This innovative smart device to lower your energy bill gives you four ways to save
by Ansul Rajgharia | 7 min read
There’s more than one device to lower your electric bill, from smart plugs in the $20 – $40 range to popular smart thermostats that average around $250. But now, with the rise of smart home technology, there are new devices that use machine learning to detect real-time energy use across every outlet.
The Wiser Energy™ home power monitor isn’t a smart plug or a smart thermostat. It’s an entirely new class of energy-saving technology that makes your entire home’s electrical system smart via machine learning. There are some really cool possibilities that come with this, which I’ll explore in this article.
1. Use the Wiser Energy device to lower your electric bill by tracking your energy usage
"U.S. residents saw their electric bills increase by $5 per month to average $122 in 2021."
Most of those dollars were likely consumed by heating and cooling costs, as well as appliances and electronic devices. But until now, there’s never been a way to track exactly where that energy was going in real time.
With the Wiser Energy device, you can connect to your home’s entire electrical system, so you can see how much electricity your HVAC, appliances, and devices are using at any given time. You can also receive automated notifications on your phone every time an electrical appliance turns on or off. For example, Wiser Energy will alert you immediately when your smart dryer turns off or if an appliance is left on, like a curling iron.
Here’s how Wiser Energy uses machine learning to track where your home is using the most energy:
- After an electrician installs the device into your home’s electrical panel, it begins tracking all your home’s electricity usage — at 1 million times per second!
- It detects 12 plugged-in devices or appliances throughout your home in the first month and up to 25 – 30 devices in the first 12 months.
- As Wiser Energy learns how your home’s devices are used, it collects that data and sends the information to the Square DTM version of the Sense app on your phone.
How can this device help you lower electric bills? As Wiser Energy learns your plugged-in device patterns (daytime use versus night, week-to-week, month-to-month, seasonal changes, etc.), it delivers the information you need to really understand how and when your home consumes electricity.
Use this information to see which appliances or devices are using the most electricity for each billing cycle, or another set period of time. You will be able to spot sudden changes in your home’s cooling or heating energy pattern, such as a garage door or refrigerator door that’s left open. And, you can easily customize the app to send notifications in real-time when these changes occur. The first step in solving the problem of high electric bills is diagnosing the cause — and Wiser Energy gives you the specifics on which of your home electronics are using the most energy.
2. Pinpoint the cause of abnormal energy waste before it becomes an abnormal energy bill
Another way to use a smart device like Wiser Energy to lower your energy bill is to identify when appliances suddenly start using more electricity than usual. Without Wiser Energy, if your usage spiked last week for no apparent reason, you’d never know. With Wiser, you can monitor your appliances’ energy patterns and develop a “benchmark.” That benchmark helps you snare an energy hog far sooner than catching it on a high energy bill.
Here’s a real-world example. One homeowner, Bill, had Wiser Energy installed in his new home to see where energy was being consumed. For six months, he used the bubble view in the app to see which appliances and devices were using the most energy at any point in time. The bigger the bubble, the more energy the device was using.
One day, Bill noticed that his refrigerator bubble was suddenly much larger than usual and appeared to be growing. It turns out that a failing compressor was causing the refrigerator to use more electricity. After the refrigerator was repaired, it began operating normally and its energy-use bubble went back to its normal size.
By using Wiser Energy and the app as a diagnostic tool, Bill was able to predict an imminent fridge failure, saving him potentially hundreds of dollars in spoiled food.
3. Find out if your home devices are saving or costing you money
Wiser Energy can also help you determine how much value you’re getting out of your solar investment, your smart thermostat, or other devices that you purchased to lower your electric bill.
For example, in a recent energy-saving testimonial in USA Today, one Arizona homeowner, Mike Feibus, was able to reduce his monthly power bill by about $100 a month. While some of his savings came from his home’s new solar panels, more than half came from using Wiser Energy to monitor how much power his appliances were drawing and then taking action to save money. He applied a time-of-use (TOU) approach to use appliances less during utility peak-pricing times, which in Mike’s case was on weekdays from 3 – 8 p.m.
To save even more on his monthly energy bill, Mike knew he needed to learn how all the devices in his home were saving or costing him energy. With the Wiser Energy home power monitor, he was able to track how his new smart thermostats, a new smart pool pump, and his new solar system were delivering intended savings. Using the app, he could really see how much electricity he was saving with his new devices, and where he was losing money.
Mike was able to confirm that his new smart pool pump did use less electricity than the old pump. He also learned:
Making subtle, small changes, like lowering his thermostat by one degree in the summer, resulted in significant savings overall on his energy costs.
He was able to determine his TOU rates before receiving his electric bill. Not surprisingly, peak pricing times were higher when his area’s utility grid was stressed, compared to non-peak times. It’s not unusual to see peak periods lasting more than 10 hours, with pricing 10 times as high.
It made sense to do laundry during daylight hours, because his home was producing more power via solar than it was consuming. (Utilities typically pay much less for your excess power than they charge.)
4. Use your smart device to assess energy trends and set your budget
Many of us are motivated by quantifiable goals. You can set a target to lose 10 pounds, or to run 3 miles a day. Saving energy and lowering electric bills is primarily behavioral; it’s not yet something that’s easy to automate. Wiser Energy is the first product that makes it easy to quantify, set, and track goals around energy use.
Once you have your home’s energy data from Wiser Energy, you can use its app to see historical patterns. You can then use these trends to set goals for how much energy you want to use per a specific period of time.
Here’s how this process works:
- Based on your home’s energy patterns, set goals for how much you want to spend per billing cycle. This is a lot like setting a household budget, but much simpler and easier.
- Start tracking energy usage, such as electrical costs over your billing cycle, always-on devices, or solar production, if applicable.
- Begin receiving alerts on your phone when you reach your energy-saving goals or if you’re trending close to exceeding your limits.
Solve the mystery of high electric bills, for good
Until now, high electric bills have largely been a mystery. Beyond the simple insights such as, “It was hot this month, so I used a lot of air conditioning,” there wasn’t much more you could do to understand the bill.
As we approach winter of 2022 – 2023, when electric bills are poised to skyrocket due to turmoil in global energy markets, gaining control over your home’s electricity use — and your bill — is more valuable than ever. And Wiser Energy, unlike other devices on the market, gives you four ways to do this across every device, every plug, and every circuit in your home.
Here’s a recap of how to use this machine-learning device to lower your electric bill:
- Use Wiser Energy to track your energy usage in real time.
- Find the cause of energy waste before your next billing cycle.
- Assess which devices in your home are saving or costing you money.
- Identify your home’s energy trends and set your power-use budget.
Now you’re ready to take the first step to take control of your energy use with the Wiser Energy home power monitor.