Give sense a different learning ability to give a homeowner better insight into climate control vs use

In order to explain this better I’ll paint the picture of what may be a typical install (which it probably is in my neck of the woods).

Home has a dehumidifier in the basement and single zone HVAC as well as ceiling fans throughout. All powered on through typical hot/cold dry/humid seasons (Wisconsin, for me). I don’t really know how much money my dehumidifier in my basement saves me vs running my AC a degree cooler, if any. How about having my HVAC fan circulate air more often from the cool basement vs just running ceiling fans?

I think it would be nice to get these sort of homeowner suggestions if sense knew a little more from my setup.

If sense had the programming to glean some info from my smart thermostat or maybe just know the setpoint of my dehumidifier which I could tell it, pull ambient outside temp, humidity, maybe even pull the forecast and tell me the optimum time to tweak settings on one or the other to keep things comfortable as efficiently as possible.

I would bet this is a long shot, of course, as far as feature requests go. Consider if you really want to show someone ROI on a product you could put real numbers to it instead of just having sense be a passive tool. I hate to say it but sense could monetize on this separately as a subscription service which users may subscribe to after a trial period or something. I certainly would subscribe to it for a year for a few bucks especially if it would tell me how to run my home closer to efficient for those large loads.

I would expect to see homeowner tips like:
“increasing the fan speed of your main room ceiling fan may circulate air better during the day instead of running the HVAC fan.”
"A great wave will hit today
“Setting your furnace one degree warmer may decrease humidity enough for your dehumidifier to not run and would be about the same cost but more comfortable in December-March.”
“Feeding your dog a diet lower in fiber will make him move more often during the day.” (I kid, I kid)

Just an idea… I’m sure this level of learning is a long shot so don’t get too critical. Honestly though if I put this data into a spreadsheet vs time I could find the most efficient way to keep a temperature on a certain forecasted day. It’s learning all of this automatically for thousands of different configurations and making meaningful suggestions that is the real secret sauce.


I’m assuming you meant heat wave, but all I can picture is:

Thanks for all the detail here. We’re currently doing a lot of thinking along these lines. I’ll forward this over to the Product team.

Some of what you suggest is relatively easy to implement with Sense as one (probably the main) component in your “Energy Control Cloud” using something like IFTTT as an integrator but I understand your query regarding the intelligence aspects.

Sense ML is based necessarily on training from the electrical signal dataset and direct integration with other sensors & systems & datasets would, I believe, take the Sense team “off message”, away from the core capabilities.

A good example of this is Smart Plugs. Many (including myself) have argued that Sense should make its own Smart Plug. Why not? At first take it seems like an obvious next step but the fact is other companies make them and they have been integrated into Sense in such a way that for a small company it makes little sense to be distracted by making “little Senses”. Moving on from that “obvious” product, it’s easy to extrapolate to it being even more of a challenge to directly integrate other pre-existing datasets. Meanwhile the integration of Smart Plugs; HUEs and so on is happening gradually and with each step Sense’s capabilities expand.

As @RyanAtSense points out, Sense seems to be constantly re-thinking the Sense UI (and backend) methods in a way to enhance the integrations and where possible incorporating native intelligence. Case in point: the newly-released “Home Details” addition –

You will be reassured to know that Sense added this (it seems) based on feedback from the Community … a lot of us talked about something like that. The device list details will feedback to the ML and help with the detection and alerting possibilities. I think they will also carefully consider the Heating/Cooling/Water device categories AND consequently the interplay of these with overall energy use and their control & integration. Something I pointed out in response to the v27 release was along the lines of what I believe you are thinking. Essentially it’s taking the device disaggregation and then an intelligent re-aggregation of the energy signatures (& use) to optimize control. With the right external hooks (via IFTTT or whatever) it will enable more intelligent suggestions/controls/alerts. When you throw solar and EVs and batteries into the mix, btw, it starts to become really fun.

After some time on the Community and using Sense I start to understand that the arc of a product like this is (necessarily) a slow progressive build of features. What wasn’t immediately clear to me was that this is actually an obvious outcome of a ML-based system (or humans for that matter): Sense needs more data to learn and needs to grow to get more data; conversely, Sense (Humans) cannot outgrow the data (food).

I found this AskSense particularly enlightening (around 6:09)

1 Like

There are other natural smart devices and clouds for this as well. Ecobee thermostats know a whole heck of a lot about the local weather, temp and humidity measurements throughout your house, plus how long all the different components are running - fan, heating, cooling.

1 Like

Good point.

And if I can guess @BeeRad’s thought process here I would pre-empt concepts of a/the meta-smart device and say that for a good while it has been and will remain yourself.

I know this was a post about a feature request, but I’ll give a brief answer about your dehumidifier question. There’s a lot of variables that can affect the answer, but in general the dehumidifier will add heat into your home. It does that by moving the heat from the water vapor into the dry air. Your air conditioner will then have to remove that heat from inside of your house to outside of your house. All things being equal, if you want your entire house to be the same temperature and humidity, using the air conditioner by itself is probably the best idea. The dehumidifier will actually work against you and add extra heat into your home equaling the amount of electricity it consumes.