How To Track Electricity Usage

Written by Frank Eakin

Have you ever wondered “How many kWh does a house use?” You can find out by learning how you (and your housemates) use energy.

And if you’ve ever paid a Texas electricity bill, you’ll find that how many kilowatts a house uses has a big impact. That makes learning how to track power usage vital.

While you can learn some about your monthly energy usage with your bill, we’ve got a few easy steps to help you find out which devices use the most energy. You can use this info to make smart, energy-saving choices.

You can also use Smart Meter Texas to track your exact electricity consumption.

Read on to learn how to measure electricity usage in Texas and how to use the info you find to cut your energy bill.

What Does It Mean To Track Electricity Usage?

Tracking electricity usage is the process of learning more about which of your household appliances and devices consume the most energy. Electric usage monitoring can help you determine what uses the most electricity in a home.

While your monthly bill can tell you your overall usage, it won’t always give you in-depth details you need to learn how to adjust your use and save money.

With some devices or apps, you can determine your everyday usage, allowing you to make any necessary cuts or modifications.

It also helps to learn what uses the most electricity at home.

Why Is It Important To Track Energy Usage?

Wondering why you should track your usage and if it’s worth time and effort?

There are plenty of benefits to electrical usage monitoring, including potentially cutting your energy bill and saving money.

Check out the perks to tracking your power use below:

Increase your knowledge

One of the most important benefits is learning how your electrical system works.

Getting concrete info will help you make an informed decision.

Plus, tracking usage can tell you about your consumption habits and those of others in your household. You can then change simple behaviors that may be costing you the most.

Evaluate efficiency of devices and appliances

Knowing how much energy your devices and appliances use can tell you which ones eat up too much of your electricity.

Some devices that require an exceptionally high amount of energy may need to be repaired or updated. Try to find a newer, more energy-efficient model on the market; it may be worth the investment.

Even if you choose not to replace a device, you can develop habits to minimize the use of energy-draining appliances.

For example, you may cut back on TV time or hand-wash dishes some nights, rather than using the dishwasher.

Show usage trends

Often, everyday behaviors become so habitual, we don’t even realize we’re doing them. Electricity consumption monitoring can teach you more about how your and your housemates’ behavior impacts your bill.

This can help you see if there are any patterns you can eliminate or reshape.

For example, you may learn that you use the most energy in the middle of the day. In this case, you may consider doing daily chores or activities outside of the house during this time to cut back on usage.

Evaluate your electricity provider

While your appliance and device usage can have a huge impact on your energy needs, make sure that you’re getting the best rate from your energy provider.

We recommend comparing Texas electricity rates to see if there’s a cheaper energy supplier that may automatically save you money.

You can also check out picks of the top trusted electric companies in Texas. Finding the cheapest energy plans and reducing your energy consumption can max out your savings.

If you want to save some green while going green, consider green energy plans. Many providers now offer renewable energy plans that are as affordable as their traditional fossil fuel-sourced electricity.

Taking the extra step to examine your service may help you keep your electricity consumption as efficient as possible.

How To Track Electricity Usage in Texas

To learn more how to monitor power consumption, we’ve put together some simple tips to track energy use:

1) Monitor your bills

Your electricity bills may not give you all you need to track your usage, but they can provide a baseline. This can be useful as you increase your knowledge about specific devices and how much energy they use.

Read your bill and track trends, like if your usage decreases or increases, and by how much.

If some months are very high, it’s a good time to carefully monitor other tracking devices the next month. Note how much impact each behavior or usage change has on your budget.

If you spot any discrepancies, speak with your provider or find a new option.

2) Use smart plugs

One of the simplest methods for electricity consumption monitoring for individual devices is employing smart plugs or smart power strips, sometimes called a plug-in electric meter.

Plug in power meters connect directly with the wall or power outlet. You then plug your device into the smart plug. The plug-in electric consumption meter will then give you info about the device’s energy use and cost.

This is a great option if you have a few devices to monitor, but it may be costly to buy one for every device in your home. These plugs may only work for small devices, like a blender, but not for large appliances, like a washing machine.

Available at many online retailers and home stores, these plugs are a great place to start if you have a few small devices you’d like to optimize immediately.

3) Try a whole-home electricity monitor

If you’d like to go bigger, try out a whole-home electricity monitoring tool, AKA a home energy management system.

After purchasing one of these monitors, you can connect its sensors to your home’s electrical panel or electricity meter. This should give you more specific information about all the appliances connected to an individual circuit.

