Option to exclude Always On from Usage and/or Now

In the phone app, under Dashboard you can see usage (energy) for all the detected devices, Kasa/Wemo/Wiser plugs, Hue lights as well as “Always On”, and if those add up less than 100% of total usage, “Other”.

In a similar fashion on the Now tab, the bubbles show devices above the standby threshold, Always On and if all devices + Always On is less than total, “Other”

I would like option to do one or more of the following:

A. Switch somewhere in settings to force “Always On” to be equal to zero. Put some safe guards on the switch, like an “are you sure” warning. I wouldn’t even mind if the app nagged me every week to make sure I really wanted the Always On to be pinned to zero.

B. Switch to exclude Always On in the Usage calculation. Start with the total usage, deduct everything known including the 3rd party (Hue, Kasa, etc.) and write the rest and Other. Still calculate Always On as before and when the switch is set to off, show the traditional Usage chart.

C. Switch to exclude Always On from the Now (Power) bubbles. Same concept as B.

I don’t know anything about what is going on under the hood with Sense, but I expect that A is much easier to implement than B or C. So while I would rather have B & C, I would happily accept A.

Here is my rationale:

After I had the Sense for a couple years, I noticed that greater than 50% of total consumption every month was Other + Always On. In many months this was close to 75%. One of my goals for buying Sense was to get an understanding of where I am consuming electricity, so I can make informed decisions about the tradeoffs involved. Sense helped with this, but it was limited to helping me make decisions around a small part of my electric bill.

So I set out to understand the Always On. I bought a Kill-O-Watt, a plug in device, similar in concept to a Kasa smart plug, except that has a display and shows real time power and accumulated energy. It has no wifi or other wireless interface and no memory. I began going around the house measuring the load of various devices. This helped - here is an example:

In April 2000, I bought a Yamaha receiver while I was living in Italy, when I moved back to the USA in 2003, I brought it with me and bought a little 500W transformer to make the 230V the receiver needs. I discovered, to my horror, that the transformer consumes ~30W 24/7 even if the receiver is off or unplugged. In fact the receiver turned off, but plugged in only consumed an extra 3W. I came to realize than over the last 15 years I had wasted close to 4000 kWh ($600) on this transformer. I bought the Yamaha parts to convert the receiver to 120V for about $150. Now the receiver consumes 3 W when off.

When I learned that Sense was supporting Kasa smart plugs, I bought a few of them. They worked great and really helped me to understand better where the energy was going. Then I bought some more, and then some more. Then someone came out with the Kasa Emulator for Home Assistant. With that I was able to use 240V measurement equipment, like an old TED 5000 or Shelly energy meters.

Today I have 19 real Kasa plugs and 10 emulated plugs. All of the emulated plugs are for things that a real Kasa can’t work with, such as 240V devices or devices that are hardwired in. I thought this would be useful, but it is actually worse since most of these 29 devices get partially double counted by Sense. For one reason or another (spotty wifi causes Kasa plug to lose connection, reboot of the Home Assistant) most of these 29 devices don’t get counted as part of the Always On.

So now the Always On is too high and the Other is too low. Most of the time Other is zero. This lowers the quality of information to make choices. Some of the choices I might with direct information are:

  • change behavior : take shorter showers if the electric hot water tank is using more energy than I think it reasonable.
  • fix something: if the fridge is using more and more energy - maybe I ought to clean the coils.

With indirect information such as “Other” or Always On, I can really only decide if I want to hunt down the contributing devices or not. But I need to accurately know how much is the total of Other to decide if I want to expend the effort to keep looking.

Right now, I can pretty much explain 90% of the Always On, but I don’t have high confidence that the “Other” category is accurate, I think it is much too small at this point. If I knew for sure that unknown devices were contributing to 30% of my electric bill, I would probably keep looking. If it was just 10%, I would call it good.

I suppose I could figure out the true “unknown / other” usage if I downloaded the data into Excel and did the math myself. I would rather Sense does it for me.

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Always on and other has always been a pet peeve of mine. They are so damn annoying and over complicated.
Since the implementation of integrated devices some year back these estimated bubbles really hinder my ability to reduce my ‘unknown’ energy usage.
Sense has no plans to improve this and quite honestly it would probably take them a decade or more to do so if they wanted to. As they are still actively working on “progressive device detection” 4 years after it was to be released.

To be clear, I am not super interested in bashing Sense for how well the Always On feature does or doesn’t work, or how well they have developed the feature.

At the barest bones, here is my argument:

The purpose of Sense is to provide actionable information to users, in the form of insights into how electricity is used in their home, so that they can make informed decisions about how they use various appliances*.

The sense app has a really excellent presentation of usage and a very good presentation of real time power consumption. Between a system with perfect data and a terrible interface or one with just very good data and a great interface, I think the second is more valuable for making informed decisions.

Sense isn’t great at detecting certain kinds of devices, such things with a non-sinusoidal current waveform or devices with a highly variable load**. For this reason, the third party integration is a great addition to Sense since it allows bringing in data to Sense app that would never be available otherwise.

Unfortunately, unless the 3rd party device works perfectly sending data 100% of the time, the imperfect data from the 3rd party device results in the Always On being skewed, which in some users experience’s, results in the quality of the available information dropping significantly.

