3 weeks in, so far so good

Nothing special, just 3 weeks in and wanted to add another new user device detection data point to the forums…

BLUF: Very happy with my Sense. Detecting devices, alerts are at close to real time, not seeing any weird or duplicate devices.

Got Sense installed during the commissioning of my roof-top solar array (5.7KW). Install went pretty quickly, Solar tech had it up and running in about 15 minutes. Only downside was there a server-side outage a few days after install, leading me to spend a bunch of time troubleshooting until sense.com recognized and communicated the outage.

House is a Washington DC area row-home, ~1200sqft with just my wife and I living there. All major appliances are ~2 years old.

Currently have 9 devices identified, including most of my major appliances. There was a 10th, but it was a motor internal to my ice maker so I just merged it w/ the ‘main’ ice maker device. Found my Hot water heater and both fridges (main kitchen and smaller wine fridge) within a few days of turn on. Found the Microwave and the Clothes Dryer within a week or so of turn on. Found the Furnace Fan a few days ago. Some of the ‘smaller’ devices were difficult to track down (seems to be a lag of ~15 seconds from device turn on to notification arriving, giving me little time to track down that fridge compressor that only turns on for a minute a time). Still waiting for it to discover my dishwasher (whirlpool) and clothes washer (samsung) and coffee maker (Keurig). AC unit hasn’t been turned on since install, but I hope it is discovered quickly once I start using it again. Hasn’t found any of my lights, but they’re all LEDs and many of them are on z-wave enabled dimmer switches, so I don’t have much hope of ever finding them (low-power and always-on components seem to be Sense’s achilles heel). Expecting a number of sub-components to be discovered (oven door light, range exhaust fan, kitchen door light, etc etc).

Always on: 232w. Consisting of ~8 network devices (router, bridge, 3x COAX/Ethernet adaptors, FiOS box, Access Point, Security camera hub), 2 always on desktops, 1 always on laptop, 2 TVs, 1 cable box, 1 solar hub, and I’m sure a random bunch of other forgotten devices stuffed behind/under furniture.
Other: When the house is empty, this is generally in the single-digit watt range. When we’re home being quiet, it’s in the 200w range.

I haven’t done the “go around the house and unplug devices to see how much they’re pulling” exercise yet. Kinda don’t see the point. There’s a few devices that are unnecessarily vampiring a few watts during standby, but I probably wouldn’t be saving more than a few tens of watts. And the solution (smart plugs or timer switches) have a high risk of WAF failure that one time I’m out of town and she has a girls night that goes late and the TV powers off in the middle of their Psych marathon.

Stray thoughts:

  • Love the instant whole house usage and Solar production monitoring. Sense reads my Solar production as about 300wh off the Enphase Envoy reporting, but that’s negligible.
  • Has a good integration with Home Assistant. Creates a binary sensor in HA for each found device and updates when on vs off. Doesn’t provide wattage usage during ‘on’ status, but that hasn’t been a problem for me so far. Unknown to me whether this is a deficiency in the Sense API or the HA implementation.
  • I’m still in the “pull up Sense app every few minutes to see whats going on” honeymoon phase. I’m hoping to grow out of that phase soon.
  • I’ve shown it to a few of my friends (both solar-owning and non-solar owning) and they’re all envious. Biggest hurdle to adoption is a hesitancy to muck around in their main breaker box (or go through the hassle of getting an electrician to come out to do it). Perhaps Sense could partner with electricians in high-Sense ownership regions and offer an ‘all inclusive’ price for both device and install by a licensed trained electrician?
  • The power meter GUI could have a few UX tweaks. During zoom out, the vertical ‘time-mark’ lines can get very dense before being re-distributed. To the point of interfering with being able to see spikes in the usage graph. Also, the default zoom level is way too granular. Each pixel width starts as a fraction of a second, and it takes multiple ‘pinch’ gestures to zoom out to a level where you can see more than the most recent minute.
  • When hunting down an unknown device, it would be easier to see a textual read out of the highlights of the last few appearances, rather than deducing a pattern from looking at a graph. Instead of having to navigate a graph (that takes a minute to zoom out to a reasonable level) to find out that this device turned on at 630am the last 3 days, but not the day before that, it would be more convenient to have a written report generated: “Device1 turned on at Friday at 630am for 5 seconds, Thursday at 630am for 4 seconds, Wednesday at 630am for 6 seconds.”
  • Any advice on how to ‘encourage’ my two desktops to be found? They’re intended to be always-on (providing network services), but I’ve been performing maintenance on them the last few weeks that had them going down and up a bunch. I was hoping Sense would catch the power cycle events. Should I continue power-cycling them occasionally in hopes that they’ll be found?

Conclusion: Happy Sense owner here. I’m telling my friends it is awesome to have. I’m looking forward to seeing more of my devices appear (and the resultant whole-house sleuthing that goes into figuring out what Heat4 is).

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Good to hear about other positive experiences!

Re: desktop PC tracking, I would definitely not expect them to be ID’d with Sense native device detection. Generally, any electronics with a switching power supply will evade detection due to a lack of distinguishable startup features. I’d suggest using a TP-Link HS110 smartplug or HS300 smart power strip for these ones.

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Good to know, I will adjust my expectations about them being found.

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Just a note about Solar. My Enphase monitoring doesn’t match either Sense or the power company revenue meter, which are quite close (0.27%) to each other. Enphase reads about 260 watts higher than both of the others. My solar vendor says that it’s typical for Enphase to report higher numbers, then there are losses along the way before it hits the mains.

You’ve had GREAT results with Sense, far far better than usually gets reported here. It’s nice to know it works as advertised for at least some portion of the customrs.

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Yes, I agree. Because of the way Sense works (detecting power on/off transitions), it’s going to miss pretty much all office equipment (definitely computers) and most types of home entertainment. Wish Sense had been more forthcoming in their marketing about what it does, and more importantly doesn’t (and from what they say won’t) do.

I installed an HS110 for the “office” and that’s working great. And it only cost another $17.95 on the web after hipping around a bit.

Welcome to the community, @mastakebob. Thanks for sharing your experience from the last few weeks, we’re happy to have you!