My 1 month review

Installed Sense about a month ago on Oct 19th. Been reading the forums for about half a year prior.
Having a good idea what to expect, honestly I’m quite surprised at how well it works, with the exception of the server issues Sense had. There are a few things that could use some improvement which make it more user friendly and provide a better user experience, most of that has been covered elsewhere.

As far as my setup. House is about 1800sq ft + finished basement, split/hillside ranch (1 story front, 2 back) built in the 1950’s by a rather odd electrician. Most of the lighting was controlled by old Remcon low voltage switching with extra switches in strange locations. About 6 years ago I completely gutted the lower level and remodeled including a new subpanel, wiring and everything down the line. 5yrs ago the service mains needed to be replaced so we switched from above to below ground with new meter and main panel. Had planed on remodeling upper level but that’s on an indefinite hold as my mother who lives with us has Alzheimer’s disease and any change at this point would be too confusing. Which brings me to one of the reasons for installing Sense. Notifications when something has been turned on, or on too long like the stove or microwave, as an additional layer of safety.

So far in the month since installing Sense it has detected 16 devices. A bunch a were not detected completely accurately, but 16 devices is more then I had expected. For the most part I have been able to figure them out.

1st device detected was 3 days in labeled coffee maker, turns out it was an aquarium heater. Quite a few devices followed with the most recent motor device detected yesterday which is my dryer motor.

The devices detected, I have labeled as:
Aquarium heater 1
Aquarium heater 2
Coffee Maker (kitchen)
Dehumidifier 1
Dryer
Electric Blanket
Furnace (induction motor)
Kitchen Fridge (compressor)
Laser Printer and Keurig (Sense can’t tell them apart)
Living Room recessed lights
Microwave
Motor 1 (unknown)
Oven (bake element)
Stove (large burner)
Stove (small burner)
Wine Fridge

My always on is around 700-750w and slowly moving into the other category.
Other is always really high, hopefully Sense can help sort that out and I can bring it down with time.
Trends Compare is a lot higher than similar homes in me area, state, and all homes so I have a lot of work to do.
I do have 4 aquariums a 220 gallon, 65 gallon with 20 gal sump, a 55gallon and a 10 gallon. Combined they use a lot of power.
The recessed lights Sense detected are currently incandescent on a dimmer. After seeing how much power they use I plan on switching them over to LED very soon.
Most other lighting is LED with the exception of my shop where I have florescent tubes as I need bright light with no shadows. I’d love to swap them out to LED too if I could find a great deal on a TON of them.
I might try moving the breaker powering my office to the other leg in the panel to even out the load a bit more which would also put the printer on a different leg than the Keurig.
The most interesting thing I’ve seen in the meter is my MIG welder.
Power quality has had a few dips, mostly during a decent windstorm we had.

Overall I’d say this relationship off to a good start and I’m looking forward to see what the future holds.

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Very curious about the aquariums (I know, wrong forum). Are those salt water / reef, many corals? I was into that few years back, but not anymore as that requires a lot of maintenance. Happy Sense-ing.

A lot of lessons learned and still to be learned about power with those tanks.

The 220 is freshwater. I worked at a restaurant years ago and maintained the tank, it closed and no one else had room or the knowledge so to my home it went. It had some cichlids and 2 blood red parrot fish. Then in 2006 the October storm hit Western New York, we lost power for 3 days, some lost power for over a week. The sole UPS and fireplace wasn’t enough and only the one Parrot and a Pleco survived. Some time later the power briefly went out one night, the next morning I checked the tank and everything was gone. The GFCI had tripped and the UPS wasn’t working.
My other half went out and got a couple fish for the tank. One of them was a 2" baby Pacu. She had no idea how big they got. Now the only thing in the 220 gallon tank is that 24" red bellied Pacu. We’ve gone through numerus heaters over the years as it kept chewing through the heater cords and airline tubing. I’ve since ran everything down inside the tank through florescent light safety covers (clear tube) and haven’t had any problems. 2 500w heaters one set slightly lower then the other as a backup. After installing Sense I realize it turns one and off constantly running for a little over a minute each time and consumes about 6% of my monthly electric use. Sense might also be including the 55 gallon heater into that. The canister filter and air pump use about 40w unsure of the LED lights.

The 55gallon was primarily a fresh water Guppy tank, not many of the guppies left, I think they became a little to inbred over time. The filter and air pump in that tank use about 15w.

