Efergy Engage Wireless Energy Monitor review

engage01

I’m always looking for ways to cut down on my monthly expenses, and one of the areas I’ve been having a problem controlling is electricity consumption.  The issue is that we don’t really know what’s keeping our bill so high, making it difficult to affect changes.  There are energy monitoring devices available, but most of them have some sort of contraption that connects to the utility meter and then transmits usage to a reader inside the home.   Efergy has what I believe is a more practical solution with their Engage Wireless Energy Monitor.  It reads the actual current flowing through mains at the breaker box in the house and calculates the power consumed.  I installed the unit in less than 15 minutes and now can see my electricity usage real-time.

Efergy offer several devices and accessories for power monitoring.  What I received was the elite engage hub system which consists of an elite classic energy monitor and the accessory hub that allows you to monitor your energy usage online.  The monitor is listed at $99 and the monitor plus the hub is $144.95.

elite classic features

  • Shows per hour calculations for a better understanding and feedback
  • Select up to 4 different tariff settings
  • Audio alert if you exceed your set maximum consumption target
  • Peak time symbol when the most expensive tariff is in use
  • Humidity and temperature functions added
  • Easy to read, portable compact display, can be placed anywhere in the home
  • View your real time energy consumption (cost, CO2 and kWh)
  • View historical daily, weekly or monthly data (cost, CO2 and kWh)
  • View daily, weekly or monthly average (cost, CO2 and kWh)
  • Up to 328ft (70 m) range
  • Portable or wall-mountable display
  • 12 months minimum battery life (with 2400 mAh alkaline batteries)
  • Mains or battery powered options for the display unit

engage online platform features

  • Access your energy data anytime, from anywhere
  • See your energy data on our FREE platform and apps for Android and iPhone
  • Eliminate bill shock, monitor your energy costs in real-time
  • View your daily, weekly, monthly or average costs in easy-to-read graphics
  • Download your energy data into an Excel sheet
  • Set your monthly budget and see how close you are to meeting it
  • Compare your energy over 12 months and see where your costs are highest
  • Choose to view your energy data in $, kWh or CO2
  • Discover and reduce your carbon footprint
  • Teach your family about energy use and saving
  • Use the engage elite kit to track reductions in your household energy

engage02These are the components of the classic monitoring system.

engage03To install the energy monitor you’ll need access to the breaker panel.  For me this was easy because the panel is in the basement and all sides are easily accessible.  If your panel is mounted in a way where there’s wall board abutted to it, you may need to poke some holes in the wall board to run the wires.  Also, you may not be able to use this device if you live in an apartment where access to the breaker panel is restricted.  Might want to check with the landlord first.

engage04Here’s my electrical panel with the cover removed.  HEADS UP!  Read the next sentence carefully!  If you are uncomfortable working around high voltages or it is illegal in your area for a non-licensed electrician to work within the electrical panel, please hire someone qualified to install the monitor sensors.  At one point in my life I was an electrician, so I felt comfortable clamping the sensors to the 220 volts mains.

engage06The sensors clamp around the incoming mains wires from the meter.  There is no modification required to the wires.  Be careful. The voltage across the two terminals with the brass screws is 220 volts!

engage05Here you can see the sensors with their wires run through a punch-out in the panel.

engage07The next step is to connect the sensor wires to the transmitter after having installed the batteries.

engage08A closer look at the transmitter.  It is set up to send data to the monitor display every 10 seconds, but this can be changed to a longer period if you wish.

engage09The final step to begin monitoring your electricity usage is to put batteries in the display and wirelessly link it to the transmitter.

engage10Because I received the hub kit, I had several other steps to take to finish my installation.  After connecting the hub to my LAN, I then created a free account at the efergy website and also downloaded an app for my iPod and iPad.  I could now monitor usage and plot trends using the apps and a web browser on my PC.

engage12I’ve found that the data provided by the meter is more than enough.  You can set your per kilowatt-hour rates in the meter and you’ll then get an approximation of how much you’re spending per hour in real-time.

engage13There is also provision for looking at historical data for week and month usage.

engage11For those who opt for the hub accessory, you can really get into data collection and analysis.  From the browser app you can see consumption graphically and download the data to crunch using a spreadsheet.

engage14On your iPhone/Android phone there is less information.

engage15And if you have an iPad, the display is similar to that available on the desktop.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when considering this device:  The power consumption is approximate.  It does not take into account voltage fluctuations or power factor, so it isn’t meant for use to challenge your electric bill.  Efergy has a True Power Monitor that you can purchase, but for my purposes it’s not necessary.  Most importantly, it does not control your electric usage.  That’s completely up to you.  It does provide you with information so that you can change your power using habits.