This can give you a holistic understanding of how your home is using energy. That said, you may want to invest in a few smart plugs if there are specific machines you want to learn more about.

Before you select any monitor, make sure it works with your household’s electricity voltage, like 120, 208, or 240-volt. Some monitors may only work with split-phase households.

Available online and at many retailers, these monitors can help you meet all your tracking needs as long as you select the one that works for you.

4) Consider appliance recognition features

Really step up your electricity tracking game with a whole-home energy monitor that offers built-in appliance recognition features.

These powerful machines can track the power consumption for every device plugged into a socket within the home. They do this by learning the unique electric signatures of each device and tracking these signatures individually.

Some of these monitors allow you to name and track individual devices. They may even provide specific power-saving recommendations, like when to turn off each device to maximize efficiency.

Often more expensive than regular energy monitors, they can be worth it if you want to control everything in your home without buying individual plugs.

5) Detect vampire loads

Vampire load energy, or idle load electricity, refers to energy that devices eat up even when you aren’t using them.

When you have a device powered on in sleep or standby mode, it can contribute to your electricity bill without you even realizing it.

For example, if you have a household computer that you keep on when not in use, this can quickly affect your bill.

If you purchase a whole-home monitor, you can track real-time consumption to learn more about how much energy you’re using at any given time. With this knowledge, you can power down machinery that’s not in use, cutting your bill.

Small fixes like this can have big impacts on your bill long term.

6) Download an app, use timers to cut usage

If you want to keep track of energy usage even when you’re on the go, get an energy monitor that connects to a mobile app. These apps let you easily monitor your home’s energy consumption from anywhere.

This is perfect for keeping track of appliances that use energy when you’re not at home, helping you detect any vampire loads.

Many of these apps also let you set energy usage goals or to get tailored recommendations. Some even allow you to predict costs, giving you a real-time look at what your bill might be later in the month.

Some monitors have built-in timers to power off devices after a certain amount of use or at set times during the day. Some, you can even turn off with your phone.

This lets you dictate the amount of electricity each appliance uses, helping you continuously monitor and control the most important devices in your home.

Bonus: apps means less stress from constantly monitoring an electrical panel or reading meters.

7) Monitor solar energy generation

Do you have solar panels? Pick an electric usage monitoring device that tells you more about the energy your solar panels generate and how you use it.

This will tell you if your solar panels are doing as much work as they should. It can also help you determine the best time to run specific devices on solar energy to minimize costs rather than using the electricity grid.

These solar monitors are available alongside many whole-house monitoring options online and at home improvement stores.

What Can You Do Once You’ve Monitored Your Usage?

Now that you know how to monitor power consumption, what’s next? Here are steps to use that electricity tracking data to adjust your everyday life with ease:

Develop energy-saving habits

If you learn that a certain appliance takes up the most energy, for example, you can develop strategies to limit its impact.

While some machines, like a refrigerator, may require constant usage, you can always elect to turn off televisions, computers, or other devices that aren’t in use.

You can also learn the best and worst times to run appliances or to get specific recommendations for efficient energy use.

Invest in new smart tech

Notice any particularly high-consuming devices? Make sure the device is performing properly.

If a device is less efficient due to age or broken or underperforming parts, it may need to be repaired or replaced. This is because old or broken appliances work harder to function, requiring more energy. This can apply to washing machines, air conditioners, dishwashers, and more.

Technology has advanced quite a bit, and new Energy Star-certified devices are far more efficient than older appliances. While new appliances are an investment, they can save you money in the long run.

If your energy-reducing efforts don’t have an impact or usage skyrockets, consider having a professional assess your system.

Discuss energy usage with household members

Armed with data about which machines require the most energy, you can lead a discussion about ways to minimize usage.

You’ll also have great tips for simple actions to cut consumption, like turning off devices that aren’t in use.

And with simple, easy-to-use electricity monitoring apps and devices, you can empower all family members to stay on top of their usage.

Consider solar and other renewable tech

If you haven’t yet invested in solar, it may be the perfect time to do so.

While this may be more of a long-term investment, discovering how much energy each home appliance uses on a daily basis may inspire you to make a positive change for the future.

When you want to lower your electricity bill in Texas, tracking your electricity usage is a great way to find ways to improve your household energy efficiency.

No matter which method you choose, more data helps you make smarter choices. With small changes, you can make a big impact.

Now that you’ve learned how to monitor power usage at home, another critical component to reducing your energy bill is finding the cheapest light companies. Enrolling in an energy plan with the lowest rates can save you money right away.

To find cheap rates in your area, simply type in your zip code below.

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