Sense review one month in


#1

Posted this on Amazon today; thought I would add it here as well.

Rapidly developing product; responsive support team

In all honesty I should probably give four stars as Sense has not yet been perfected; on the other hand this is a product that requires a large user base in order to improve itself, so it is in my interest as a Sense user to encourage others to buy it.

Installation is easy if you have a good knowledge of electricity; if you would feel comfortable adding a breaker to your panel then you will have no trouble doing the install yourself. Once the hardware is in place, just download the app, turn on bluetooth for a direct connection to the unit, and the rest of the wireless and internet connectivity setup takes care of itself.

Wattage readings for both solar and usage are accurate and updated by the split-second - a huge step up from my old TED 5000. With a careful eye on the readout, it is easy to spot electrical issues that could lead to major repairs down the road. Already I have noticed that our fridge was running for too long (in serious need of coil cleaning), our well pump was short-cycling (pressure tank in need of more air), and one of our line-voltage thermostats was making a poor, intermittent connection when turning on.

The device detection aspect - touted as the main selling point of Sense - is still a work in progress. In a little less than a month, Sense has detected our water heater, washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, chest freezer, microwave, electric range, and oven. We just wired the well to the house last week (it had been on a separate meter), so it will be interesting to see how long it takes Sense to detect the pump. So far it only detects half of the dryer usage - one phase of the 240 volt circuit. I reported that to the Sense team - you can do that from within the app and they actually respond promptly - and they advised me to be patient and allow the detection algorithm to correct itself.

Many of the devices are not detected every time they run, or (in the case of the stove and dryer) not all of their usage is detected. We also have no detection yet for any of our many devices that use less than 100 watts - LED lights, computers, exhaust fans, etc. - but just being able to track major appliances is useful, and at this point accounts for around 50% of our total usage.

There are a small number of disgruntled early adopters trash talking Sense; you will read their reviews and comments if you search long enough. I would agree that the present capabilities of device detection have been a bit overhyped. That said, Sense has no real competitors when it comes to AI detection of electrical devices, and the company has an active and talented team working to improve and responding to customer input. Device detection is still in an advanced beta stage, and probably will be for a few more years. If you primarily want to monitor large loads on dedicated circuits - water heater, dryer, electric car charger - AND all of these loads are fed from breakers in a single electrical panel - then you are probably better off getting the CURB monitor that allows individual circuit monitoring. (The TED does the same but is expensive and uses very buggy power line communication - based on experience I don’t recommend it.) If you have a house like ours where multiple appliances share the same circuit or subfeed, then the Sense is probably a better option.

The home energy monitoring market remains small, and it is a gamble as to which of the players will be around in five or ten years. If I had to place a bet, I would bet on Sense given the amount of resources they are investing into development and marketing. At present, I would say that the product is well worth the price despite its limitations.

Edit: I see that CURB is not currently available on Amazon and that there are very few recent reviews. Possibly on its way out already? In any case all the more reason to help Sense succeed…


#2

very nice review and “spot on” IMO.

I actually put off buying sense for a good long while because I didn’t really believe the hype. As you said, it’s still a work in progress in many regards - but what it does do is nothing short of amazing. I also have a bad fridge and a short cycling well - resolved by replacing the pressure tank in the first three days of Sense and well before many devices were identified. As well as huge issues with my AC - also pointed out by Sense and since resolved.

the team is amazing with their honestly and their proactive attitudes. I’m glad to be a part of it


#3

Thanks for the kind words, @luterra and @Becky! Myself and the team really appreciate it!


#4

I installed my Sense 10 months ago and enjoy having the little gadget. Even after 10 months it still finds new devices. Sometimes creating duplicates but I just delete them and keep watching. The new power expense goal feature is nice. Hope Sense upgrades the cost per kWh feature soon. My fixed value for kWh isn’t accurate but just a 24hr average so sure hope they create a 7day 24hr grid feature soon. That might not solve the problem completely but sure will make Sense much more accurate on actual power costs.