Does any of this make "Sense"

I have been working for over two decades to save money in my home. One of the ongoing issues has been electricity. I was one of the first users of Google Power Meter system. That was eye-opening. Not a lot we could do back then. I the years past that we have had several appliance upgrades, 90% LED conversion. Desktops to laptops, and much more.

Two weeks ago I moved off of ComEd real time pricing as the base per min cost had risen above the normal cost. Where I had been saving around 30% a month we went to -15% in three months. COVID? Natural Gas speaker? PJM integrations? I do not know all of the causes.

I needed a better direct monitor of power use. Sense seems to be a part of that. So three days ago I ordered and installed the hardware. The discovery process seems interesting. Reading here indicates a lot of variability in the AI’s ability to figure stuff out. I also feel that the designers could help them selves out by letting users tell them what is on and off! I can see it on the graph, I know what it is. I can help!

There is a lot of discussion around there for using SmartPlugs, etc. I have three models that integrate with HomeKit. They are helping me with understanding what devices are drawing. OF Course a Kill-A-Watt would do the same thing.

I have setup two Kasa devices on my Freezer and Fridge and will see about letting the folks at Sense monitor them to help. While this good for the community, I think there is a LOT of risk putting internet connected switches on critial infrastructure like your freezer. Pretty eays for that voice assistant to turn it off! or a fat finger on a touch screen.

Relying on devices that are vampire power seems to be counter to the primary goal here. Use less, train users to turn stuff off, Save the Planet.

I used to have a couple of power strips with remote switches I could leave on the desktop to shut off all that gear around the computer. Trying to find more of them. Any sources?

Does it really matter what your laptop draws, it will go to sleep? HomePod is about 2 watts on standby, HomePod Mini is about .3 watts!

Does that Raspberry Pi music server drawing 7 watts need to be on all the time, or can just turn it on when needed? Putting a remote switch that draws 1 to 2 watts seems to be working against my goals.

Just a few random thoughts. I will start talking about savings in a couple of days, I had to get this out here. I have dropped from 315 always on to 238 with a couple of changes that were easy. One was a desktop gaming machine that was not sleeping.


1 Like


First of all welcome! Let’s get into it

This is probably one of the most common questions/complaints. There’s good reason that Sense doesn’t allow this and probably never will. I won’t go through everything in detail because we’ve documented it various times. Here’s a good read for you on that: Why can't you train Sense?

You can connect these devices without integrating them into assistants and you can also disable the power control function on them within Sense. This would prevent them from being turned off unless you went into the Kasa app and manually turned them off or if you hit the button on the plug. For most Freezers and such the plug is in a remote area, so hitting it shouldn’t be likely. If you have something like Home Assistant (HA) you can make rules to automatically turn on a plug that was turned off for critical infrastructure.

Kasa makes a power strip as well. I have mine integrated with Home Assistant and when the PC power drops below “on” levels it turns off the 4 connected monitors and lighting at the desk. I would suggest you take a look at the Kasa strips.

I guess that depends on how often you listen to music!

Again welcome to Sense and if you have any questions please be sure to let us know. There’s a lot of people who have great solutions to many different challenges!

1 Like


That is why I have put a schedule in the kasa app to turn on my critical items 4 x per day eg my fridge/freezer combo in the kitchen:

For the few home automation things I use, I try to put the automation in the native control. The Velux Blinds use the Velux app. The Hue Lights use the hue app for automation. This seems like a good idea.

Thanks all.

Isn’t that the equivalent of using a different computer for every program :man_shrugging:t3:

Certainly not the direction these devices are heading.

BTW, first thing I did in Sense was turned off the ability to turn the critical outlets off/on remotely so fat fingers could not make that mistake.

Even so, HomePod has a MasterSwitch that I hit and turned off all 27 switches at once this afternoon (including Router, WiFi, Hub, ONT as well as Refrigerators and Freezers). I had to make a mad dash to turn on the ONT/Router/Hub/WiFi to get everything back on.

Sense’s design is much more Sensible than Apple’s Approach for this reason.

Electricity rates and billing plans can be all over the place. An immense pain to decipher.
We don’t have the option for residential TOU pricing. Our bills are the daily rate averaged over the billing cycle which can range anywhere from 24-34 days depending on when they read our meter every two months. Every other month our bill is estimated. It only gets more complicated from there, with delivery (cost to get it to you) charges per KWH being more than the per KWH service (cost to generate it) charges. We have the ability to choose an alternative supplier for the service portion, who can charge the same KWH and guarantee lower bills because that portion no longer taxed and feed the same. That’s the government for ya…

Device detection is hit or miss… Ya never really know what you will get. The screaming room analogy. Why can't you train Sense?

