New Installation - okay to swap bulbs during early learning?

I just installed my Sense this past weekend and for the first time I can see real-time usage information, which is hugely exciting.

Specifically, I’m seeing (for the first time) the actual change in demand when I flip on the incandescent lights in my bathroom (+/-240W in each bathroom)

Here’s my question: My first reaction to seeing these energy-hogging lights is that I am tempted to rush out and replace these bulbs with LED equivalents. BUT, would doing so invalidate or otherwise confuse Sense, particularly at this early stage of device detection?

It’s only been installed for 3 days now, and it’s detected my two refrigerators. I’m happy to reset and start over, but is there a need to even worry about it (will it slow down or skew Sense’s device detection)?

I wouldn’t worry about it. Light fixtures seem to be towards the bottom of the list as far as detectable devices - especially if they are LED fixtures which barely cause a blip on the Sense real time graph. You won’t be doing any harm by replacing them.

Your real question should be whether they need to be replaced now or when they burn out. Like you, I went around replacing all of my incandescents for LEDs the minute we bought our house. I’m happy I did, but the reality is that the return on investment for LED bulbs isn’t immediate - since they cost a couple of bucks or more each (especially in the case of specialty bulbs). Figure 100w usage as a conservative overestimate for an incandescent, 10c per Kw as a conservative overestimate, vs. a $2 ea cost for an LED - you’d have to leave that 100w incandescent light on for 200 hours to equal the cost of one LED. Average lights in our house are on maybe 2hrs a day…100+ days is the payback time.

It’s very tempting to go around and replace all those bulbs - that’s what Sense encourages you to do…and not just bulbs but that old fridge, or failing water heater, but do try to keep the bottom line in mind :slight_smile:

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If the Sense hasn’t identified the incandescent lights yet then I would go ahead and replace them if that’s what you’re inclined to do. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you bought the Sense? Even if it did learn them you could have it forget them and not harm. I don’t see a need to reset.

FWIW, I typically replaced bulbs only when they burnt out but that was years ago when the replacements were CFL and they were more expensive. We don’t have any incandescent bulbs left so now I replace CFLs with LEDs as they go out. Needless to say, that doesn’t happen very often.

@NJHaley Has a valid point and that is what I took into account those years ago. Per his point the same metric I applied to CFLs years ago applies to LEDs today. Plus slowly replacing over time is easier on cash flow (depending on the number of bulbs being replaced) and allows you to take advantage of the ever-declining cost of the replacement bulbs over time.

One minor issue we ran into - we had just outfitted our house for solar. The solar installation company took into account previous usage to estimate the number of panels we’d need to accommodate that amount.

We did such a good job of reducing usage, through replacing light bulbs (and a worn out fridge), that we’re now over-producing by about 40%. Effectively, we should’ve done the replacing before installing solar, so we’d have paid a bit less on that end. Now we’re just making a ton of extra power and selling it back to the utility for pennies.

It’s worth noting that unknown percentage at towards the bottom, @kgoerz. Two fridges in a few days is impressive, but you’ll need patience with appliance detection for sure. About 60% of our power these days comes from the AC, but that’s not always the case! Almost makes me want to run out and buy an EV just to use up some of that excess more efficiently!

Thanks for the quick responses, folks.

Glad swapping bulbs won’t mess up Sense’s device detection.

I’ve ordered some replacement LEDs and I’ll go ahead and install them; I get that the ROI on buying new LED bulbs to replace working incandescent bulbs is long, but now I can use my bathroom as much as I want, guilt-free!

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