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Energy monitor guide

Energy monitor

Think of an energy monitor as the brains of the house. These handy devices give real-time readings of your home’s running costs directly to your tablet or smart phone – a great way to take control of your energy consumption.

Since energy monitors vary in functionality, we review some of the key features to look out for.

Live energy readings

The main function of an energy monitor is to  give you live readings of your energy usage. By giving you accurate data on how much electricity, lighting and heating you’re using at any given moment, this useful tool is a gateway to a cheaper, more energy-aware lifestyle.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average home in the UK wastes £50 – £86 annually on appliances left on standby, and by installing an energy monitor, you may see your energy usage reduce by 15%. A sensor fixes to your electric box, and a display (usually remote) will typically show the electrical usage in kilowatt hours, the real-time cost, and carbon emission rate. Energy monitors can also give you historical data, so you’ll receive accurate records of how your energy usage changes over the year.

A sensor fixes to your electric box, and a display (usually remote) will typically show the electrical usage in kilowatt hours, the real-time cost, and carbon emission rate. Energy monitors can also give you historical data, so you’ll receive accurate records of how your energy usage changes over the year.

It’s also worth noting that energy monitors are slightly different to smart meters, which automatically send this information to your energy company. Basic monitors cost upwards of £40, but it’s worth checking with your energy supplier as some companies give them away for free. In any case, the payback period can be less than a year depending on how you use the information provided.

Receive data remotely

For those willing to spend a little more, a great feature to look out for is an online platform or app. Ideal for those who spend most of their time out of the house, you’ll have control of heating, lighting and electrical appliances from anywhere in the world.

For remote control over separate devices, smart plugs or smart switches are another convenient addition. They connect to the energy monitor via bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and are relatively inexpensive (starting at around £25). Some models can be preset to timers, so they automatically switch off your devices overnight.

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