The 65 gallon is an in wall salt tank we acquired from someone a couple years ago who had a power issue and lost everything before a planned move and they couldn’t take t with them so they gave it to use for free. Can’t beat free as live rock isn’t cheap. We had to replace most of the equipment as it was older. It adds up real quick with the less expensive options. I’d be bankrupt had we gone with the top of the line equipment. I have one 300w heater in the sump and another set slightly higher in the tank itself, both on a temperature controller as an additional failsafe. Sense tells me it consumes about 3% of my monthly use. I have 2 UPS’s on that tank one backup for the return pump, lights, and powerhead. Mainly to keep the time and prevent wear on the pumps when the power flickers. The other UPS powering the wavemaker, ATO, and filter for 10 gallon tank.
I have a pair of mated clowns, no success with any fry, purple firefish, had a 2nd but it got crushed when it’s cave collapsed. Starry Blenny died of old age and a Mandarin who survived 3 years. A cleaner shrimp and various snails.
Started with one BTA which has split into 4. have a couple rock anemones, gorgonians, a nice leather and some various other frags. Most everything came from local frag swaps.
I’ve been dealing with a bad outbreak of GHA for a little over a year which I think I’ve finally gotten under control. Such a PITA as nothing has seemed to work all that well.
The 10 gallon is somewhat a quarantine tank, but had seemingly morphed into a small office tank, no fish now, just a couple frags and a ton of GSP.
Maintenance is defiantly key with any salt water setup, constant testing, adjusting parameters, etc… Defiantly not a hobby for someone with little time, dedication or patience. The slightest changes to anything has huge effects. It makes you feel like some sort of mad scientist.

The power here is pretty good, we don’t often loose it for any extended periods of time, but we are known for getting once in a lifetime storms. By lifetime I think they go by all 9 lives of a cat’s life. I now check, test and replace my UPS batteries regularly and have a portable generator for longer outages. When the power goes out the UPS alarms go off, multiple smart outlets alert me and now Sense.

I’d love to figure out a way to heat the tanks more efficiently, but I’m not really sure there is. Once I’m a bit further into Sense, I plan on figuring out a way to better analyze the data and possibly finding and implementing other tools and sensors to look for a correlation between temperature of the house and temperature of the tanks to determine if keeping the house slightly warmer in winter either with the furnace or by using the wood burning insert more often would help cut back on the energy required to heat the tanks. We don’t have AC, in the summer I have had to put fans near the tanks to keep the temp down, so I know there will be a direct effect.
How to maximize over efficiency is certainly going to be a task I know very little about but I’m willing to learn. Just wish there was some existing tools I could use as neither math nor date manipulation are my strong suits. More of a jack of all trades master of none.

Thank you for the very detailed answer, and for the wonderful memories. I tried multiple tanks but ultimately the one I kept the longest was a 72G Bowfront. Was full of fish, LPS, and soft corals. Maintenance was really ‘painful’, between mixing fresh water, water changes, vacuuming the sand etc … still by the end of the day, when the tank and everything was clean, it was very rewarding to sit and watch. Like many, I got into the hobby when the movie ‘finding Nemo’ came out (~2004). Everyone back then wanted their own Ocellaris pair. Then, there was all the craze with Australian ACANs and SPS with mesmerizing colors. Too bad the hobby has dwindled quite a bit since its peak, in ~2007/8. Enjoy, it’s a very ‘relaxing/rewarding’ hobby.

Wow @obscuredtrip, 16 devices in a month is pretty darn impressive… I have also had mine connected for a month (installed on the evening of 10/17/2020) and I have had only 7 devices detected and just under half of those are components of my refrigerator!!!

Here are the 7 devices that have been detected:

  • Refrigerator Compressor
  • Refrigerator Defroster
  • Refrigerator Door Light
  • Coffee Maker - The real one that I actually use and have confirmed
  • Coffee Maker - A phantom device that has not turned on since around the time it was discovered. I leave it on my account in case it ever turns on again, but I am thinking about deleting this one and “throwing it back in the ocean” for either permanent deletion or re-discovery
  • Paper Shredder
  • Garage Door Opener

Yeah, Zoa’s were the big thing a couple years ago, now it’s Euphyllia. The prices for many coral is ridiculous. What was once a $10 frag is now hundreds because someone stuck a fancy name on it. I could care less about the latest fad, I just want something I can keep alive. The hobby is pretty big in this area with a handful of decent local shops.
Rewarding indeed when things go right.

It’s interesting how device detection varies so much from person to person. Heat and Motors seems to be the quickest to detect.
I’m surprised Sense detected my furnace induction motor but not my blower motor. I’ve used the blower fan setting much more often. Still hasn’t detected my mini bar fridge, shredder, garage door opener and a few other devices. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time.
I think what may have helped is I went around one day and turned breakers off then back on one by one. Then turned them all off (with the exception of Sense and my router) and turned them back on one by one. After that my “always on” went way down and “other” went up. Possibly hinting to the AI, hey look at this.

Not all motors are the same when it comes to Sense detection. Variable speed AC motors and DC motors are far more difficult to detect. Variable speed AC motors typically use electronics to modulate the speed (i.e. variable speed furnace blower motors). Electronics and possibly a battery buffer DC motors (i.e. garage door openers with battery backup). The electronics hide the actual motor on and off as well as motor-like characteristics.

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