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Curb Home Energy is a gadget that you place inside your breaker box so that you could keep track of your energy consumption. It has sensors that monitor each circuit and the amount of energy it puts out.
Curb then sends all of the information it gathers into the cloud so that you could easily see them on your computer or smartphone. This way, you can see your power consumption in real time.
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Features of Curb Home Energy
Know how much energy each home appliance uses up. Withyou know which appliances are currently plugged in and turned on, as well as just how much electricity each of them is using up. Of course, it also tells you how much all of the consumed electricity is costing you.
In effect, you can easily see how much you are spending in real time. The mobile app will also tell you if you are saving or wasting electricity when the radial dial changes from green to red.
Everything is visual. Making sense of your energy use and electricity bill has never been easier, thanks to the Curb app being highly visual. It uses graphs, maps, and charts to help you understand exactly what is going on.
For instance, a bar graph will tell you which appliances are using electricity in real time. Everything that use electricity can be seen in just one screen.
Stay within budget. You can set a limit to your energy budget and Curb’s mobile app will remind you if you are nearing your budget limit.
This helps you know when it is time to adjust your energy use, and perhaps encourage you to turn more lights off when not in use, or to trade watching television with a fun barbecue outdoors. Not only that, Curb also helps you estimate your energy bill for the month.
You only have to specify your service provider and the mobile app calculates the monthly charges for you.
Know when there is abnormal electricity use. Because Curb constantly monitors your electricity use, it can alert you when there are spikes and if there are unsafe events. For instance, if you leave a curling iron plugged in, Curb will
See trends. Not only do you get to see your energy use in real time, but you also get to see historical behavior and trends over time. Because of this, you know which days of the week register the highest electricity use, and which days have the lowest usage.
You can also compare the current month’s usage with the average monthly figure.Works with SmartThings. If you have a smart home, you should know that Curb also integrates with other smart appliances.
For now, Curb works with Samsung SmartThings, allowing you to automate your smart lights, thermostat, and other smart devices around your home.
Other than these features, Curb can also monitor your solar panels if you have them. Connect your Curb to your solar panels and it can tell you just how much electricity it gives you. It can even compare how much of your electricity comes from the grid and how much of it comes from your solar panels.
Moreover, Curb will know if there is something wrong with your solar panels and will notify you immediately. Curb retails for $400 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
What’s in the box?
1 Curb power hub
1 HomePlug adapter
1 Cat-5 Ethernet Cable
2 large CT clamps
3 voltage connection wires
1 voltage wire connecting block
4 medium CT clamps
12 small CT clamps
3 CT clamp connecting blocks
What you would love about Curb
The first step to cutting back on anything is to know just how much of it you are consuming. If you want to lose weight, a common advice is to list down everything you eat. This list will give you a complete view of your food intake, allowing you to decide which food to cut back on.
The Curb is the equivalent to that. But instead of listing down your appliances and guessing how much electricity each consumes, you get a smartphone or Web app and the listing is not only accurate but also automatic.
That list helps you become aware of just how much electricity each one of your appliances consumes and helps you decide which ones to cut back on. For instance, you may think that your bedroom lights do not consume too much, but Curb will tell you are wrong.
This should prompt you to turn off these lights when you are not in your room. Curb will also let you see just how much you can save by doing so. Plus, in knowing which appliances are power hogs, you get to avoid using them when it is not necessary.
Moreover, using Curb will help you implement rules around the house when it comes to using and saving electricity. For instance, if your kids do not bother to turn off the lights, you will have an easier time correcting their behavior with the proof that Curb provides.
Furthermore, did you know that there were 28,600 electrical fires in the United States in 2014 alone? A big percentage of this type of fire is due to faulty appliances. Curb reminds you when you have that clothes iron still plugged in after a while.
You would certainly love how Curb’s software visualizes your energy use, helping you understand easily what is going on through readily available information on real time and historical energy use.
The biggest draw of Curb, however, is on its tips. Not only does it help you know how much electricity your appliances are consuming, but it also gives you customized tips on how to save electricity. These tips are easy to do and very practical.
Lastly, you not only know what your energy use is, but you can take automated steps to help you cut down on your consumption or to take safety measures.
So now, you are not only notified about leaving the iron plugged in, but you can actually do something about it, like remotely turn off the smart plug where the iron is plugged by using the same Curb app.
What could be better
It would be nice if the Curb has an installation and user guide as part of the package or via the smartphone app, but it is not a DIY device. You cannot simply open your breaker and plug it in. In fact, you might need a licensed electrician to install the device and even then, it could take hours.
Also, all the data is sent to the cloud. There is no way to process the data offline without relying on the cloud. In the rare event that the company behind Curb shuts down, there is a chance that you will be stuck with a device that gathers data but with no way to see or analyze these data.
Alternatives to the Curb Home Energy
Like Curb, Neurio gives you second by second energy data that show you how much electricity you are using at home. It offers advanced analytics for your data. However, Neurio is more focused on information and your data still lives in the cloud.
It is also geared towards installers rather than homeowners, and is able to track only those appliances that eat a lot of electricity.
You can also consider getting Smappee. Smappee allows you to also detect water leaks, apart from telling you how much energy each of your appliances is using. The mobile app also allows you to switch your appliances on or off using the Smappee app. However, Smappee involves several devices.
The energy monitor (around $225) tracks your electricity consumption, while the solar energy monitor (around $340) tracks both solar power and grid sources.
Meanwhile, if you want the whole package, you can get the Plus device (around $585) that monitors grid power, solar power, heat pumps, and electric vehicles. Further, you have the gas and water monitor (around $115) for detecting gas and water leaks.
With Smappee, you can only get remote control of your appliances if you get the Comfort Plugs (costs $60 for 6 plugs or $35 for 3 plugs).
If you only want energy consumption monitoring, you might want to get Sense. Sense allows you to monitor your appliances and get nifty reports on which uses how much energy. It does not connect to or control your devices, but it lets you know how much power these are using. Sense is available for $300, with the solar power-ready version selling at $450.
Compare these alternatives with Curb, which retails for $400 and is already solar power-ready and can monitor electric cars, plus it integrates with SmartThings.
The Final Say
Curb Home Energy Monitor is a device that informs you of the energy consumption of your appliances at home in a visual and easy to understand way.
This helps you decide how to cut back on your electricity bills and, if you need help with this, Curb’s mobile app has some customized tips for you. The beauty with Curb is that it is future-proof, and you can use it for solar panels and electric cars.
You may not have these yet, but Curb is ready for it when you do.
There are alternatives to Curb, but most of them pale in comparison. Sense is good if you only want to see how each appliance is eating up electricity, while Neurio is geared towards professional installers. The closest competitor is the Smappee.
Curb is ideal for those homes that already haveSmartThings running. You can easily add Curb to your SmartThings system and be able to automate your appliances from the app.
However, if you are just starting out with your connected devices, Smappee might be a better choice because you are able to just add smart plugs into the mix and to remotely control your appliance from the Smappee app.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!