First off, Always On is the near-lowest power usage in your house over the last 48 hours on a rolling basis. You have to think about that as the usage in your house that is Always On across every device, including the devices that Sense detects. Sense looks for on/off power for a detected device, but has no way of directly measuring the Always On usage (with smart plug devices, Sense does give you Always On). The detailed Always On calculation is described here:
Other, is the Total Usage minus all the detected device on at a moment in time, including minus Always On.
Other should drop when you unplug/turn off things that Sense has not yet detected and should increase when those devices are plugged back in or turned on. But I have found it is far more useful to look at the Power Meter, especially in the phone/table app, for two reasons: 1) the Power Meter gives more details on the on/off waveforms and 2) Sense also gives hints about the transitions that it “hears” - you’ll see a power number / tag show up when it spots something of interest. This helps you know if there’s a chance Sense will detect something - first, it has to “hear it”. Example of tags in the Power Meter below - they are only there for that Power Meter session.
Depending on your device, attach is the little basket with an outgoing (up) arrow icon. On my phone, it’s below the text entry box. On bigger screens and web, it’s in the toolbar above the box. You can go back to the post without the attachment and use the pencil icon to edit/update your post.
So Sense is “hearing” those transitions, but hearing isn’t enough. It has to hear enough repetitions that are similar, under a wide variety of conditions, and yet detect that that set of ons and offs are distinct. I think the big issue in many homes is that there are a wide swath of 10-100W transitions that are not super distinct, mostly coming from electronic devices (yes, LED lighting is an electronic device). Electronics hide many of the distinguishing physics features that differentiate incandescent lights from heaters from AC motors. BTW - most ceiling fans today use electronically controlled DC motors, so that makes them fall into the “few distinguishing features” category vs. AC motors.
I would recommend that. I have plugged most of my electronics into either a power strip or UPS connected to a smart plug (HS110 or KP115) or used an HS300 (integrated monitoring power strip). In most of my cases, it really hasn’t helped to use the HS300.
A UPS shouldn’t affect the monitoring capabilities of those smart plugs - they just monitor the energy flowing through them and send the data to the Sense monitor. But the placement of the smart plug with respect to the UPS will make a difference in what you see. Before, will give you power used by the UPS plus the devices on the UPS, aligned with the house usage. Depending on the UPS type, this will add battery charging, active management of house supply, and/or the energy used for double conversion to your total, making it much more unlikely that Sense detects any devices on the UPS. If you put the smart plug after your UPS, you won’t see the UPS usage in the totals, and if/when it does kick in you will see power coming out of the battery to feed your devices, which is not coming from the grid. After placement, won’t help detection either, though you will get a more accurate view of just the energy your AV or computer devices are using. Before is the better choice in my mind.
When you add the smart plugs, Sense will create a new smart plug device for each of them. Just like any other device, bubbles will appear for them and their usage totals will be removed from Other. The total Always On won’t shrink, but the Always On for each smart plug will be broken out in the Always On “device”. You’ll also be able to set a standby level for each smart plug device so that device can be in On, Off or Standby states. Actual measurements from the smart plugs bring added functionality-
Not many “Sense compatible” devices out there, but many of us have had good luck with the KASA devices (previously HS110, now KP115, and the HS300 for multiple plugs), both available at various prices. I’ve seen as low as $10 at NewEgg and it seems to run $23 elsewhere, so this can get expensive. Making Sense actually work can be very costly.