How to Monitor your Electric Usage from the Palm of Your Hand

Monitor your home power usage from your smart phone

A smart home begins with smart decisions.  The ability to control your personal space to your liking is the foundation of generating a home eco system for your family to feel safe and comfortable.  The ability to control lights, power on & off devices, change temperatures, view baby monitors & security cameras with just picking up your phone or tablet are becoming part of everyday life.  With the ability to control your home eco system also comes with the ability to be aware about everything in your home?  Shouldn’t you be aware of how much energy you use and utilize the data to make smart decisions in your house?  Shouldn’t you be aware if something is left on when your not home?  Shouldn’t you be able to make real time decisions from real time data that saves you money and helps the environment? 


home, smart, automation


A Good Start But We Can Do Better

This is where the Shelly 3EM comes in! It is a cost effective way to gather data and allows you to make decisions that effects the bottom line of the electric bill.  I have been surprised a few time from the electric bill as I’m sure you have as well.  I’ve taken vacation and left on lights or gone to the store with the oven on and nothing baking simply because I forgot to turn it off before leaving.  I have to admit I’ve gotten better because I’ve gown up some, invested in smart sockets, and trying a few smart bulbs have helped as well.  I’ve seen sockets that tell power consumption of whatever is plugged into it, which is a neat concept and I have bought a few of those as well.  What I realized is that those plugs monitor the minor sources of power and they aren’t monitoring what’s really using the most energy.  Sure they are great and leave room for improvement but there are better places to start.


Focus on the Big Hitters

Years ago when I was managing large projects, I got caught up in the details trying to save a few dollars on some fasteners and gaskets. When my director inquired why was I consistently working late in an attempt to deliver the project early, yet I was spending time on saving a few dollars on fasteners. Ultimately, I was jeopardizing the multi million dollar project with large incentives to finish early because I was focused on pennies.  After stepping back, looking at the big picture and running some numbers, I realized he had a point.  My top priority should be on the things that make money and/or have the biggest impact on the outcome and then if I can save a few dollars along the way, well that’s a bonus.

What is ACTUALLY the Power Hog in Your House

To put things into perspective, the LED light in your bedside lamp isn’t driving your electric bill.  The largest power users in the panel that are costing you money tend to be appliances like the stove, heat pump, electric heater, hot tubs, electric pools, hot water heaters, microwaves, or portable heaters/space heaters.  Most of these appliances are part of our background. We don’t have an easy way to monitor our usage. We may try to adjust our habits and wear a sweater more. But a the end of the month, did your discomfort or new habits have any affect? You have to wait until the end of the billing cycle to just say, “Well that was an expensive month.” What about issues with your meter. Have you’ve ever gotten a bill and thought, “There’s just no way that is correct.”


Shelly 3EM

The Shelly 3EM is a perfect fit to answer those questions and take control over your house with real time data generation, notification capability and the ability to control other devices. Even better, you can do all these things from your phone or computer. The Shelly 3EM is a Wi-Fi enabled device with qty 3 split clamp current transducers.  The Shelly 3EM installs in minutes and allows you to monitor the big users as well as the little users on a real time basis.


How Did I Use The Shelly 3EM?

The first thing I did was turn off everything and then turn on each breaker to see how much each circuit drew from the line.  Moving from one breaker to the next, I systematically checked each circuit, turning on and off refrigerators, ovens, HVAC, all the while driving my fiancé nuts with the all the beeps and flickering lights. Similar to you, I’ve see calculators and estimates on how many amps a refrigerator or a fan pulls.  This was my opportunity to determine and flag my “big users”.  After I powered everything back on, then I put the house in the “away mode”.  I wanted to find out what our base electrical load was.  This is important because this tells you how much power you draw at any give time without anything effectively running.  I found out that our base load averages about 380 watts at all times with all lights off and we are effectively at work or gone.  Now I can check the consumption before we leave the house and I know if the power consumption is over about 400 watts, I’ve left something on and am wasting power.  Additionally I can keep track of how much power we use from a day to day basis and also keep track of my power usage during months when there are varying rates for power during the day to minimize my energy bill. 


What Else Am I Doing with the Shelly 3EM?

Now that I know how much energy I utilize I can look at options to make incremental improvements that give me the best bang for the buck. 

  • Use the data to determine backup power requirements: sizing equipment, generators, UPS’s and solar panel
  • Smart control of my house: Configure my smart devices or procure smart devices to actively and efficiently manage power usage through you house.   Do I have an air compressor that kicks on during the week when your not using it for no reason?
  • Do I waste power? Complete a quick energy study, challenge yourself to walk through the house to assess what devices are in my base load and should they be? Is there a stereo I leave on for background noise even if I am not in that room most of the time?
  • Alternative Energy: Is it justifiable to put in a solar panel to take care of the base load so I don’t get charged for it during peak power times?
  • What’s my power factor, if you have a large shop or commercial real estate can you correct your power factor and easily save money?

Follow us as we tackle some of these questions and put real numbers and facts together to make smart decisions.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about different options or avenues for creating a smarter home and your more ideal home ecosystem.

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