Energy Monitors and how they could potentially help you reduce household energy consumption

Energy monitors are small devices that can be purchased which allow you to discover how much energy you’re using (or wasting) throughout your home. Energy monitors are attached to the main electricity line via the meter and give real time feedback to homeowners. They will also give information about your savings when you change the way you’re using energy.

Small handheld wireless monitors can be carried anywhere within your house giving real time feedback, energy monitors range in price from £30 upwards depending on make and function. Plug in energy monitors are also available to measure the power consumption on individual devices, however, these require a battery backup to ensure data is not lost.

Ways to save money at home

The Energy Saving Trust believes homeowners could discover their energy usage dropping by between 5-15% within the first year of using an energy monitor, which could equate to a saving between £25-75 on a £500 bill.

How accurate are these monitors

Consumers of electricity are charged for the actual power used by the kilowatt-hour (kWh), however, some energy monitors only measure apparent power in volt-amps rather than in actual power (watts). Apparent power is higher for devices left on standby or at lower power levels therefore, if a monitor only measures in apparent power it will be less accurate at lower consumption levels.

Whole home monitors are used to measure the overall consumption a device uses when switched on, however, they are not so accurate when assessing the consumption of individual devices. One good advantage of a whole home monitor is that they can assess the consumption of devices which do not have plugs such as showers, cookers and controllers.