By Brandy Blair
An energy monitor for the home provides accurate, immediate readouts of how much electricity is being consumed in the home. Some of the more advanced models not only measure the amount of power used, but they also translate this into a dollar and cents display that will show the homeowner how much money individual appliances are costing the home.
Additionally, certain models are now emerging on the market that also estimate the greenhouse gas emissions that various appliances are responsible for generating.
Even the most rudimentary power monitors have demonstrated an impressive ability to help reduce needless power consumption. Statistics have shown that they have helped homeowners reduce electrical spending by up to 15 percent.
More sophisticated types of monitors measure the power that is used by the entire home. Other, simpler, and more affordable monitors track the electrical usage of individual appliances.
Whole house energy monitors can be connected to a home power supply by one of four methods. They can clamp to the electric main. They can connect to the electrical meter through a sensor array or an optical port.
There are also models that directly communicate with a form of smart meter. Others tie directly in to the electrical service panel of the home.
From this position, a whole house power monitor gathers data and relays it to a remote display unit. The connection to the power grid and the remote display can be maintained by a wire, a cable, or operate wireless via radio waves.
In the newest models, too, there are now online, real time feeds capabilities that relay the information gathered to a personal computer, laptop, or smart phone. Communication between the connection array and the display is maintained by cable, wires, or radio waves.
A whole house energy monitor does more than simply look at how much power the entire house is consuming. It can be very specific and precise in its measurements, and it can be programmed to monitor any device in the house.
For example, a resident can track the energy used by a particular light in a room. When the light is turned off, the difference in power consumption can then be used to determine if the light is truly energy efficient and warrants a replacement.
Not everyone can afford to invest in a whole house energy monitor. For these individuals, it is better to start saving money somewhere than to do nothing at all.
There are very simple and affordable power monitors that can plug into individual wall outlets. Various appliances can then be plugged into these smart power strips, as many people call them.
The energy monitor then tracks the amount of power that the device consumes while it is operating. This information is fed to the display. Some models track the amount of electricity alone. Others calculate how much money the device is costing the resident.
One added benefit of the power monitors is the kill switches that are built into them. Many appliances never go off, but rather go into a standby mode that can still drain power from the wall. Shutting off the power at the monitor, however, puts an immediate halt to this wasted consumption.
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