How Do I Add My More Esoteric Devices to Home Inventory ? Will That Help Detection?

I am a nerd (retired scientist) going off fossil fuels and want to look at efficiency. I installed sense yesterday because I just added a hydronic heater loop in my garage. It is heated by my previously over-sized heat pump. The garage was previously heated by a space heater. I suspect that the hydronic loop is not really more efficient than the cheap space heater, but it does provide some additional benefits.
I have a lot of electricity in my house, but the Sense monitor is only installed in one of three panels. It’s an important panel, however because it has the solar feed and feeds the heat pump, induction range, tankless water heater, and “clean air furnace”. It also has a few devices that are unusual because I live in a rural area and therefore need to supply my own water. It has a UV sterilizer for my water system, and a constant pressure pump for household water supply. It also has a separate pump that pumps rainwater and snowmelt from roof catchment into storage tanks. I would love to tell the sense monitor about these unusual items, and that common items such as my refrigerator, washer and dryer, dishwasher and EV chargers are on other panels. However, device inventory does not allow me to save anything. I wonder if it is even used anymore?

Welcome @mbgracz ,
Lots of interesting devices there. It will be interesting to see which ones Sense picks up. Traditionally they weren’t so great on variable speed motors, even large ones, but they have been working hard on HVAC, including heat pumps.

You’re asking a good question. Right now, the Home Inventory is primarily used by Sense (AFAIK) to survey the user base so they know which devices are most popular and so if they need to take aim at specific new detection models, they know where to look for data. You’ll find that once you have a new detection, you’ll need to re-enter similar information (device name, make, model, and location) if you want that info associated with the detected device - No picking out of the Home Inventory list today. And Sense is not using this (today) as the list of devices it should be looking for, so

As for what to do with your devices that don’t fits - I would suggest plugging them in as best you can into the inventory, under the general categories where they fit.

Interesting, thanks. Detection from a known small list would seem more efficient than from the list of all possibilities, but I suppose that if the wave characters of the known list are undefined…?

BTW there is a Nest learning thermostat connected to the house side of the HVAC. There is a second (basic) Nest thermostat connected to the garage hydronic system, which is run by the same geothermal heat pump (Waterless(R) - refrigerant loops). Google apparently is a poor partner, that’s probably why its not integrated with Sense. Ecobee appears to be a better choice if a user wishes to play with others.

There are also three ECM circulation pumps: two circulating each side of a heat exchanger for the hydronic loops and one for the forced-air house heat circulating through the heat exchanger in the clean air furnace, which has its own ECM fan. Does this sort of information help you?

@mbgracz, I’m not a Sense employee so I can’t give you answers on the last bit. But I can tell you a few things as a long term user who volunteers to help on community:

  • Finding on/off patterns isn’t a simple as looking them up in some kind of Sense dictionary of power patterns for a few reasons listed below. So there isn’t really a way to shortlist based on what’s in your house. Why no pattern dictionary ?
    • On/Off patterns, even for the same make/model of devices look different in different homes due to noise effects in the house, variations in devices and in use patterns.
    • A nearly infinite number of make/model combinations, that may also vary over time. Sense focuses in on more generic device types (except when it comes to EVs which have highly specific patterns that have much longer on/off ramps than typical devices)
    • On/Off patterns are also clouded by other devices that operate nearly in the same “ranges”, thus Sense must first look for uniqueness and then for a matching off, before trying to figure out what it is.
  • On Nest / Ecobee - Sense once had a Nest integration, but Google’s move to a whole different API took that off the table.
    • I was an early Nest enthusiast who transitioned a bunch of thermostats to Ecobees when Google removed many of their data access features.
    • The Sense Ecobee Integration doesn’t directly lead to on/off detection - on of the limiting factors is that Ecobee only allows sampling of status every 5 minutes, vs Sense instantaneous bubbles. But Sense uses the data to improve their detection.
    • I have some very simple single-stage heating and cooling, so I’m not sure how much my Ecobees have helped, but Sense is quite good with native detection of my AC compressors.

ps: Given all the pumps and other hardware you have, be prepared for Sense to detect individual components, one at a time. And be prepared for Sense to more quickly find the on/off of single speed motors much more quickly than variable speed.

thanks a lot, this is very helpful.

Mike

Welcome again to the forum, Mike. When you said you had a constant pressure water pump, it reminded me of the thread quoted below. I just wanted to warn you that Sense may have trouble identifying your devices as it did for Andy.

I wonder if, given my primary interest is the heat pump compressor, I simply clamped the inductive sensors around the legs of that circuit instead of the main legs, would the monitor figure out that it was only attached to one device?

Interesting. Hopefully my pump, a grundfos, won’t be so noisy. It does less work, being in the basement, it does not need to lift very high compared to a well. It’s 125v too, I’m assuming thay Andy’s is 250?

Nope - Sense always assumes the main sensors are on the mains. But the second set is configurable for solar OR some kinds of generators OR a second set of mains (400A with a branch) OR 1 or 2 circuits (varying configurations of 240V and 120V). That last usage is called DCM, direct circuit measurement. I bought a second Sense where I use the second pair of sensors / CTs to watch two 240V circuits (EV charger and Floor Heater sub panel), because my main Sense unit is configured with the second set of sensors for solar. Unfortunately, because Sense expects the the primary CTs/sensors to always be the mains, I can’t use them the same ways and had to commit them to my mains as well. But I get a lot of utility out of my so-called Second Sense, because I can combine data between it and my primary within Home Assistant (a separate discussion).

One other note - you can use specific Kasa power monitoring smartplugs to monitor 120V plugin devices under 1800W, if Sense can’t detect them. Sense will simply read the power from the smartplug.

Much cheaper alternative than a second Sense. The EP25 is about 10$ per outlet on Amazon right now. (39$ for 4).