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Tracking Home Electricity Use

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,529
1,966
Kansas City, MO
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.
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,529
1,966
Kansas City, MO
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...ocphy=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.
 

JWardell

Member
Apr 5, 2016
343
534
Boston
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.
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,529
1,966
Kansas City, MO
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).
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,529
1,966
Kansas City, MO
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.

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

iPlug

Member
Sep 14, 2019
649
951
Rocklin, CA
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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Ampster

Active Member
Oct 5, 2012
1,906
535
Kenwood, California
Not sure there is anything out there closer than Sense:
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.
 
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animorph

Active Member
Apr 1, 2016
2,164
1,586
Scottsdale, AZ
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.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,586
11,966
United States
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.

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.
 

JWardell

Member
Apr 5, 2016
343
534
Boston
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.
 

BrokerDon

Active Member
Aug 23, 2014
1,429
1,355
Newport Coast, CA
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
 

mblakele

FSD Beta (99)
Mar 7, 2016
1,814
6,151
SF Bay Area
Since this June I've been using an Emporia VUE utility connect to monitor power use:


This is a simple, cheap device that plugs into the wall near any compatible smart meter, and relays data to VUE's servers via wifi. Monitoring and alerting happen through an app. It pulls data from the meter, so it will not report data for individual outlets or circuits. But in my household it's usually pretty easy to identify what's pulling a lot of watts: the heat, the water heater, the dryer, or the EV circuit. For me it's been a great value at $30.

Emporia also offers monitoring at the circuit level, but that installs in the electrical panel. They also have smart plugs with built-in monitoring. However I don't have any experience with those products.



I have no affiliation with Emporia except as a customer.
 

KJD

OD 7/27 MYLR Red/Black 19's/ No FSD/ Del 11/20
Supporting Member
Dec 14, 2013
1,421
1,192
SLC, UT
@Skotty did you find a solution? If not, please checkout the SPAN Panel. We built it to solve the exact problem you identified. We put the data in your hands so you can make intelligent decisions about turning things on and off or replacing them when you want to. Span™ | A Smarter Electric Panel
It looks like a great system. Thanks for the link.

How many of these have you sold so far ?
 

T3slaM0del3

Member
Nov 26, 2021
74
38
Dallas
I don't know if anyone else has seen this but sharing regardless -- A friend of mine has a EV (not tesla) and he had a promo through his electric company where they will credit you for putting in a home charging unit. So if it cost $500 they will credit your account $500! Pretty good deal, right?! Well, not so fast.

Soon after he applied for the credit -- he no longer saw electric deals in his account. Think Free Weekends, Free Nights during off peek hours. Now, not such a good deal.

So take this as a warning, you may not want to notify you electric company you're getting EV as you may loose out on some good deals. OR lock them in before getting a EV. I got free nights 8pm - 8am through my provider -- so i'll be enjoying a year of free charging.

Just sharing!
 

Charliek

Member
Oct 20, 2017
149
107
Vriginia
Hi I use sense whole house just like commenters have said . It does great on motor and large restive loads and a couple of standard electronics ( like it found my TVs ) they ( sense) insist you let the AI find the loads ( for labeling) But if you know when some thing is coming on and off like the car you can see what the amount is but you have to wait till the AI finds it to label it unless you use KASA or WEMO smart energy monitoring switches ( Sense supports those). I was really surprised what certain things eat in terms of power when I installed this.. I rescheduled my car charging ( shows as 10000 watts for 5 hours with other loads during the period ) to the supper off peak time of use ( starts at midnight) and it saves me a bit especially in the summer, 7cents/ KWH versus 22cents at peak
 

brian.c

Member
Apr 7, 2021
164
158
Rocklin, ca
Since this June I've been using an Emporia VUE utility connect to monitor power use:


This is a simple, cheap device that plugs into the wall near any compatible smart meter, and relays data to VUE's servers via wifi. Monitoring and alerting happen through an app. It pulls data from the meter, so it will not report data for individual outlets or circuits. But in my household it's usually pretty easy to identify what's pulling a lot of watts: the heat, the water heater, the dryer, or the EV circuit. For me it's been a great value at $30.

Emporia also offers monitoring at the circuit level, but that installs in the electrical panel. They also have smart plugs with built-in monitoring. However I don't have any experience with those products.



I have no affiliation with Emporia except as a customer.
Does this work with PG&E, and are you on TOU? Since my account was changed over to TOU, it now says I have an ineligible rate. Trying to get an idea if anyone else has it working, before I spend a lot of time on the phone with PG&E... This was something I had planned to do, was waiting for my second pv system to get installed/PTO, now I no longer have the option according to PG&E website. My panel is too full for any of the clamp style monitors, so that is out of the question. Hopefully does not get to the point I install a camera at my meter so i can use text recognition to get my usage.

I have also been looking at outlet level monitoring and controlling, just started looking into smart home stuff, so if anyone has any pointers please let me know. I am actually surprised no one has come up with replacement circuit breakers with monitoring built in. I have seen the full panels, but the cost to replace a panel is not worth it. I have also seen the monitors like linked above for each outlet, but I would much prefer to replace the entire outlet/switch. I have seen smart outlets, but as far as I am aware, none have monitoring. Eventually, I would like to be able to control some outlets/ev charging based on solar production, and current load.
 

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