Sense integrations are limited due to the very detailed level of reporting required to be accurate enough as to not screw other things up.
Training Sense is a never ending debate you could spend days reading about.

You can disable control from the Sense app. That doesn’t disable control from other voice assistants. You could remove them from the voice assistant or you could rename them to something you would never say. The fat finger risk still exists, I don’t think the mfgs app developers intended on them being used not as a switch but a dedicated power monitoring device for critical loads. It’s a risk only you can decide.

Kasa HS300’s are the only integratable power strips, they allow control and power monitoring of each individual outlet. Each outlet functions as it’s own smart plug.

I think my setup might be more along the lines of what you are trying to accomplish. It’s called an “advanced power strip”. My utility regularly sells this one for $7
I have my computer plugged into the control outlet, monitors, etc… into the switched outlets. When the computer turns off it turns them off.
You could use a single outlet plug such as a KP125 to monitor the consumption and to act as the (remote)
I have the power strip plugged into one of the outlets of a HS300 as I have a bunch of other stuff to control and monitor right there.

A small draw here & there is no big deal. Most people don’t truly realize how many they have and they can add up pretty quick. That’s what’s great about Sense. Once you identify the larger loads you’ll have a much better idea of all the smaller loads at any given time.

Your already learning about your home. Sense is that tool.

1 Like

A lot time ago I read a book that might interest folks here:

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert Heinlein.

In the book a compture “wakes up” that computer controls everything on the moon. Doors, lights, water, air, transport, money. EVERYHING. In the end the computer
“dies” and nothing works!

I am having a hard time using smart plugs everywhere, but I do understand the control you get from it.

I have had Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, fail in various ways over time. Alexa is no longer part of my home. Siri is slowly eroding and Google is still hanging in there.

There are competing forces here. I am going to remove the KASA devices from Siri so I cannot f-that-up.

I need to understand the value of having a KASA on devices on the freezer. What does that config help with? In Sense?

Let me flip the question on to you? What value do you get by having the Kasa plug on the freezer? As I just posted on another one of your threads Sense doesn’t get value from it at all. So we can eliminate that as a reason to do so.

The Kasa plugs are to help you understand the usage. So if you don’t get value from it, or if it helped you determine what a device was in Sense, or if you used it like a Kill-A-Watt, all of those things helped you. If you’ve accomplished those tasks with the freezer, take the Kasa and move it to the next problematic device.

These tools help you understand your energy usage. Don’t think of the Kasa as an aid to Sense, think of it as an aid to you or your automations.

1 Like

Big difference and you obviously missed point of my post.

In fact I even noted about an Apple HomeKit incident yesterday similar to what you describe.

As noted, I had to manually walk to 2 places and turn on 3 devices manually. No big deal. If it happened remotely, yes, it would be a pain.

It’s no different than if your router went out and you could not use your multiple individual apps to control the devices.

Likewise, if the main house circuit breaker went out, you would also be in the same situation.

You answer your own question here:

Sounds like a very interesting read, way ahead of the times. Will have to look for an audiobook version sometime.

There always is.
A lot of people into home automation and and smart devices in general love Home Assistant as it’s based locally as where most every other platform is based in the cloud and requires a stable internet connection. At the same time many (a lot) of the optional integrations require the cloud. Some devices can be be re-flashed to work locally. It has quite a steep learning curve making it difficult for many like myself. Sense obviously requires the internet.

Imagine the worldly chaos if Amazon shut off Alexa. IMO people depend on all these types of devices entirely too much. Take a cell phone away from a teenager and they would likely be completely lost in the world.

I’m not big into automation, knowlage I am therefore I think of smart plugs as another specialty tool in the toolbox. While not required, they can certainly make things a lot easier to understand.

Weather you want the information smart plugs can provide at any given moment, such as to know of any sudden or unexpected spike or drop in use indicating a potential problem with the device, use them temporarily similar to a Kill-A-watt and make notes of how much a device really consumes to get a better idea of power hogs and compare that to Sense, or not use them at all is entirely up to you. Generally most people will move a plug to another device when and if Sense discovers a device in it’s entirety if they are not using it as a switch.