.
TED's measuring transmitting units
TED uses one or more measuring transmitting units (MTUs) for each set of CTs, and up to four circuits can be monitored.
Wattvision monitoring has a pulse sensor installed at the electric meter.
Wattvision monitoring has a pulse sensor installed at the electric meter.
Wattvision's monitoring kit
Wattvision's monitoring sensor is connected via 50 feet of wire to a Wi-Fi gateway, which requires a 120 VAC receptacle.
Wattvision display on a smartphone
Wattvision display on a smartphone
eGauge monitoring installed in a electrical panel
If you’re not comfortable with digging into your electrical panel to install a monitoring system, consider hiring a licensed electrician.
Current transducer
Using a home energy monitor
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor gateway
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor base unit
Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor app on a smartphone
eGauge monitoring kit
Current Cost’s EnviR standard monitoring kit
Individual appliance monitors
Locus Energy's LGate electricity meter
Locus Energy's LGate using CT inputs
The OWL monitoring devices
The OWL Intuition series
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor kit
Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor's sensing unit
Energy Inc.’s basic TED 5000 display
TED's measuring transmitting units
Wattvision monitoring has a pulse sensor installed at the electric meter.
Wattvision's monitoring kit
Wattvision display on a smartphone
eGauge monitoring installed in a electrical panel

EnviR

Current Cost’s EnviR monitor basic model will monitor the consumption on one 240 VAC circuit—typically, the two incoming service wires. Setup of the standard kit includes installing a set of CTs and the battery-operated transmitter, which wirelessly transmits to the display, if within 100 feet. 

Current Cost offers accessories to monitor more circuits, view information online, and track usage of single appliances. For online viewing, you can opt for the Enerati Gateway kit, which requires a data subscription. Individual appliance monitors (IAMs) are plug-based sensors that monitor electricity usage of individual 120 VAC appliances, recording real‑time power and energy use at 8- to 10-second intervals. Each display can accommodate up to 10 transmitters. Monitoring packages are also available for renewable energy systems that can track consumption, RE-system generation, and net usage. The EnviR can be purchased directly through the website or through resellers.

LGate

Locus Energy initially designed the LGate products to serve sites with PV systems. Now, it offers low-cost revenue-grade metering with the LGate 101. The LGate 50 monitors a building’s electricity consumption in kWh, as well as power in kW. The LGate meters also come with a five-year monitoring contract (included in the purchase of the unit) that can be extended for another five years.

The LGate uses CTs installed in the electrical panel. The LGate itself is installed outside the panel, but nearby. It accepts up to two sets of CT inputs, which are generally used to measure total building energy consumption and PV production. The meter requires its own 120 VAC, 15 A breaker and corresponding wiring. The LGate 101 requires a 240 VAC, 15 A power supply. The LGate connects to the Locus Energy servers through your Internet connection brought directly to the meter. LEDs inside the meter box indicate its communication status.

The LGate meters do not come with a display. Data is viewed via the SolarOS platform through a browser. The information is downloadable. LGate products are available only through solar contractors.

OWL

The OWL devices are designed to monitor only one circuit, usually the incoming wires to the main electrical panel. The CTs require accessing the main electrical panel for installation. The CTs are connected to a sending device, placed just outside the panel, which wirelessly transmits data to the remote display, which can be located up to 90 feet away. The OWL devices show instantaneous power usage, energy consumption, and cost. Both the display and the sending unit are battery-operated. The products have a longer history in the UK and Europe, but these limited versions are now available in North America through the OWL partners and other online retailers. The OWL Intuition series (which may not yet be available in North America) allows users to view information via any Internet-connected computer or by using a smartphone via the OWL app. A PV version monitors on-site PV system generation along with utility consumption.

Comments (7)

fastbike's picture

Another great product is the Open Energy Monitor. This uses open source hardware and software and full details are at http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/
I am running one here on a three phase installation.

john gorman's picture

We have a solution that listens to Cent-a-meter and OWL wireless meters every 60 seconds (and a growing list of solar grid-connect inverters) and charts it on the web. This is all using open-source software, so anyone can set up a system. It's all at: http://www.solarnetwork.net/

Justine Sanchez's picture

Hi John,
Thanks for your comment and the correction. Indeed the display does need to be plugged in, and we will adjust that text.

Justine Sanchez
Home Power Magazine

Anonymous _2267's picture

I did buy the EnviR. The transmitter comes with batteries but the display uses no batteries at all and runs only on the wall wart supplied. The HP article erroneously states that the display runs on batteries. The transmitter is made to install in a breaker box if outside and I would think it would diminish the signal strength. My breaker box is inside so I installed the transmitter on the wall bringing the CT leads through a knockout hole.

The transmitter sends out a data pulse every 10 seconds so if you have an appliance that cycles on/off the synchrony of the data pulse and on time of the appliance could be out of wack so that a long observation would be required to notice the on effect of the appliance.
John Nelson Nucla, CO

Anonymous _2267's picture

After reading the article, I was interested in "The Owl" monitoring system. Upon going to there website ( in the UK ) I find that the pictured Owl ( CM119) is not listed and replaced by the Owl micro
+. However, they list having in the package only one CT which to me would allow only monitoring of one phase of a 240 volt ( read half your circuits ), or monitor only one branch circuit. You need two CT's to monitor both hot 240v lines and get the full picture of the power going through your breaker box. HP article is misleading in saying the ".......incoming wires to the main electrical panel"

John Nelson, Nucla, CO

Joe Schwartz's picture

Hello, John, Thanks for your comment.

The description for the OWL products mentions that "The OWL devices are designed to monitor only one circuit..." If you're planning on monitoring more than one circuit, there are several good options covered in the article.

Joe, editor

Justine Sanchez's picture

Hi John,
thanks for your comment. And yes this manufacturer is based out of the UK, however if you go to their website they list their USA distributor as Precision Data Systems: http://www.pdsmn.com/
Then if you go to their website and click on Products and Buy Now...you are lead to Amazon, who does offer the version with 2 CTs. Hope this helps!
Best,
Justine Sanchez
Home Power Magazine

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