My AC died today

I believe it was the capacitor. I will swap one out ASAP.


Sorry … Fantastic!

So Sense (@RyanAtSense) : I assume this is something, in general, you are really interested in and will go back over the data from @joshuagoettsch’s device. Can you explain how that process works exactly?

Is there any active push to a user along the lines of: “Please can we have your data?”

Contacting Support yesterday I noticed that there is an option for “Allow access to my data forever” vs “Allow access one time”. Please point to documentation or explain how this works and might aid (or cripple) Sense learning in regard to data access for events like “dying AC units”.

1 Like

It was the dual-run capacitor that failed. New one swapped in and everything is working again.


I’m assuming the dual capacitor (compressor and fan) had the compressor side go out. You still had electric being used on the timeline around 500 watts so was the fan still working?

That was the air handler fan. The condenser fan was not running.

The condenser fan and compressor both run off that same double capacitor. It’s usually the compressor capacitor that goes out. As the age of the unit increases, so does the likelihood of a failing capacitor.
You can go up a size on rating for the compressor or use a “hard start” capacitor to get a few more years of life from it.
When I blow a capacitor, I always use a hard start for replacement.


Definitely. We’re still working on building out fault detection alerts for things like this, so very much in a research phase still. So, not active push effort at the moment.

As for the data access, that’s primarily for Support purposes and not ongoing DS purposes. So, if you write into Support and haven’t checked the “Allow access to my data forever” there’s an initial back-and-forth we have to do to get your permission for Support to look at your data. Just one of the ways we keep your data safe.

@joshuagoettsch as @ixu points to, this would be great data for us to see. Would you mind if we had this to our research pool for fault detection efforts? We’d have to take a look at your data for this event to do so.

Existing treatment of these types of events makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be a user-initiated notification (flagging mechanism in the UI) back to Sense along the lines of “This device just failed”. The associated access permissions could be given at that point.

1 Like

It’s certainly a good idea. I’ll pass along to the Product team. Though I do worry a bit about false reports and the like. We have many users and not all are as knowledgeable about the inner workings of their home appliances as the bulk of people posting here. Still, it sounds useful. In the meantime, I’d just highly encourage people to post here or reach out to me directly.

1 Like


Refining the thought somewhat … Certain classes of devices that are “Always On” (e.g. fridge/freezer) could be treated thus:

  • Device goes off for longer than expected (i.e. according to an auto-magic Sense metric)

  • User is notified “Your fridge has been off for a few hours, can we help?”

    1. “It’s fine. I unplugged it deliberately”.
    2. “It broke, I’d like you to take a look and perhaps see why (privacy caveat)”.
    3. “Dismiss”

OK, less than ideal dialog, but you get the idea.

1 Like

My AC died this week, it was interesting for me to see it fail on the Ecobee, then to look at the sense data and see it from another data point of view.
The sense app showed that the failing outside AC fan used far more power than normal as well as unstable.

Then before it died it used almost twice as much power as it normally would before it gave up entirely.

I also, on an unrelated but similar note, I’m able to tell if my pool pump has air leaking into it when it is off using sense. It requires less power to pump air than water.


You’re reading our mind :shushing_face:

@joseph.d.hale This would also be great for the team to check out. Would you be ok with them taking a look?

Yes, The Sense team can look at my meter data.

1 Like

For the OP: what pattern in this trend indicates the failed capacitor? From my limited experience, I would expect the motor to draw current but not turn, eventually overheating and tripping the thermal overload (if equipped). Is that what is shown here?

@joseph.d.hale How did you display this view of 2 graphs together?

That looks just like the normal Power Meter. If you have solar, it will be superimposed on the the Power Meter graph.

1 Like

So now that the fan on the AC has been replaced should I Delete AC from my sense app and let it discover the AC with the new fan? or should I leave it alone and just wait?

It didn’t take long, The new Motor picked up under the existing AC device.

1 Like

My new AC compressor posed as the old Sense detection for a while, but eventually a new one popped up. But there was a significant power difference between the old SEER 10 unit and the new SEER 18 unit.

The device library would be a great place for this. Great job and thank you for sharing.