So I would request that the Always On be converted to an optional feature that users can turn off.

“*” I recognize that for a lot of users, the point of Sense isn’t what I’ve stated here, rather for them it is more an infotainment type expense or hobby. I can totally respect that.

“**” You have toaster, tea kettle, an electric dryer, an old school HVAC with induction motors, incandescent light bulbs, a vacuum cleaner, an air compressor? Sense will identify them. You have a computer, anything with a switch mode power supply, any appliance that says “inverter” or “direct drive”, a fridge with a variable speed compressor, a high efficiency mini-split AC, a heat pump water heater, a high end microwave with short duty cycle power control, induction motors which use inline capacitors to control speed? In my experience, Sense will probably not detect it. This is not a fault with the technology, it is that these device waveforms are messy all by themselves, and in combination they don’t even add up linearly. This is an inherent limitation of the Sense “single sensor” approach, and is an extremely difficult challenge to solve. The use of relatively inexpensive power meters for such devices is really the best way to monitor them right now.


Hi @daniel2 ,
I agree that an option to turn off home-level Always On and zero it out for the purposes of the bubbles and calculation of the Other bubble would be useful for experienced users. It’s a great top down view and wake-up call for new users, but becomes a distraction for users who:

  • Have really pared back on their Other via Sense AI plus plenty of device-level power monitoring (smart plugs, Hue, Wiser stuff, HA with Kasa emulation). With that level of direct monitoring, the double counting of Always On from both measurements and the home-level calculation, coupled with the smaller size of Other, can easily lead to a relatively inaccurate and often negative Other.
  • Have device usage patterns that confound the home level Always On calculation. @obscuredtrip is one of several users I have encountered that have experienced this issue in spades. The last bullet in my post here gives some of the scenarios where the home level Always On is guaranteed to be incorrect.

I use the downloaded data in Excel to zero unknown Always On, although I keep known Always On. Interesting idea for doing it right in the app! I wonder if the optional setting would allow zeroing just the unknown portion? Part of why they allow download of data into Excel is that the app can’t please everyone. This explains why, when you download data from the web app, it invites you to “manipulate, integrate, visualize, analyze, and actualize” the energy usage data.

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Thanks for your insight and for the case on why you do not want to always use “Always-On.” Submit your feedback to the product team. I also advise providing feedback in the link below. It goes directly to the team that handles feedback/feature requests, and they like to hear direct user stories.

Feedback here: https://help.sense.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=14481007173779

If you’re interested in having me look into your data, I can look into “aways-on” in a little more depth and provide some personalized answers. Please feel free to send me a private message.
Below are some articles that could help. But you won’t be able to turn your always-on off as you request now.

[https://help.sense.com/hc/en-us/articles/1500007802901-What-are-Always-On-estimates](https://What are ‘Always On’ estimates?)

[https://help.sense.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021259614-How-are-Always-On-and-Standby-calculated](https://How are ‘Always On’ and ‘Standby’ calculated?)

Thanks, how I let me know how I can help

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There are some questions which I have downloaded data to answer.

For example, I have a hot water circulation pump. At the faucets there are 110 F thermostatic valves and dedicated return lines. When running, there is a basically instant 110F hot water. The dedicated return lines keep the cold water cold. Without the pump, you can run water for 15-45 seconds depending before the water gets pretty hot.

The pump draws 27 watts when running. It runs on a timer from 5 AM to 10 PM everyday. What does it cost to operate? Hopefully it is obvious that the answer is not 450 watthours per day.

I setup a test. Every night at 1 am Home Assistant flipped a coin and determined if it was a hot water day or not. The pump ran as scheduled on hot water days and was off all day on cold water days. I then kept track of total household energy usage, total water usage, hot water tank usage and instant hot water heater usage. A tankless electric backs up the main tank, so that water delivered is a constant temp, even if the tank gets cold. On cold water days, the tankless would run until water from the main heater got to it.

The answer is that pump is costing about $2 per day in excess electricity usage: the pump itself, heat lost into the piping while circulating, and surprisingly, we seem to use more hot water on the days the circulation pump is running.

I would never expect Sense to be able to answer this sort of question natively, so downloading data is perfectly reasonable. On the other hand, in the case of the missing “Other”, I think it is reasonable that Sense provide the option to turn off a feature that sometimes results in bad data.


Thanks James.

Before I posted this, I did read most of the threads that discuss Always On over the last few years.

I found complainers and apologists aplenty, but no one simply asking for the user to have the ability to turn it off. Hence the post in the “Product Wishlist”

I was under the impression that the Product Wishlist was the place to make a feature request. I will open a ticket and make the feature request. Thanks for the link.


I proposed this:

Your proposal of a user selectable option to turn always on off is a GREAT idea.
Users that want the estimate it can have it. Others that want more hard factual data (without being skewered by estimates) can have it.
The best of both worlds.

Adding more selectability with Sense is much needed and plays into the custom notifications thread.
I wish Sense would poll users about “Wishlist” and other items that are doable and would consider, even if it was only done with a select type group. If anything it could help guide the ‘decision makers’.