Breaker drawing power, and I cant find out where [solved]

Hello all! I just got my sense set up yesterday and am eagerly awaiting the first detection (I realise it may take weeks).

But I already have a mystery! There is a 800amp draw that comes on for about an hour every two hours and I cant find what it is. It’s on a breaker labeled “washer” but when I turn off the breaker, nothing in the apartment gets turned off that I can see (both laundry and dishwasher still work with that breaker off) Any ideas for tracking this mystery device down? Heat and water are both gas, so I cant imagine that. Besides, those have their own breakers…

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Here is the graph for when the mystery device kicks on. Seems more like a motor than a heater to me… at least, it doesn’t have the high draw that a heater should when first kicked on

I hope you mean an 800 watt rather than 800 amp. :slight_smile:
It might help to post a screenshot of the power meter; the signature may give us a clue to the type of device.

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Yes, good god 800amps would be scary! Here is the graph, the lows are where it should be for the most part. Right around 200 watts

It’s your refrigerator!

Also a newbie here with my Sense installed on 11/1 and no devices found. Your meter looks very similar to mine. A more detailed guess would be you have an older, possibly non-Energy Star unit. Mine is 15 years old and I am concerned about how frequently it is turning on. Now I’m less concerned with the energy it uses when it does!

I don’t know why, but it doesn’t like an image with the message. I will try to put my Power Meter as the next message alone.

Sorry, I was not allowed to post a picture or a follow-up message until now. I still am not able to attach a image.

Hopefully you will be able to see my meter soon. My refrigerator turns on after it’s been off about 40 minutes ALL DAY. It’s just running considerably more efficient than yours (about 230 watts - 70 always on).

I’m honestly starting to think someone is stealing power

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I wish it where so simple. It’s not the refrigerator. I turn off the circuit breaker and the current draw goes away, however, the fridge stays on… so cant be that. I honestly cant find anything in the house that gets turned off when I turn off that breaker…

Update: sense has identified the mystery draw as a heating element. It closest guess is that it’s a floor heater, but to my knowledge, we dont have a floor heater. It’s also a $250 annual bill for this thing…

I was seeing your frequent peaks and the similarities to mine.

OK, I’m intrigued here and interested to see what transpires.

Ideally I’d love to see what Sense does with no input from you but in the meantime you have some potential watts flying out the window so some suggestions:

  • Look in your bathrooms/toilets/kitchen … most likely candidates for floor heating and (usually) a dedicated wall thermostat that could well be hidden somewhere. They are notorious, especially in more luxe construction, for being discovered when they start to battle the AC!

  • For an “average” electric radiant floor heater running at 800W it’s probably a maximum 100sqft room … that wattage would correlate to around 60-70sqft of heated floor area. Kinda the average small bathroom when you subtract the shower/bath area.

Thanks for the info! I get back home tonight from buisness and will start hunting. I would think that it would be a bit more obvious, but I’ll admit now I’m on the hunt. I’m impressed that Sense was able to narrow it down to a likely heater and even suggest a floor heater.

We are in a top floor apartment. Floor heating is already provided by the tenants below us. No need for us to be running one!

Now to find the thing and kill it!

Considering Sense’s likely logic, which uses names weighted by the Sense-wide user base:

  • Heating elements in general are perhaps the easiest targets for Sense detection + tracking because they tend to present consistent and non-ramping power loads.

  • Any given heating element has a characteristic wattage (e.g. X watts)

  • For any given X-wattage device that Sense identifies, there will be a pool of likely names weighted to that wattage.

  • Most space heaters are X = 1kW or 1.5kW so X = 800W may live in the pool of “Floor heat” rather than “Space heater”. Meaning, if your floor heat was drawing 1kW Sense might have confused it with a space heater. Remember, Sense may still be wrong!

In the scheme of things this is simple logic but nevertheless impressive. That Sense has started to reliably detect ramping loads and more complex signatures is what can really get you thinking.

No kidding! Discovering this product has kinda engaged my inner nerd :rofl:

The only thing I wish it could do now was send out roamers down my wires and map where they go! … you know, while I’m wishing… Having the breaker say “washer” and yet knowing it’s not one of my washers… its maddening! I look forward to solving this one

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Here’s a long story about a guy tracking down a mystery device on a mysterious breaker. Good luck sleuthing…

Interesting read! Gives me some ideas for when I get home… it seems it’s only drawing from one of the mains, so I assume it’s not quite the same as his issue and it is in fact a 110v circuit.

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Keep in mind that there are relatively inexpensive circuit (breaker) tracers that will work on live outlets for 120V, like this one. Using that and a process of elimination can get you a good way to mapping things out properly without doing any “electricians-only” stuff. Your floor heater, if it is that, is no-doubt hardwired but knowing what breakers it’s not on should help.

I’ve had many situations with live panels I can’t open where simply tracing unmarked (and incorrectly marked) breakers and outlets has been a quick solve.

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(new user here too!)

You could turn the breaker off and leave it off until you discover some device you need that isn’t powering up?

While my newly installed Sense boots up, I’m searching for posts about how to Sense breaker-by-breaker without leaving them off - I’ve got a big subpanel I’m trying to troubleshoot, some of which goes to the rental unit I’m trying to charge for!

I’m somewhat guessing at what you mean here, but I think you are conflating Sense’s general awareness with some awareness of particular breakers/circuits. Sense, if anything, will get confused when you start switching breakers on and off to attempt identifying devices. It won’t help “train” Sense and, especially in a big unmarked panel, it probably won’t speed up your ability to verify the device identity. Remember also that any given breaker can have multiple devices on the circuit.

Apart from patience and post-detection sluething, these are some good approaches:

I think once I figure out what that heater actually does I would have no issue shutting it off at the breaker for good. My only concern is that it’s something critical, like heat tape on a pipe. I’m in Alaska so it would be important if it was in a area that could freeze. I know that’s not likely, but this is an older building and I somehow wouldnt be suprised by a cheap fix like that for a poor design!