# Do you need help with identification? Use this wattage tip

#1

If your having trouble identifying a detected device or just curious about something, here’s a tip.
On electric devices there is a tag, sticker or stamp that states either the wattage or the amperage of said device. I’ve taken a couple pictures for reference; the first shown from a Rowenta clothing iron and it shows it’s wattage of 1800.
The second is a power adapter for a router and instead of wattage, it shows amps. This is how most are displayed.
Take your amps which for this device is .8
And multiply by the known current which is 120 volts
.8x120=96 watts ( a lot more than I expected for this device)
The reverse is true and you can take that 1800 watt iron and divide the watts by volts for amperage.
1800/120=15

This may help with identifying a mystery device or adding devices together that are on the same circuit.
If my house was wired with 15 amp breakers like most are and I plugged the iron in while anything else was plugged in somewhere on that circuit, I’d trip a breaker.
This has helped me with the showing half the wattage problem. I’ve been able to go read the label and I’ve use the kill-a-watt to verify.

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#2

Keep in mind that a devices placarded wattage/amperage isn’t necessarily always what it will consume.

A refrigerator for example may show 11-13A on the placard sticker, but only because of the startup surge of a compressor - most refrigerators only actually draw 100-750w (lower when running normally, but higher if it’s in a defrost cycle for example) when actually running. The same can be said for many inductive loads like electric motors (vacuums, power tools, etc).

The transformer you showed in your second photo may draw .8A when it’s under the full load of the device it’s feeding, but when that device is turned off for example, it may draw quite a lot less.

It’s a good reference tool, but not always definitive as an exact reference for what you’re going to see in Sense. Something to keep in mind.

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#3

You are absolutely correct. Some labels are more accurate than others
and will show continuous load vs. startup.
I do keep this in mind and think this screenshot displays what you are talking
about when my heat pump kicked on.
Did you notice on the label where it states minimum 18 amp breaker? That is
usually sustained load but requires 30 amp below that for startup. I believe it shows
14.1 running load for just the compressor unless I’m reading it wrong which is
about 3400 watts, don’t remember what it showed for fan for fan but together
they are 4500 or so.
Sense is catching up one at a time with the half wattage on 240 devices and the
water heater that did display 2300-2700 is now in the 4500 range consistently.
The second screenshot is of my fridge which shows the same spike at each
startup. This fridge data I’m not trusting quite yet because while the compressor
and compressor fan are running is only drawing about 95 watts. So its picking
up part of whats running but not all just yet. I’m thinking its reading the compressor fan right now because that 90 watts would be about right for a fan motor but not enough for the compressor.
Sense does detect this load as the fridge very accurately.
I have to thank and applaud everyone that got into this way before me and their
patience has built the dat that I’m really getting to benefit from.
I don’t understand why those that have had it for a year or two are still having
slower detection than I am.
TWO MORE detections today, 16 total in less than 2 weeks

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#4

HVAC related items such as heat pumps and AC condensers do have very high startup surges and much lower operating amps comparatively.

As for your fridge only showing 95 watts, don’t assume thats inaccurate either - some very efficient models could be entirely in that wattage range - our LG fridge for example uses between 80-90w when it’s running.

If you have a chest freezer somewhere it could also be that - ours uses ~100w when it’s running.

I think a key thing to keep in mind in your first weeks with Sense is to trust it. As you are seeing here and in your other thread, it’s smarter than you may think it is. Give it time.

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#5

I know you are correct about the low wattage for the freezer as it
was detected separately at about 95 watts. It surprised me to be
that low even though its the smaller size chest freezer.
The fridge I’m watching for now and I have not read the UL tag
specs or tested it with the kill-a-watt as I have done with the little
freezer. I don’t believe all of the fridge is showing up as “fridge”
yet as there are 12 different electrical components to it. It detected
the fridge and is accurate with on off and runtime. I assume its picking
up the compressor fan or the compressor is very efficient as you have said.
I had 4 more detections today and a couple were things coming on for a very
short time. They could be part of the fridge or something else.
I haven read the label or used the kill-a-watt because it’s a huge fridge and
I cannot easily get to the back of it. My cabinetry wraps around all sides of it.
I’ll probably see if I can get the specs from Frigidaires site.

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#6

There are many detectable components of a fridge - the compressor is only one. If it has an ice maker the heating element to release the cubes can show up as a separate device. Interior lighting, exterior lighting (nightlight in ice maker dispenser), heated door gaskets, defrost cycle, etc etc etc.

On a different note, your detection is nothing short of astounding. I can’t say I’m not horribly jealous. I’ve been a Sense user for quite a few months now and don’t have as many detections as you’ve got inside a week or so.

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#7

I am also shocked at the number of detections and I feel a little
guilty like I’m riding everyones coattails, It feels and appears unfair.
If I’m doing or not doing something to help it along, I wish I could
tell everyone what it is. As of now there are so many that I Don’t
have identified that it gives me something to do trying to figure it
out.
I think the new “heat 5” is the ice maker defroster as it runs for 5 seconds
every now and then. I haven’t been within earshot when I’ve seen it on the
timeline yet and by the time I get an alert, it’s already finished.
I did put up a post about what I thought I may be doing differently. When we
first installed we ran around tuning off everything we could to save power. We
quickly went back to leaving everything the way it was before sense for at least
a month thinking that everything running and cycling might speed things up. Is
it working? I don’t know but I’m sure not changing anything yet.

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#8

My big fridges spike at around 800W when starting, but run at somewhere between 80W and 100W depending on which unit.

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