Phantom device (nothing on but showing usage)


I’ve just had something happening for a couple of days that is strange. I will have the timeline show something turning on and using 400 watts for minutes or hours. The problem is I have been completely through the house turning of everything except extremely low consumption devices like bulbs and chargers but it still shows on. I was sure that I was just overlooking something but I don’t think so after many attempts to locate it. Anyone else have this happen?


Do you have a rough idea of how the circuits in your house are mapped out? Might be worth trying to isolate some breakers. Quite a few of us here have been surprised by devices running in our homes behind our backs. You could also try and catch a power meter screen grab next time it happens and post here.

ETA: You mentioned chargers. I’ve never experienced this, but I know other members here have diagnosed some phantom devices as battery tenders. Maybe that could be a culprit? Unless you’re talking lower wattage phone chargers and the like.


unfortunately the electrician that wired my house did not label anything at all. It was a year old when I bought it. Installing a new water heater a few weeks ago and installing the sense has prompted me to change that. I’ve gotten a start but I’ve got OCD and anything short of perfection is not acceptable. I’ll have not only labels but pages with the details mapped out of each receptacle or light on a given circuit. Working alone slows me down.


Just curious if you are using the phone app while eliminating breakers? Consumption should ultimately go to zero. What is more annoying is when Sense detects a device with no wattage. A lot of early Sense adopters will do what you are doing while the general public will not. The awareness of our usage is how we get a handle on what is happening. I had gotten my Always On under 60 watts for awhile. Unfortunately seasons change, new gadgets arrive, and both we and Sense has to adjust. Post when you find the 400 watts!


I’m doin exactly as you suggest and carrying the phone room to room or using at the panel.
Ive located the breaker but the wiring in my house was done very poorly and I’m currently
working on getting it mapped out. This electrician had splice wired where he was short in the
attic with tape, no wire nuts, not in a junction. The inspector must not have looked at anything.
I remodeled my kitchen and some other work and brought everything up to current
code when I did the work so I’ve got part of the panel mapped out.
An example of the mess: my garage lights on same circuit as outdoor GFCI receptacle.
Lots of things that shouldn’t have passed inspection but ill get it fixed.
My always on doesn’t drop below 600


@samwooly1 You are doing what I did.

  1. I started a spreadsheet where I located every switch, device and receptacle in my house and entered the data into a file.
  2. Then I took a label maker and placed a small sticker on every outlet cover and switch cover to tell me what circuit # it was connected to.
  3. I listed all the devices by receptacle that were plugged into that circuit to see if I had any areas that were close to capacity.

My house was not wired according to the electrician’s labels in the breaker panel either. I have circuits that are shared between rooms. My biggest problem was the original electrician wired the regular house receptacles to the smoke detectors. If you run the vacuum cleaner, the power drop (when you turn on the vacuum) sets off all the smoke alarms. I had to rewire to get the smoke alarms all on their own separate circuit which should have been done when the house was built according to the Smoke Detector instructions. My builder was lazy (or took shortcuts) in this area.


Oh boy about the smoke detectors, that should be it’s own circuit.
My mapping will probably be very similar to yours when I get done but
it’s slow going doing it by myself. I’m using an audible Fluke meter and
listening with the garage door open while I flip breakers but the noise the
the breakers clicking makes is hard to hear. Lighting is easier but this guy
has lights and receptacles on the same circuit, something I would never do
and rooms crossover, also something I wouldn’t do. I also never did do switches
without neutral so I have remodeled bathrooms and kitchen and they have neutrals
in all boxes. The traditional 2 wire has been troublesome for automation like
wifi and dimmer switches that require it.