Love Sense but I am disappointed in Device Detection

Sense can’t distinguish my A/C, my spa pump and my irrigation pump. Sense used to provide the option to tell it that the device isn’t actually on but that took that ‘feature’ away since it was apparently not doing anything.

It’s even more frustrating because I have an Ecobee thermostat and had the integration turned on so one would think Sense would know exactly when my A/C is running but according to tech support the data received from Ecobee does nothing for your detection and they are just collecting out data.

I’ve all but giving up on Sense at this point

Same here. I have Sense for several years now. Some devices that were detected before are no longer detected. I am currently on Pump 6, AC4 and Heat 5. I have no idea what those devices are. They might come ON randomly or not at all. I replaced my fridge, its been 7 month now and new fridge is not detected yet. None of my TVs have been detected. It detected pool pump, but then it is not shown ON when it is working. Instead it is shown in the Other section.

One of the Sense’s selling points is to help you identify and reduce power usage. The way it has been working I have no idea what is working on a date to date bases.

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Also my experience. Pretty useless, overall, and I certainly do not love it. But I spent a lot, so I’ve left it running.

I had very accurate monitoring of my overall use and solar generation with my WelServer system, including lots that Sense never claimed to provide (like temperatures all through my home, circuit by circuit on/off, etc), and I bought Sense based on a This Old House show that claimed it could provide detailed consumption monitoring. That turned out to be seriously incorrect, which TOH later admitted to completely mistating.

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Another long-term user with the same experiences. Had high hopes, but after several years and multiple instances of the same devices, I’ve honestly only pulled up Sense a handful of times in the past year. And that was mostly to see if it magically started working better with device detection…sadly my Other bubble just seems to be getting bigger as it has “forgotten” some devices. At this point, for me, the only useful feature is real-time monitoring when I install something new in the house. Still would love for this to work as advertised, but time has dashed my expectations of it being anything more than an energy monitor at this point. Other companies are understanding that per-circuit monitoring/control is a lot easier goal to reach.

Unfortunately. Yes indeed. My experience also. The reality lags the wild claims substantially. Very difficult problem, of course, so it’s understandable why they have failed so badly. But shouldn’t have made such claims.

I see comments like these occasionally (Amazon reviews, etc) and it just makes me wonder what’s different from user to user… I’ve had Sense for a few months and it has located:

GE Geospring Water Heater heat pump
GE Geospring Water Heater electric element
Almost every bit of our main fridge (Compressor, water dispenser, ice dispense, ice cube flipper, heater that warms the cubes before flipping)
Most bits of our “drink fridge”
Ninja Oven
Coffee Maker
Instant Pot
Baby bottle warmer
1 of 2 pool pumps (found single speed booster pump, but not variable speed main pump)
2 bathroom exhaust fans
2 bathroom heaters
small undersink hot water heater
Laser Printer
Elevation motor on NordicTrack bike
Top portion of dual oven (we almost never use bottom portion)
3 of 7 heating zones on the stovetop (I’m not even sure we have used the others)

I have the following items on smart plugs because they haven’t been detected: Samsung tv, Network tech (router, modem, etc), 2 different desks, Milwaukee tool chest

I have the following on smart plugs even though they were detected: Ninja over, washer, main fridge, drink fridge

I have flex sensors on the pool pump circuit (2 pumps, timer, etc) and the variable speed hvac. Admittedly, if the flex sensors weren’t available, it would bother me that it hasn’t detected the primary pool pump or any of the hvac.

Anyways, I would definitely be frustrated if everything was showing in my other bubble, so I get it. I’m wondering if the people with detection issues just have more going on that I do and maybe it’s easier for Sense to detect things when the power use is relatively quiet.



@MattL, you ask a good question - what causes the big YMMV (your mileage may vary) effect with Sense ? In my mind it is 3 things:

  • Device Type Detectability - There’s no getting around the fact that Sense is good at detecting some types of devices and poor with others, just because of way it does detection based on transitions (mostly). Many devices kick out clear, consistent on and off transitions, while many others don’t. I have tried to put together a very incomplete list here.

  • Device Type Noise - But even if most of your house is producing crisp and clear transitions, a single large usage device that is continuously kicking out lots of random transitions of different sizes has the potential to obfuscate all the other transitions. I think one of @andy 's pumps has been identified as “noisy” which has to be horribly frustrating. In a similar way, a house with too many transitions from actual on off cycles may also reduce native detection because it is too difficult to isolate individual devices. More on native detection requirements here.

  • Expectations - I’m an electrical engineer so I entered my Sense experience with a reasonably good idea of how Sense operated and what it’s limitations might be, regardless of Sense’s early marketing. I didn’t expect Sense to detect consumer electronics and was willing to put undetected large-usage devices onto smartplugs.

So far I’m seeing reasonable and useful results, especially with the smart plug integration, though I can understand why others are not as satisfied.


Man, it has been so long since something has been detected by my Sense… I forgot auto-detect of devices was even a feature!!! It took me revisiting this thread to remind me of this fact…

Just to explain a bit, Sense engineering says that our deep well constant pressure, variable speed, 3 phase 400 hz, pump confuses Sense, and the power waveforms it generates (in the power converter actually, not the pump itself) creates a “noisy” power environment that makes it difficult/impossible for Sense to detect other devices that it might otherwise find. Since the pump drives not only our domestic use but our geothermal heatpump that provides heating/cooling/hot water, the pump runs at various speeds (e.g. pressures) pretty frequently.

