Reducing energy costs is something almost everyone cares about these days. Our considerations vary from climate change to oil and gas prices, but whatever the reason, saving energy is something people really care about. This is so to the extent that there are now many, many phone apps that help you monitor your energy use.
Sometimes these apps monitor your energy use by letting you control devices remotely. Some of them measure how much energy you are spending compared to your neighbors, while others pinpoint the biggest energy wasters in your home.
Meter Readings is an app for iPhone and iPad users. It can record readings from water, gas, and power supply meters. It shows tables and charts of costs per week and per month based on data that is entered manually. It also compares your average consumption on an annual basis. The app helps you check whether your bills are accurate and can even predict how much your next bill is going to be based on the month-by-month consumption. This app costs two dollars.
Meter Read is, as the name suggests, another app that can read meters. It is for iPhone or iPod Touch users. What is unique about it is that it shows dials that you use to match your meter instead of forcing you to read old-fashioned meters with several dials. The app tells you how much energy you have used since the last time you read your meters and predicts your bill based on your personal consumption history. The app costs $2.99 and was developed by Zerogate.
Kill-O-watts allows you to estimate energy use and predict bills. You enter power consumption data for the respective device and utility after you indicate how many hours a day the devices are used. At the end, you input your utility’s rates. The iPhone app then tells you how much every device is costing you a month. It costs 99 cents and is developed by Arca de la Alianza, Inc.
Watts Plus can help you figure out how much one appliance is costing you after you enter the utility prices in your area, the power consumption, and the number of hours it is used. Watts Plus costs $1.99.
Cutting power to certain devices
The strangely named UFO Power Center is an app with an intelligent power strip that can be switched on and off remotely or based on a schedule, programmed in advance. In fact, its outlets are what can be switched off, not the whole app. This way, they cut power to certain devices and equipment that are known to be major energy wasters. These include things like computers and TV sets, which waste power even when turned off. However, this app has several disadvantages. First, it has only been tested in California and is not known to work in other states or countries. Secondly, the power strip costs one hundred dollars. The app itself is free, but so what?
Finally, a notable app that helps monitor energy use is Ecobee. It features a thermostat that can be operated remotely, thus allowing one to save money on heating or air conditioning when nobody is home.