Electricity consumption can be measured in three different ways:
The first method uses the deduction/subtraction of values from the electricity meter. This way is more accurate but it does not make it possible to distinguish between consumption in individual phases or circuits (e.g. "kitchen" circuit, "lights" circuit, "socket" circuit).
Optosense uses optical pulse sensing and its installation is very simple i.e. it does not require professional installation because the sensor is placed straight from the outside on the electricity meter housing. For this type of measurement, one must have a suitable electricity meter. The vast majority of electric meters installed since 2001 in Europe are satisfactory. If your electricity meter is older, you can ask your electricity distributor for a replacement. They are obliged by law to exchange the electric meter free of charge.
The meter will include an optical output (flashing LED indicator) - you can easily find it if you turn on some major appliance[s] - (an electric oven for instance) and you take a look at the electric meter’s housing. Pay attention to the place where the electric meter is located. It should be placed in a closed case or inside an apartment because a measuring probe with a transmitter has to be connected to it. Theft of the device may occur if the electric meter is freely accessible in the corridor. If you don't have such an electricity meter or local conditions are not optimal then a better solution could be measurement of electricity use through Powersense (below).
Choose measurement via Optosense in case:
- you have a compatible electric meter - a necessary condition! (If you do not have one, you may ask the distributor for exchange, he is legally required to exchange the electric meter for free).
- you do not have special metering requirements - you do not require e.g. measuring of individual appliances, circuits ("lights circuit", "socket circuit", "boiler", etc.) or measuring of total consumption is convenient for you.
- you require higher measurement accuracy
- it is possible to place the sensor safely on the electric meter, for example in a locked box/case where there is no possibility for it to be accidentally damaged or stolen.
The second method allows to measure consumption from multiple circuits or phases but the disadvantage is slightly reduced accuracy and a more complicated installation where it is necessary to attach the measuring probes to the lead. The kit uses 1 phase or 3 phase current sensors ("clamps") that need to be attached to the power mains (leads). This set may require professional installation by an electrician.
Choose measurement via Powersense in case:
- you do not have a suitable electric meter (see list below) and the situation doesn't allow for its replacement
- you have special requirements for measurement, e.g. measurement of specific circuits (sockets, lights, boiler, kitchen, consumption) separately, measuring the individual phases or measuring reserve capacity.
- the wires in the circuit breaker box are accessible to install the sensor - a necessary condition!
The third method measures the consumption of individual appliances connected to an electrical outlet. It is advisable to use it for additional measurement granularity in tandem with either Optosense or Powersense. A Plugsense device can be simply plugged into an electrical outlet and an appliance connected afterwards. Plugsense devices don’t only measure power consumption but can be turned off and on remotely from within the application.