Is this an effluent pump?

I have an unusual septic system that uses a regular septic tank for settling, which outlets to a pump tank, from which the effluent is pumped into a force main for the municipal sewer.

Sense has detected a pump that doesn’t match any of the other pumps on my property (solar circulation, irrigation, condensate), and I think it’s the effluent pump. Problem is, the pump runs unpredictably and undetectably. Do these specs match up with what y’all would expect from that?

For future reference, the first place to look for this info would be

Unfortunately, as you’ll see, the Community Device Library is not well propagated yet but it could give you some hints.

As far as working out what you have, if you can post some waveforms of what was detected it will be very helpful.

Yeah, I had tried searching, but it only came up with about five results that didn’t really apply.

Here’s the signature:

And here’s a zoom in on the initial ramp down:

First signature would indicate that Sense is doing some fairly heavy cropping after a couple of minutes in. For the same period in the overall Power Meter are things too noisy to see anything that might help?

Did you compare this signature with the other pump Devices to verify if it’s not a mis-read of those ocassionally? (remembering that just because Sense thinks it’s a device doesn’t mean it is)

What you need I suppose is the spec on your effluent pump.
You look to be about right for a 1/3rd HP pump that runs a little over 5A.

There was a ton of stuff going on just then - 11kW all told. Based on the time of day and the telltale bumps of my wife’s flat iron, that’s the water heater, two AC units, a dehumidifier, the pump, and some other stuff.

At this point I’m pretty sure it’s the effluent pump. But I’m curious, what’s the story behind the clipping? Is that just what it does when it can’t discern the actual usage of the device due to other noise?

I don’t profess to know what Sense’s actual algorithm is doing but essentially, I believe, it has determined that there is a median Device-related consumption and the initial spikes you see on something like a pump is the “easily” extractable signature … the “ON” signal that Sense can detect. When the current drops off at the “OFF” of the device, Sense is looking for a drop to match that median usage. typically that happens quickly.

Most devices aren’t giving constant clues to their presence. The ON/OFF signature is generally the real indicator to Sense, is my understanding. Of course it depends upon the device.

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These pumps are users a lot where I live. They run at random times because it has to do with a float type system that triggers the cycles.
Those here ha e a red light on the ground, on top of the system. This light illuminates when the pump is on. It’s weird looking to see a red light in someone’s yard.

Nice correlation. So your advice to @hhaygood is to watch for fireflies in the garden for an indication that the pump is running? :wink:

@samwooly1, can you speak to the frequency at which the pumps operate? “8 times/month” doesn’t seem like a lot … Sense could of course be missing some/many of the cycles.

The system will run according to usage and the capacity of the initial holding tank. Each home is different and while some run every day, others can go a week before the pump is used.
They are mainly used in what’s called a grinder system. Instead of having 4” or larger sewer lines like used in city sewer, these sewer lines are only 1” out rurally. The tank fills with waste and the grinder/pump grinds everything down to be returned to the treatment plant. Yeah, kind of gross.

  1. Some NYC plumbers, in my experience, like to look for installing value-added grinder toilets in sub-basements (often illegal due to occupancy codes) that sit below sewer lines. “You need one of these!”

  2. At one point local NYC code prohibited sink garbage disposal (grinders) but has since revoked that ban because, apparently, the effluent processing now benefits from the biogas extraction (free energy!)

  3. Toilets get fancier, you need to plug them in for reasons other than grinders.

  4. Combining #1-3 above it seems possible that (at least) Urban toilets may all get grinders one day. Leading to the question: “Do you have a power outlet near your toilet?” and …

  5. Community Question: Does anybody have a TOTO or similar toilet that Sense has detected? Leading to a Sense (@RyanAtSense) question: Will this be a “Major Device” or “Electronics”?

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I can answer Q5 - we have 3 Toto Neorest 600 washlets and did have Sense pick up one of the components of usage. But the Neorest 600 is a complicated beast - at least 3 components:

  1. A heater
  2. A fan
  3. A pump

As I remember it, the pump was the part picked up by Sense. I eventually put all on HS110s, after I bought a couple HS300 for my media centers.


Yikes…although these seem to be no longer available, they were $ 3,500 or so each…and that’s on sale. Unbelievable!

My brother in law purchased a toilet that was $7500, until then, I had no idea they made such a thing.
Interesting the monitor detected these on its own. The last thing I want my personal senses to detect is a toilet.

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If you notice, I haven’t been posting waveforms from those devices… TMI :slight_smile:


Imagine if the monitor was a G@@gle product collecting your patterns. What would the advertisements look like from them?
I’m sure they would find other ways to profit from the data.
In all seriousness, the data junkies would find this particular detection helpful, I know I would from an energy perspective.

Well, now you’ve all got me down the rabbit hole of looking at expensive toilets. There’s a Toto for over $12k! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I suppose it’d depend on the usage somewhat. Any idea what these things pull on average?

Well, yes. But is it energy efficient, and when will Sense engineering focus on detecting it ((-;)?

Since you asked @RyanAtSense :slight_smile:
The heated seat on our Neorest 600s chug along at 18W (medium) when they are on. Toto claims to have “fuzzy logic”, a precursor to neural networks, that is supposed to figure our when the heating should be on and off based on usage, but we just use the Toto timer. The other two functions are just on for short intervals, but spike up into the low hundreds when they turn on.

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Speaking of “fuzzy logic”, I worked in Tokyo (1991-ish) during the heyday of the “fuzzy logic” elevator, rice cooker etc and witnessed the following with amusement:

  • LSI designer (early CCD developer) built a system to
    “Differentiate men & women at the airport”.
    “How the heck can you do that?”, I asked.
    “We track them to the bathrooms!”.

  • An infamous ad on TV at the time had a Neorest lit on a stage; 800lb gorilla walks in and the dialog goes something like “See, even a gorilla can use it!”. Kids wouldn’t use the bathroom for days apparently.