Other than getting rid of the pump and switching to a MUCH less capable system, we’re pretty much out of luck. Since we already had a WELserver system monitoring total power, solar, major device on/off, and about 40 temperature nodes, we only bought Sense to provide the claimed device by device tracking…something it fails at for many kinds of devices and fails entirely in our home. Experiment gone wrong.

BTW, Sense’s power and solar tracking are VERY accurate, matching closely our calibrated WELserver and the power company’s revenue grade meters within about ½%.

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In your case @andy I guess I would suffer the consequences of a noisy device in favor of the other benefits of Sense but I’d also be really tempted to run the pump phases (wires) backward through the matched Main CTs to see if the negated noisy current could be “removed” and free up Sense to see your other devices. Of course that would screw with your overall power tracking and is likely not easy to wangle in your electrical panel.

I think we’ve discussed this before but your case also makes me wonder if Flex CT signals on a noisy device can be subtracted-fast-enough from the Mains signals to allow the local processing algo to do its thing.

And a question for all you EEs … which method has the potential to generate the cleanest signal?

Just out of curiosity, would a signature softener like Micro-air Easystart help?

I am a newer sense owner ( going on 9 months now ). I too am incredibly dissapointed in the device detection. So far it has discovered 6 devices. All were discovered within the first week and none since. The usage over the course of the days and months are accurate, but everything is just in the “Other” category.

Is there something I am supposed to be doing? I wish I could manually add devices and have it register them. I mean I know I can add devices as I have done that in the app, but they don’t actually come up in the metering, they just happen to be around. It’s quite confusing to be honest.

Take a look at the list of Likely Detection and Unlikely to Detect in this posting.

Do you have home devices in the Likely part that aren’t showing up. Or are most of the devices you are hoping to see in the Unlikely list ?

A mix of both. Most items are on the Likely list though. I guess there is not much of an option other than waiting a bit more or doing a bit more work to figure out how to pinpoint devices that are otherwise lumped into the “Always On” or the “Other” category.

I try to be understanding, but maybe it was a miscalculation on my part regarding what to expect. Detecting electronics and things of that nature can’t be easy at all, but I think I was expecting more. The system is definitely helpful but being seemingly unable to manually identify devices is a bit of a letdown, especially if so many items would be less likely discovered.

Is there an official list anywhere of Likely and Unlikely device types when it comes to detection?


It would be interesting to hear the items on the Likely list that Sense hasn’t detected yet.

Sense doesn’t publish a Likely / Unlikely list, partially because it changes over time and partially I’m guessing because they don’t want to paint a big bullseye on their weaknesses especially if they one day hope to improve with something like progressive detection.

One bit of explanation - Sense made an early decision that they wanted to do immediate detection, where the the bubble pops up within a second or two of the device turning on. That decision limited their detection to devices that have a very clear, and distinct half second on and off transition. Unfortunately many devices in the Unlikely category do not have clear single on/off transitions. You suggest that electronics might be hard - quite honestly, with the immediate detection constraint, it’s impossible. My 2c is that smart plugs are a good addition for large usage electronics and electrically controlled motors, if you want to trac their usage. The Kasa integration is pretty good and the KP115 plugs can be found fairly cheaply.


This is actually very helpful. I am generally ok with making use of other smart devices. Lately however I have been reevaluating how many of them I really want to deal with. I have gone through and planned out how I want my home to function as far as connected electronics go and one of the main items I was looking to get from the sense is a reliable map of what appliances are using how much power since they are generally the power hungry ones, but unfortunately they are the exact items that do not show up with the sense, so I have had to make adjustments. Not the end of the world, but still a little dissapointing.

For smart devices, I have mostly shifted to using z-wave or zigbee switches so I can cut down on wifi enabled items so I might look for some plugs in that category and see if I can get the power monitoring to play nicely.

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My 2c,
You might prefer Zigbee, but I found that Sense plus 1-2 Traveller Kasa KP115s were perfect for doing what you describe - assessing power usage of most of the appliances and consumer electronics devices in my house. You can learn a lot from putting each device on a KP115 for 48 hours.

  • Time history of big variable power users through different modes. Lots of examples of what smartplugs can do in the Community Device Library, all supplied by various users.
  • Always On behavior, especially for more stable usage devices. Sense automatically calculates the Always On energy usage for devices that are on a smartplug for more than 24 hours.

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Wondering if the Sense team has looked into a Hub with wireless sensors that be used on devices and subpanels. Seems like it would solve much of what has been asked about device fidelity and multi Sense monitors around large homes.

This makes a lot of sense. Might be worth a try. Are you getting these readings through an integration or is it simply from using the Kasa KP115? It might be a silly question, but I figure if I could use the plug without connecting it to wifi that would be cool. I don’t see how that would at all be possible but I don’t mind asking silly questions just in case.


The KP115 is connected to the local LAN via WiFi and the Sense TP-Link Integration is turned on. Sense sales data from the KP115 every 2 seconds giving you device info including the Always On data. But you get a full time history of usage as well.