Energy monitor trial: Getting set up.

Hi energy monitor triallers.

Time for the first set of feedback! We’re interested in how the setup went, so let’s dive right into the questions. Your feedback here is so important for helping us choose the best monitors for our members.

Here’re our questions:

  • What are your first impressions of the Loop?
  • How did you find the installation?
  • How are you finding the app?

And, of course, any and every other comment you have at this point would be amazing. Was it a hassle getting it delivered? What could we do to make the installation easier?

If you’ve just found this post… We’re going to provide members with energy monitors in the future and have a lot of questions about how best to do so. So, with the help of some members, we’re having a trial to get everything ironed out.

installation was pretty trivial even if the cabling was a bit thicker than what the inductive loop seemed designed for–currently seeing energy usage in “real time” (a couple hours of delay)

  1. No API or easy way to download entire data history at hourly precision – not really a thing most people care about but would be nice to plot
  2. I’m unsure it actually reflects costs/usage correctly. It will be interesting if the KWH meter and the loop meter report the same monthly costs
  3. Without time of use tariffs it’s kind of pointless to know when in the day usage has occurred. Econ 7 would be the only thing i could change to but that would require an engineer visit and changing suppliers i guess

It’s a neat idea and i can see that my electric boiler burns the most energy

Would it make more sense to have just upgraded to a smart meter?

The selfie stick was a nice touch :slight_smile:

I found setup really easy, the instructions were clear and easy to follow. The cable into the back of the router could do with being slightly longer but otherwise it’s a great looking system. I haven’t used it long enough to see how well it distinguishes between day and night electricity usage as we’re on Economy 7 so I’ll be interested in that.

Also, do you want your selfie stick back? I’m not a big fan of them in general…

Reasonably easy to set up although i’m not sure the 30m range is accurate. I set mine up about 15 metres away initially and didn’t have enough signal to work so had to move to a different room. All good now.

Thanks everyone so far. Really useful feedback!

@nimish

  1. Yep, definitely something to think about. We want to make sure you have the info you need to make the right energy choices
  2. Well, that’s the important thing. If it’s not doing the job then we’ll have to try some other monitors.
  3. Apparently, a lot of users find the time of use helpful to help work out how best to cut down. If you had the heating on between 5-9pm and say a massive rise in usage at that time then you might change your mind about when to have the heating on.

@psmith_ayoung
Great. Little things like the length of cables can be easy to forget about, so thanks for letting us know.

If you’re not keen on the selfie stick, feel free to pass it on to someone who might want one. I tend to be in the same camp as you with them, but my partner loves them… so there might be someone who’d like it.

@neilj
Glad to hear it’s easy to set up. Range is an important point though. Were there any thick walls between the meter and your router? Or maybe it was around a few corners?

Thanks again.

Will

Set-up was fairly straightforward, with no issues.

Loop seems pretty good. It’s useful to see when we are using the most electricity. But it is difficult to know exactly how accurate the system is. As I understand it, energy monitors in general tend not to be fully accurate.

App seems ok but haven’t really used it yet.

Thanks @fox_76, great initial feedback.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how accurately they stack up against the meter in terms of accuracy. Be very interesting going forward.

What are your first impressions of the Loop?
Looks like well-designed kit. Like the collapsible plug and particularly like the packaging, 100% recyclable/renewable (all card and paper, no bubble packs as the loop website had led me to expect). I found one thing a little confusing - Orange packaging containing blue monitor for electric and vice-versa for gas. It would be more consistent to match the packaging colour with the contents - but maybe not everyone tips everything out and then tries to work out wich instructions go with what!

How did you find the installation?
Straightforward with good, clear instructons. The videos that Bulb email linked to were particularly useful for clarifying a couple of points.

How are you finding the app?
Pretty clear and easy to use. Still finding my way around, and watching the montorsto see how they react,

Cheers @renewab,

Great sounds like a good start. I’m definitely in the tip everything out in a big pile camp. But then, I tend to try to do things without the instructions and tend to take twice as long anyway.

Thanks for the super useful feedback.

@will Yeah on reflection it’s interesting to see where I use the most energy, which is unfortunately in heating water and electric heat. Unfortunately, basic physics prevents these from getting much more efficient, so all I could do was only have 1 hr of the hot water heater on each day instead of the pre-set 3. We’ll see if this saves any appreciable cash.

Electric heat, well, it’s pretty obvious that it’s burning cash for heat basically. Not sure you can improve on Joule heating! This is the major energy cost I have.

Most of the other appliances don’t really use much electricity to be honest–mine are pretty modern and even if I changed to A+++++++ or whatever is out there the difference would be minimal.

I’m in a 1BR, so maybe if you had a family or multiple people it might be more interesting. I already replaced all of my lights with LEDs because 50w halogens was also burning cash.

Installation:
Simple and easy to follow instruction provided by loop.

