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Old 07-08-20, 10:15 AM   #1
Wanna Beco
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Default Does it make SENSE, to monitor your homes energy.

I did it! I finally purchased a Sense energy monitor. Some of you know I just installed a new AC unit. I also had that home efficiency audit. The audit is sponsored by the power company, and it is 99 bucks. but they give you 6 nice Led bulbs and a shower nozzle that has an auto shut off when the water reaches a certain point (do they know my wife or what?)

You have to install it on your mains and it can be scary. What is even scarier is the way my mains were positioned, I had to remove my meter (don't tell anyone) and install it on that side of my box.

It was always 300 bux for the sense, but Camelcamelcamel showed the lowest price at $239. Recently it went down to $249 and I thought it would start saving me money right away, and I should just get it now, and it may never be $239 again for a while. Yep, I think it is expensive as hell. The thing that sets it apart from the DIY stuff I have seen is they use a database of all users to help detect what is going on in your home and to identify individual items in your home.

So far the identification thing is good and bad. I have read that you need patience and it makes sense. Within a day, it identified my AC unit. Also, 2 of my 3 refrigerators. A stove top and strangely the boys bathroom light. (most my other light are now LED.) My water heater got picked up today, as did my dryer. I am a bit Leary about the dryer one because we don't use it that much and it Identified it before, but incorrectly.

They are compatible with TP link and wemo sockets and they have a built in usage data that the sense can use to know individual items not yet identified. (like using a kill a watt). I found 3 for $24 bucks on amazon last night, cheaper that a kill a watt at that price.

A couple of thoughts. I am mad that I even have to buy one. My power company has the same data. I view it everyday. The problem is, it is not up to the minute, it is a day behind. They have the data. There are no more meter readers. They get all the data from the meter and then boom, send you a bill. That was once someones job, and a good job at that. The least they could do is let you log in and view it.

Saving money is a team effort and it is tuff to get my wife on bored. She hasn't even downloaded the app where you can see everything in real time. She just doesn't care. All she does is complain when during our peak time (3pm to 8 pm) where our power costs us the most and I set the thermostat to 82, that she is hot.

Here is a pic off the internet of what the box looks like. It's in your breaker box though and you will never see it after installed.

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Old 07-09-20, 03:22 PM   #2
Wanna Beco
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So, In an effort to save money, I decided to start with bulb replacing and using LED's to get going. The results are dramatic.

Here is my original light.
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Here is the new Costco special, 2 for 17 bucks or so, on sale of course.
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And here is the difference in the light, the hallway is so bright now!
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Very cool.

According to the Sense app, they only use 46w to light up. Pretty darn efficient.
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Old 12-23-20, 02:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanna Beco View Post
So, In an effort to save money, I decided to start with bulb replacing and using LED's to get going. The results are dramatic.
What color temperatures those LED lights have?
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Old 12-23-20, 12:50 PM   #4
Wanna Beco
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Here are the lights I ordered.

https://www.costco.com/energetic-lig...100568811.html

The color temp is 4k.
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Old 01-13-21, 01:02 PM   #5
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So for some reason on my power companies website, the comparison page is missing. In dollars though, my bill was $90 Less this month than January of 2020. ($200 vs $112)

Now you may be thinking that we must have a sealed house. That is not true and here is why. We have not turned on our HVAC for a few months. NO HEAT! And that is what is so frustrating about this month's bill. That $112 bucks is all plugins. I can not really control for that with insulation.

My big expense is my hot water heater. I actually bought new insulation for it last month and rewrapped it. I did not have my sense last Dec. so I do not know what it was using. This billing cycle though it used 200KWH!!!! That alone is 24.5 percent of my electricity for this month. Now usually is uses around 3 kWh a day. I keep an eye on that as it is older. Well, yesterday it used 6.5 kWh. It has never used that much in one day.

