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Courtesy of The Energy Detective

Courtesy of TheEnergyDetective.com

A while back I wrote a post called Help Reduce Electrical Bill Consumption.   That post focused on using electricity monitoring devices to help identify waste/phantom loads, reduce overall consumption and have a method to monitor daily electricity usage.  Since that article i bought the TED 1001 unit and have been using it for the past 6 months.  Here is a follow-up review and what I think of it.

Install instructions are very easy to follow and I had it wired within a half hour.  If you are not comfortable with opening up the electrical panel, please contact a licensed electrician.  The unit comes with a Transmitter and Gateway.  Follow their simple install instructions.  Paraphrasing the install: connect the MTU clip-ons to the electrical mains that feed the electricity to your electrical panel the wire the Transmitter (MTU) to the breaker and you're done.The MTU sends the data through the existing electrical wiring of the home.  The Gateway/receiver will receive the packets once a second through any electrical outlet in the home.  This was one of my favorite features cause I wanted the receiver to be flexible in location, but not have to fumble with batteries.  To me this is a great feature.

Once I had the receiver plugged in and receiving data, it took about 10mins using the instructions to configure for my utilities 2 tiered billing system.  Again the menu driven setup and instructions are very well detailed and easy to follow.

Next I installed Footprints data logging software and connected the Gateway to my computer via USB.  Software has 2 parts: TED Watcher and TED Viewer.  The TED Watcher is a low real-estate, neat little screen you can run on the desktop that simply displays the current kW or $$ or CO2 usage and does not interfere with desktop usage.  The TED Viewer is the visual interface used to display a live dashboard containing Present Readings, Real-Time KW Usage and Recordings (TED Footprints Screenshots).  I can describe them here, but pictures are worth a thousand words so check out the screenshots.

I would have to estimate that since installing our unit, we have reduced our overall energy consumption by at least 10% so far.  It's hard to gauge since we were heating with Heat pump and E.Furnace but now 100% wood so although our monthly power bills have gone down by a good sum, I don't have enough historical data to say how much was saved by monitoring TED, setting up the Load Profile and then making changes to drop phantom loads and use larger appliances more efficiently.

Courtesy of Greentelecomlive.com

Since I bought the 1001 unit, The Energy Detective has released the new 5000 series unit.  As much as I love my 1001 unit, I think I'm already going to upgrade to their 5000 Series which has all the same features of  my 1001 unit plus:

  • Works with Google PowerMeter
  • Realtime energy monitoring via Internet or mobile device, not just local computer like Footprints
  • Wireless PDA looking display with rechargeable batteries and charging cradle
  • Optional Wind/Solar package
  • Net-Metering capable
  • Can be used with Home Automation Systems

The options I love the most with the new unit is the wireless rechargeable display and the fact that the Gateway, when connected to your wireless router, is available through your favorite browser.  Right now I have a dedicated computer that is physically attached to my 1001 gateway, which is great, but it would be awesome to use any computer in the house or with a few firewall changes on my router, be able to view my stats from anywhere I have Internet access. 

In conclusion to this long post, I would recommend the TED to anyone, and I do to anyone who will listen.  You WILL save money just by being consious of your consumption and even more as you fine tune your usage.  Cost will depend on what model/options you want, the number of electrical panels you want to monitor and if you want the footprints display... worth every penny spent so far for me.  I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who is using TED or any other electrical monitoring product....cheers!


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