I’ve found the engage wireless energy monitor a fantastic teaching device.  There are certain people in my household who now understand the consequences of leaving the oven on for 10 minutes AFTER the pizza has been removed.  We’ve also learned what it costs to leave the lights on when it’s not necessary and the cost of all the charging devices we have plugged in.  I really am surprised at the change I’ve seen in attitude after I demonstrate the cost of their profligate ways. :)

 

Product Information

Price:$99 - $144.95 (see text of article)
Manufacturer:efergy
Retailer:efergy
Requirements:
  • Access to breaker panel
  • Comfort in working around high voltage
Pros:
  • Easy set-up
  • Low cost investment to save energy
Cons:
  • None
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews, Wireless

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • tivoboy August 6, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Holly nuclear reactor batman, what the heck were you running when you were pinging nearly 8kWh..

    1
  • Bill Kuch August 6, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Electric oven and electric clothes dryer. Use of this device has changed some people’s perception of the amount of power required by our appliances.

    2
  • Joshua Marriage December 3, 2013, 6:38 am

    Hi Bill,

    Great article my friend, your work is a pleasure to read.

    My company Eneware is actually an ambassador for the Engage Platform and I am stoked to see it helping people all over the world. Energy Awareness sure has helped plenty of my clients in Australia.

    We are passionate about helping people to make validated purchases of energy efficient products to ensure they see the return on investment they deserve. Excellent reviews like yours are great for supporting our vision and the outcomes we are able to achieve with the engage platform.

    Keep up the great work mate!

    3
  • Jason February 9, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Granted we here in Michigan are having a colder and snowier winter than is typical but I have received my second shocking energy bill so I just ordered the Efergy system. I have an amazing frame of reference: last summer I was in Germany for a few months so everything here was off EXCEPT my refrigerator (forgot to turn it off), all my wall adapters :( and my outdoor lighting (which I should have turned my garage lighting off). I used 7.3kWh, 4.6kWh, and 4.8kWh those three months. So that’s how low it could get…

    This winter during the last three months I have hit 30.9kWh, 38.1kWh and 38.6kWh. All my lights at my home are energy saving fluorescent except one back porch light above my steps. Stove is gas. I turned my electric wall heaters down for rooms I’m rarely in to 50ºF (10.0ºC). I have programmable thermostat.

    Only thing I can think of is that my furnace uses electricity to power the fan that blows the heat through the house. That fan is almost always on! It may be time (and justified by high bills) to get a new furnace. Will save on gas and electricity.

    I hope this meter can help me isolate energy usage. I intend one day to leave the thermostat to a setting as if I was home then one day turn it as much off as I can without letting my pipes freeze to see if it might be my furnace. Or said another way, see if I can determine how much energy my furnace is using.

    I cannot figure out what is using up so much electricity! This meter will be great if it can (easily) show me my daily energy usage…maybe even hourly (or sections of the day).

    Thanks for your review, it looks straight forward to install and convenient to monitor.

    4
  • Bill Kuch February 10, 2014, 10:38 am

    Jason,

    Thanks for reading. I think you’ll find the Efergy will help you find where you’re using electricity. I sometimes walk around with my iPad and the Efergy app and turn appliances on/off to see what effect that has. Seems like my biggest culprit is the very old second refrigerator I have in the attached garage. I’ll be dumping that soon.

    5
  • Jason February 14, 2014, 7:02 pm

    I received my efergy stuff yesterday evening. I installed it (took me a bit of time because my incoming lines did not have much slack and there were a ton of wires leaving the box in the same area).

    I see a strange peak occurring about every 40 minutes up to 2kw. It may be my electric heaters in the additions on my home even though they were set to 50F. Boy,

    I notice the impact of every wall wart (particularly my 230W PC brick that I leave on 24/7 and the 130W work PC brick), my back porch light is still incadescent (I would need to change my whole fixture because the fluorescent wont fit under the glass cover. I need to get my computer to properly ‘sleep’ (it crashes on wakeup).

    This is a nice tool. I have the desktop monitors as well as the iPhone app and website (I have the shortcut on my iPhone homescreen) that I now watch at work:)

    6
  • Antonio May 12, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Does somebody know if is it posible to connect the hub to internet through an USB dongle?

    7
  • Tom June 10, 2014, 7:47 am

    Hi,

    How do you set the cost per kwh in the engage site?

    Thanks :)

    8
  • Bill Kuch June 10, 2014, 8:03 am

    Tom,

    On the Dashboard, go to settings and then select My Settings. Here you can set the tariff price, cost per Kwh.

    9
  • Tom June 10, 2014, 10:05 am

    Thanks Bill. There it only allows me to set a value between 1 and 1001, my cost per kwh is 0.1701

    I am missing anything? :D

    10
  • Bill Kuch June 10, 2014, 10:33 am

    Tom,

    I show a cents sign at the end of the field. I put in the number 13 for my cost and it seems to come out correct. I would suppose you should put in 17.01. Give that a try.

    11
  • Tom June 10, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Thanks very much, feel kinda silly now that I couldnt get what the c is for :)

    12
  • Bill Kuch June 10, 2014, 8:38 pm

    Tom,

    You’re welcome. The c is actually a cents icon. I don’t see it used much anymore.

    13

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