Experience with new energy monitoring tools such as Curb, Sense, Nerio and Smapee

I have been trying to get feedback from people's experience with these breaker box monitoring tools. Do any of them work and provide useful data. I frequently get called by people who want me to audit their homes to tell them exactly where all their power/energy is being used and why their bills are so high. In a one day audit, one can't really do that without knowing a detailed breakdown of the energy usage over time, though one can make some educated guesses based on HVAC quality, but that is not a complete picture. The typical question: "where is all my energy going?"

Thanks. 

Tags: energy, house, monitoring, whole

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I have been thinking about putting it on my own home as you suggest, and was wondering which, if any to try, though they all seem to have issues. With circuit level of my existing home, it was not built with such forethought such that I have no idea what if any logic there is to most of my circuits to know from what rooms they feed. I am not an electrician so it would take a ton of work (doable but I have some other priorities on my time) to go through my house and id everything just to know what the circuit monitors are recording. 

In reviewing the few replies, it seems there really is nothing yet to answer those inquiries: "where is my (E) going and driving up my bill" with any of these devices.    

@Dav, 240-volt circuits are dedicated to a single appliance so circuit monitoring with CT's provides per-appliance data. I don't think it makes sense to try to use circuit level monitoring for plug & lighting loads. TED, Brultech and other CT-based monitoring systems include a virtual 'everything else' channel that accounts for lighting and plug loads. Individual plug loads can easily be monitored with a $20 Kill-A-Watt or similar.

SiteSage, formerly eMonitor, is a great system for sleuthing. Plus you can download data to excel. Stable and relatively easy to install - once you understand the instructions. The main downside is a monthly fee, which acts something like a financial phantom load. It can monitor 14+ circuits at once, fewer if they're not all single phase.

Details here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006Z5OKLE/ref=asc_df_B006Z5OKLE5323212/?...

To clarify, SiteSage can monitor any number of circuits. We have installations where over 200 circuits are being monitored in a single location. 

I'm actively trying to help my clients with high electrical bills even with solar. Im in Calif.   I anticipate this need will explode when consumers with or without solar wake up to find their utility is switching to Time Of Use billing.  I anticipate the could be the year of selling onsite battery storage as a cost effective measure.

I've personally installed energy monitoring units from Raintree.  Real time monitoring of your electrical load.  Installation is a breeze,  wirelessly talks to your smart meter (zigbee).  Raintree needs 3rd party software for the residential market.

I'm also looking a apps or service providers to can download 12 months of data in hour or 15 minutes increments.  Calif utilities can provide this feature.  There are dozens of service providers that can integrate this into their energy models.  The providers/developers in this space are mostly focused on the commercial market.

I plan to offer to install EMU from raintree and offer analysis their current electrical load by dumping it into excel.    It would be great if there develops entering the residential marketplace.

Let me know if there other tools out there that should be considered.  This is bringing energy assessments back to life.

I've tried out most of the available residential energy monitors over the years and am satisfied with none of them. The ones that monitor just a single circuit don't provide enough detail, the "learning" devices (such as Sense) aren't nearly smart enough nor learn fast enough...and the "whole panel" solutions (Site Sage/Power Wise, Curb, eGauge) are too expensive for everyday use. 

I recently tried out the Neurio, which offers up to 4 input channels at a reasonable cost. The user interface (mobile and computer) is poor, but my detailed analysis is often done in a spreadsheet after downloading data. Unfortunately, Neurio is currently limiting download granularity to 5-, 15- and 60-minute "intervals" (I'd like to have 1-minute data). On top of that, the 5-minute data can only be downloaded in 1-day chunks at a time. And on top of that (!) the "interval" data is not averaged over the interval, but is in fact, just a single measurement at the end of the interval...rendering the data nearly useless. 

I hate to say it, but this space (home energy monitors) now appears to be dominated by dot.com 'app' developers who lack a mature understanding of what's involved in data logging & graphing algorithms.

BTW, the Brultech monitor natively has user-defined data increments that can be modified via RS485 comm. This is separate from client and web-based graphing and logging software available from several 3rd party vendors.

I'm not an electrician. I'm a sales engineer for a security company, so my high voltage knowledge is limited. But technology of any kind interests me and I've always wondered "where is my electricity going?". So, I installed Smappee three weeks ago. After getting over the fear of separating my mains that were running next to each other the whole way through my breaker box, I installed the clips in 30 seconds. Immediately began getting a whole house current draw in Watts on my PC and the app. I know the formula to figure out the amp draw and found the first 30 minutes of use fascinating. I have an older 100 AMP box and my wife was always concerned we were going to burn the house down using electricity! The max I've seen so far has been about 3500W or just over 29 AMPS. I'm impatient. The manual says that after 3 weeks I'd see about 60% of my appliances. I wanted them now! Smappee does indeed have a "learn" feature. I went to work. I can honestly say that about 50% of the time I was successful in learning appliances. Not great, but better than 3 weeks! After about 5 days Smappee started listing "Find Me xxx" on the app/PC. It's a slightly frustrating process of trial and error trying to figure out what is what. After three weeks, where I am today, I still have many "Find Me xxx" appliances on the list. It's kind of fun trying to figure it out. Smappee has a "ping me" feature that will send you a notification the next five times the appliance turns on/off. That helps. After I get these appliances reliably discovered, I plan to use IFTTT and Stringify to do some alerting, lights on/off, and some other nerdy stuff. All in all, it's a quite amazing product. Finding that my sump pump draws 750W and that the average new one draws 500W has gotten me thinking of a new one. And that's where any of these devices can actually pay for themselves. Find the energy leach! I'll keep playing with it, but if you like to play with technology and have some patience, I highly recommend the Smappee. Would have gotten Sense, but it requires its own 240V breaker (What?). 

This discussion is great. It is nice to hear all of the positives and negatives about electricity monitoring products out there. This helps me understand the market a bit better. 

Christian

Not exactly for amature's or hobbyists. It may be more accurate because it's monitoring each circuit independently, but much more work and really should be installed by an electrician. This is probably a very good industrial solution.

It is a whole house monitor device. It is similar to the TED Energy Detective device. Thanks, for sharing knowledge on these breaker box monitoring tools. These devices are really useful for homeowners using HVAC systems.

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