The unit itself is 9-10 years old. Last January I cleaned it out and changed the elements. I am going to clean it out again, and I think I will switch the elements as I know the bottom one does most of the work (I think) Either way I think switching them during a service is a good idea. My Anode rod seems to be on the outlet line. I have never changed ANY anode rod before, but this one seems tricky. The videos that I watch all have the anode rod that is separate. Also, I know that I will have to cut the old rod with a grinder and the new one will have to be segmented so it can go in because I have very little clearance above the tank. Anyone ever done this before with this type of system?

Anyway that is my update
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Old 07-12-20, 10:59 PM   #6
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Okay, I just installed this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PP2KNNH/

I needed a water heater timer. I do not recommend this one, but I am not sure I will return it. The APP just plain sucks. The only feature of the app is that you can set a time. And even that is odd. I find it odd because you have to set the stop time on the left... and then the start time on the right.

Any old used cheap timer off of CL or offer up will do, you do not need this thing. I had my hopes high because I recently (June 4th) upgraded my old outdoor sprinkler timer with a wifi enabled one. That item is a hit. The app it uses is called B-Hyve.

Since all you can really do with this new one is set a timer, then I suggest that you just get a cheapy one.

My Sense energy monitor is paying off though. Here is this months break down 83 bucks cheaper than same month last year.

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Old 07-12-20, 11:12 PM   #7
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Here is your water heater timer porn pic.

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Old 07-13-20, 09:04 AM   #8
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Just get a contactor with a 120V coil and control it with a smart plug.
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Old 07-13-20, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiHaoMike View Post
Just get a contactor with a 120V coil and control it with a smart plug.
I am not sure what you mean by this. I am not an electrician, but I do play one on TV. I have done all this stuff by the seat of my pants and watching you tube. As far as I know, my water heater is 220. It is also hardwired. There are no outlets in my whole garage (where the water heater lives) except an outlet in the ceiling for the opener.

I performed an interesting test this weekend. The temps this weekend were practically identical and my electrical rates are the same on the weekends.

Saturday set thermostat to 78 degrees. It ran for a total of 533 minutes.
Sunday set thermostat to 77 degrees. It ran for a total of 663 minutes.

So what did sense tell me about the cost. The new plan I am on is 7.798 cents Per kWh. on the weekends. That is the cheapest that it gets.

The sense allows you to see usage on device specific appliances. According to the app, my usage for AC only was.

Saturday 78 degrees = 35.156 kWh x 7.798 = $2.74 ish for ac only.
Sunday 77 degrees = 38.908 kWh x 7.798 = $3.03 ish for ac only.


So was the extra comfort worth the .29 cents? Well... for me personally, no. In fact I wanted to turn it up but my wife's mother is staying with us and she just turned 81. We have to keep her as comfortable as we can. And we save dollars by doing it pennies at a time. I would never of had this data without the sense. One thing my power company does NOT do is break the data down by appliance.

I would like to see your comments on my energy companies rate Plans

This three card monty type of pricing is making us all pay more. I miss the old days when you had a meter.. a guy came and read it, and you paid a rate for what you used.

They have a plan comparison tool that is supposed to show you which plan to use for your specific situation. It was a shame and showed customers plans with used the MOST money. You can read a bit about it here if you are in AZ you SHOULD read it.
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Old 07-19-20, 11:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanna Beco View Post
I am not sure what you mean by this. I am not an electrician, but I do play one on TV. I have done all this stuff by the seat of my pants and watching you tube. As far as I know, my water heater is 220. It is also hardwired. There are no outlets in my whole garage (where the water heater lives) except an outlet in the ceiling for the opener.
You use the contactor (a very heavy duty relay) to switch the water heater, then you use a smart plug to switch the contactor. Not having an outlet nearby makes things slightly more complex, really just needs an extra fuse to tap off a little power for the smart plug. It would probably be easier to use a "Sonoff Basic" which is designed for hardwired applications. Now you have a networked switch for the water heater with decent software.
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