App:
Simple to use and useful to see enegy usage. Much like everyone else’s comments its hard to see how accurate the readings are, but I guess seeing a trend in usage is an effective tool.

First impression:
Seems like a good tool to see energy usage. I’m interested to know if the readings will eventually be sent to bulb much like the smart meter?

Other comment.
No need for the selfie stick!

Thanks

@will, the meter is outside the house so there was one external wall and a couple of internal ones. The overall distance was probably only 10-15 meters though. Now I have moved the receiver closer to the meters, the electricity monitor has a strong signal but the gas one is still fairly weak. Perhaps a battery issue?

all I could do was only have 1 hr of the hot water heater on each day instead of the pre-set 3. We'll see if this saves any appreciable cash.

Sounds like it could be a pretty significant saving if you can get away with heating a lot less water.

I'm in a 1BR, so maybe if you had a family or multiple people it might be more interesting. I already replaced all of my lights with LEDs because 50w halogens was also burning cash.

Good point. It’ll be very useful to see how much of a saving a smaller property can make compared to a bigger one with more people for sure.

Installation: Simple and easy to follow instruction provided by loop.

App:
Simple to use and useful to see enegy usage. Much like everyone else’s comments its hard to see how accurate the readings are, but I guess seeing a trend in usage is an effective tool.

First impression:
Seems like a good tool to see energy usage. I’m interested to know if the readings will eventually be sent to bulb much like the smart meter?

Other comment.
No need for the selfie stick!

Thanks

Installation: great glad to hear it. I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that everyone’s been finding it OK. Not that it’s particularly complicated, but when we were first thinking about it, we thought installation could have been a major blocker for some people.

App: Cool. Good to know. Thanks

First impression: It won’t be during the trial. We’ll have to build API endpoints and other platform bits to do that in future. Part of the reason this trial is so useful is informing us of how to do it. And of course, testing accuracy is also super key to seeing if it’s actually worthwhile.

Selfie stick: Fair enough!

@will, the meter is outside the house so there was one external wall and a couple of internal ones. The overall distance was probably only 10-15 meters though. Now I have moved the receiver closer to the meters, the electricity monitor has a strong signal but the gas one is still fairly weak. Perhaps a battery issue?

Thanks, good to know. Even though the gas signal is weak, is it still doing the job? Or does it make it harder to use?

Could be a battery issue. The gas monitor can’t harvest power in the same way as electric, so it’s definitely plausible. I’m not 100% sure though. Wil be very interesting to see if anyone else has similar problems with it.

What are your first impressions of the loop
The loop looks really good however feels a little flimsy packaging wise.
I don’t think this is actually an issue as once installed you should never touch them again, but if you were renting and moving each year I could see the parts getting damaged. Probably a good compromise between price and quality though.

How did you find installation
Really simple and easy to setup, no significant problems!

How are you finding the app?
The App looked ok, however was less polished than I hoped. It was all web page based rather than following an app style and therefore was harder to navigate intuitively
Upon loading the app, I was told I had an old version of chrome (not the desktop version) and functions may not work
During setup the app pictures were all cut off and therefore needed to use the printout or laptop version.
No alert setup to say that they sensors are catching up due to a bad signal

Other Feedbck
Tariff information just wrong.

  1. Doesn’t seem to support economy 7 tarrif or E7 hours
  2. Standing charge not managed well, the standaing charge is a significant part of my consumption, butnot explianed how this is split per hour (based on estimated usage or typical useage?)

Seems like a good system to compare tarrifs (if activated) and comparing weekly/monthly usage, to really save energy in my opinion for the day to day, you need more data ponts in a day, every 15 minutes doesn’t easily show the difference in a shower or the heating using a boiler. (however my realtime usage is not working properly so may be better on the electricity.

I’m having a problem with the electricity monitor always showing ‘catching up’ and therefore not howing real world usage.
I’l keep you updated with how their support is with a technical issue!

Will

Thanks @will_b, super comprehensive.

A couple of follow up questions:

  1. What phone or device are you using the access the app / webpage? And what operating system does it run off?
  2. Roughly how far from the meter is the receiver? How many walls are there between them?

Thanks again for the feedback. Your points about economy 7 and standing charges are important, so we really appreciate them.

Cheers,

Will

No problem @will ,

Rereading, my comments did sound very negative as I was going through the issues, but to clarify it is a really nice system and am happy to have it fitted! The kw usage figures are already starting to get me thinking how to reduce the peaks!

To answer your questions:

  1. My phone is a galaxy note 4 and I was using the app, not a browser. If I used the webpage on my phone or desktop it was much better.

2)meters are both about 6m away from the receiver and I get 2/3 bars of signal, so no issue with range. I even disconnected my sender and put it next to the receiver and it still didn’t catch up! :frowning:

Let me know if you want any more details.
Will