Well it has been a while since I have blogged and have wanted to get back into it for some time now to talk about small projects I do here and there. It turns out that it took a $299 purchase of the Sense Home Energy Monitor, a relatively quick install, and a post on Facebook to push me to do so.
What drove me to make the purchase was after doing the yearly taxes and looking over my utility costs from the past 3 years, I could tell I had increased my energy consumption moderately about $40 per month average. My hunch on the main culprits are the dehumidifier and always on server with dual 870 watt power supplies. I figure if I can decrease my consumption back down that $40 per month, I'll have the Sense paid off in about 8 months. I also had been struggling on finding myself a birthday present... win-win.
What made me choose the Sense over others like Smappee, Neurio, Eyedro, CURB, or building my own was the relative ease and short time it would take to install. Its nice to have something do everything for you once its turned on and doesn't require a lot of configuring. I liked the idea of it learning devices off of their signatures, although I suspect this could be a double edge sword as I may grow frustrated if I want options to help it learn devices. I also have limited room in my 100 amp breaker that I'll be swapping out this spring with a 200 amp, so the size played a big role as I didn't want to add to an already congested breaker box. Other options that monitor individual breakers added a lot of clutter and I didn't like the idea of it not being able to get more granular than the breaker.
I was excited to share my purchase and installation on Facebookland and figured it would be another one of those dull posts that wouldn't get much commenting or likes. Lets face it, it is just another geeky gadget that most may not find as intriguing as I would. Low and behold, it wasn't a viral post, but it turns out there are a few people (mostly geeks like me I met in college or career) that chimed in. I was intrigued that there were others out there who had purchased one already or had the same hopes as I did to know what's going on in my house.
One friend Joel, was first to comment and was interested to see my results, but was skeptical after reading about others' results with Sense after learning about it a year earlier. This was also around the time I first recall seeing information on this but hadn't dug in much at that time. I have to say I had the same thoughts as Joel when I was researching monitoring devices recently, but I was hopeful as it sounds like Sense is continually improving and making it a better product.
Another friend Seth chimed in stating he had purchased the Sense 7 months earlier to help him decide if he should change to time of use metering to reap the benefits of off-peak energy rates. Seth stated he is so far reasonably happy other than it can't detect his electric car. It has detected many items in his house reasonably well except many low power lights and two identical fridges in his house (understandable). Seth's suspicions were true, switched to time of use metering, and runs whatever he can after 10pm like charging his car, washer, drier, and dishwasher. The items just mentioned all have built in start timers on them and he ended up installing a smart outlet on his dehumidifier so it won't run during peak hours (1-6pm).
Others were generally just interested in what my results and urged me to keep them updated, so here's the start! I hope others will find this project helpful or interesting.
This post is already longer than expected, next post I'll talk about installation.