How do you save in electric bills?

The biggest savings I got was installing a whole house fan, learning which windows/door to keep open (this was really important) and then setting up some automation to turn it on during the night when a couple of sensors rose above 69 degrees. On really hot days (over 100), starting the house at 69 degrees in the morning meant I ran the AC maybe an hour during the very late afternoon. It turned into a significant amount of savings.


Can you elaborate how? This is one of my upcoming plans to automate is the blinds.

I'm interested as well. I have custom blinds going into my whole house (I just bought a brand new home) in a couple weeks.

The easiest way to save is to stop paying the bill. At some point your electrical consumption goes to zero. Can't get better than that!! :wink:


Sorry if my post is pedantic. Where I live (just outside New Orleans), it is hot and humid most of the year - so HVAC is the major part of my electric bill (according to Sense, currently about 45% of my usage). The image below indicates several HVAC related criteria that I've measured for the last few years.

After Katrina, I replaced my outdoor unit with another 3-ton R22 unit. Between 2016-2018, I ran a 10,000 BTU window AC 24/7 continuously from May 1 - October 30. Doing so decreased the number of hours the central AC ran while maintaining indoor comfort to a reasonable level.

This year, I removed the window unit, and replaced the old 3-ton outdoor unit (and air-handler) with a 2-stage R410a heat pump. Thus far, the savings have been obvious, at no obvious cost to indoor comfort. In fact, I'd argue that comfort is distinctly better.

I've configured the thermostat to run the 2-stage unit mostly in the first stage (about 60% the capacity of the second stage).

I am looking forward to getting automated blinds.


For blinds, I have 2" faux wood blinds that I automated with brackets from this post:

But using Hubduino's server library. I also control my vertical blinds with a bracket I modified to work with the same gears.

All told, I was able to automate each window in my house for around $25-30.


My electric company going to a demand rate pricing model is what got me started in Home Automation to begin with. I got an estimate for a load controller to curb the demand spikes and they wanted thousands of dollars. My literal first thought was... "[insert expletive], for that much, I could buy a smart hot water heater, replace every switch and outlet, get a thermostat, replace every bulb and florescent tube with LED's, and still have money left over." 5 minutes before demand rates kick in, everything goes off. My bill is the lowest it's been in over a decade.

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How many hours per day are the demand rates in place?

@aaiyar Peak rates are 3 pm to 8 pm. I cool the house down prior and bump the temp up for that period. I can probably get away without it running for two hours. But it has been over 110 lately. I set the Rheem hot water heater to vacation mode, now I just need to find a way to kill the dryer.

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In my youth, it was called a clothesline.


Assuming it's a 240V dryer, you control it using an ELK 9200 relay. The coil voltage is regular 120V, so the relay can be controlled using a zwave/zigbee outlet.

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I used a high torque 270 degree rotation servo as my bigbox store blinds (2" faux wood) required 270 degrees to go through a complete rotation.

I 3d printed a coupler to go directly from the servo to the horizontal rod that rotates inside the blind housing ( i removed the downrod and gearbox that you rotate by hand.) I also printed a "L" shaped mount for the servo.

I used a nodemcu or wemos d1 mini flashed with Hubduino, a 10' micro usb cable and a USB charger to power everything.

Alternatively I have also used this wifi outlet also flashed with Hubduino. The outlet has a 2.5A usb port.

This setup can power 2 blinds simultaneously.


Oh man, don't get those. I've had both and they suck compared to the Sense. Plus, they are more expensive. The Sense won't monitor per circuit, but it discovers your devices with their machine learning models. It has trouble with my lights because they fade on and off (it got my garage and utility room lights though). But it gets big appliances, some of my TV's, etc. If things stay on all the time, they get tossed in the "Always On" bucket. Still, I've been able to discover more with this than with the Brultech or the TED. The Brultech's logging solution/interface is horrible, and the TED's power monitoring was always WAY off from my electric bill. It's been a long time since I sold these units to someone else, so maybe they've gotten better... but at the rate things were going, I doubt it has improved much.

Also, insulate and seal things. The previous owners of my house were spending like $700/mo on electricity, and in the winter over $500/mo for heat. I replaced 135 incandescent bulbs (most 75w) with LED's, and I had the attic sealed and blew another 24" of insulation in it. I also replaced leaking door and window seals. I have a central lighting system and most of the buttons didn't work when we moved in, so I'm pretty sure when they wanted light, they hit the "house master" button that turned on all 135 lights, which almost certainly contributed to their high bills. I fixed all the buttons in an evening over a few beers.

My electric bill went down to $130/mo, and heat has never been more than $220/mo in the coldest months.

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I really like my IoTaWatt energy monitoring system.

And I wrote a Hubitat Driver for it as well...


Last I looked Sense is cloud based and does not provide any local integration. I'm not sure they even offer an API for a cloud integration do they? I'll have to look again.

The BrulTech interface has gotten a lot better but what's even better is that it can be integrated with so you can access, use, display the data however you want. Several systems have direct plugins for BrulTech.

AFAIK, there is no official cloud integration API. There is an unofficial, "sanctioned" API for cloud integration.

How do you figure this is "sanctioned"? I see no mention on the GitHub repo about any approval/endorsement by Sense at all. Just curious as that type of wording tends to mislead people when things break and API changes.

Anywho since there is a nice python module I can use that to develop a Polyglot NodeServer for ISY :smile:

You're right, there's no official API right now. However, they do have IFTTT integration.

Even though it relies on cloud services, I love my Sense power monitor. It's way better than the other ones that I have tried.

I used sanctioned in quotes because it is widely discussed on the Sense forums with Sense team members occasionally chipping in.