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Tracking Home Electricity Use

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Skotty, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"

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    This has been bugging me for years now. Maybe there is a way to crowdsource a solution?

    There are several ways home electricity use could be monitored.

    Special outlets that can track usage (like a built-in Kill-A-Watt) where you could replace all outlets in the house with them. Special light switches that do the same. Special breakers that can do the same for home breaker circuits. Another option that might help would be if there was some kind of Kill-A-Watt device for 240V 6-50 and 14-50 outlets.

    How much of this is really doable? I think just having outlets and switches designed to track usage would be a huge benefit that could really help people analyze and fix the larger power drains in their house. The Kill-A-Watt itself can work, but it kind of sucks; it's a totally manual process and it blocks one of the outlets where you can only use one outlet at a time.

    I'd probably be willing to pay about $50 per outlet and switch myself, plus maybe $200 for a central control unit. Where each one will track usage and report it to a collection device either wirelessly or wired over power (like how some solar power system units operate).


    A true "smart home" will stop trying to flip switches for me and just provide a detailed report on usage instead so I can change my own habits and replace equipment based on my on analysis and preferences.

    Now, admittedly this would be an expensive system. So here's another question. Why can't companies that do energy assessments do this temporarily for customers? Replace outlets and switches with their own tracking systems for maybe a week to provide customers a detailed report on energy use. This would be so much more helpful than the garbage service they usually provide. I guess there would be too many liability issues.

    Anyway, rant over. The current situation for tracking energy use just plain sucks.
     
  2. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"

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    Update: I'm now searching online to see if maybe there are some options similar to what I was ranting about. There are a few hits I've come across, like this one:

    https://www.amazon.com/ENERWAVE-App-Controlled-Automation-Interchangeable-ZW15RM-PLUS/dp/B07991PBH9/ref=asc_df_B07991PBH9/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242124331408&hvpos=1o8&hvnetw=g&hvrand=423921153929258442&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1020414&hvtargid=pla-420172598053&psc=1

    Happy to hear any recommendations from others. Reminder -- I don't give a $*#& about remote control, I'm only interested in monitoring usage.

    The unit I linked is *kind* of like I would want, as it claims to have energy monitoring in addition to the remote functions, but it would be much better if it monitored both outlets instead of just 1. I've got a lot of outlets in the house where both plugs are filled.
     
  3. mblakele

    mblakele beep! beep!

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  4. JWardell

    JWardell Member

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    What exactly are you trying to track?
    If it's just one device (like, your EV charger), then yes you can use a smart outlet or install a $20 power meter on that circuit.
    If you are trying to track your whole house, first see if your electric company allows you to download usage data or supports software that connects to your smart meters.
    If not, you could similarly add a power meter and clamp around the service feed.
    Or as mentioned, Sense is nice but not particularly great at keeping track of individual devices.
     
  5. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"

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    There are some smart home units that seem to suggest they provide energy use monitoring. But they fail to include details that would be important. For example, how many units can work in the same household? Is the energy data exportable (as text, in a way that can be consumed by the user for input to other systems or reports)?

    For wireless connected outlets, it is worth knowing how the wireless connections behave and worth exploring if they can be linked to a 2nd different network within the house (probably so). Why? Because no one of sound mind wants 500 individual outlets appearing on their wireless network; they need to be isolated into their own sandbox. (it seems they could design these outlets to act collectively as a single connected device to the network if they wanted to, but I doubt any of them work that way).
     
  6. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"

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    The entire house in detail. Every single outlet there is. And light switches too.
     
  7. iPlug

    iPlug Member

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    #7 iPlug, Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
    Not sure there is currently anything out there closer than Sense:

    The Sense Home Energy Monitor


    However, next year the Span panel should be out which is supposed to be the IOT to replace the service panel of a residence:

    Span

    The Span Panel is purported to entirely replace the traditional electrical service panel and make the addition of solar PV, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging stations more plug and play.
     
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  8. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

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    #8 Ampster, Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
    The Sense has an algorithm that can identify some devices. It is better on bigger motor loads. It doesn't seem to be able to identify my Teslas, probably because I charge at different Amperages depending on when I am charging. The Neurio is somilar but each CT can be configured independently so you could theoretically measure 4 sources. I only use one CT on balanced 240 V loads and adjust configuration accordingly.
     
  9. animorph

    animorph Active Member

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    A Sense would do fine if used to monitor only the car charging circuit. Ours is connected for the whole house. It has caught on pretty well to three separate heat pumps and a few other things. It has seen the car charging but isn't reliably detecting it. Maybe because we have two Teslas on a shared 100A circuit so there's some variation in usage.
     
  10. nwdiver

    nwdiver Well-Known Member

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    Mine has the same problem. Basically any non-inductive or smart loads it has a hard time with... It never did find my mini-splits. Spot on with my refrigerator though.
     
  11. JWardell

    JWardell Member

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    I've been running Sense for about 16 months. It is spectacular for viewing fine grained current use and seeing how it goes up and down as you use devices. It is NOT good at reliably tracking a device's usage over time. Sense identifies motor loads with high inrush very quickly, and slowly identifies other loads, though rarely does it ID small things like lights.It also often confuses many of those motor loads for one another. It seems to ignore actual current usage, as with the car charger which is blatantly the largest load in the house took about 9 months to identify, worked for a week or so, and is back to being ignored again. There is frustratingly NO way to force train the Sense. The whole point of machine learning is to train it. So it remains a electronics geek toy to me. I separately put a energy meter on my car charging circuit to track that specifically.
     
  12. BrokerDon

    BrokerDon Active Member

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    Our now discontinued 2015 eMotorWerks WattBox 200 that's has a amperage & voltage sensor clamped onto our 100A breaker / 80A charge rate Tesla High Power Wall Connector tracks every detail of our Tesla electrical both via our web portal and their JuiceNet iOS app (see below). It even enabled us to have a "virtual" submeter that we could put on a separate electrical rate plan.

    Hopefully some other company has a clamp-on amperage / voltage device that can do the same as our WattBox. Sadly our utility company (SCE) and the Public Utilities Commission discontinued our EV SubMetering Phase 1 program which ended our ability to have our Tesla on a separate electrical rate plan... but our WattBox ("JuiceBox") still monitors all our usage in great detail.



    Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 8.25.57 AM.png
     
  13. miimura

    miimura Well-Known Member

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