Sense so far

Hi All,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and share how Sense has been working for me so far. I recently has a 4 zone Mitsubishi Mini Split Heat Pump system installed and decided to get Sense to better understand how the system is operating in order to get the best efficiency from it and keep my electricity bill in check.

I installed my Sense on June 1st and less than four days in it seems to have reliably identified the following:

  • Well Pump
  • Water Heater
  • Basement Dehumidifier
  • Refrigerator (One of two)
  • Keurig Coffee Maker

I’m pretty happy with the progress so far and already it’s helping me determine what the payback period would be on replacing my 30 year old electric water heater with a hybrid heat pump model. I have heard that Sense does not do well with picking up variable loads like I will see from my Mitsubishi system, but having real time information on overall usage is still helpful.

If you don’t have solar and/or Sense Solar CTs you could get the solar CTs and put them on your Mitsubishi system circuit (I assume it has a single dedicated circuit?). I’m doing that on a small scale with a window AC unit. It’s a cheat and screws with your overall numbers but if you want to monitor the Mitsubishi right away you can. In the near term it also will encourage you to get solar installed. “Oh, now I have the CTs I might as well install solar!” :grin:

In your case if you’re going to get a Hybrid water heater you could also get a second Sense monitor (like I have) and dedicate the Main CTs to your hot water and Solar to your AC. I’m going to post what I’ve seen with that setup … it reveals some anomalies in native Sense detection (of the water heater on my primary Sense) vs the secondary Sense logging, which one can assume is more precise. With the big-ticket items like water heaters and EV chargers, I can see good reason to have really accurate detection and peace of mind that Sense is not being confused in the detection.

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That’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think I want to skew my overall numbers. In practice I don’t really need to know exact numbers as much as I need to understand trends.

Really the most important thing to me is the overall power usage. My power company provides fairly granular data from the smart meter (unfortunately they haven’t opened up Zigbee access yet…), but it always has a 2-3 day delay which makes it near useless for my purposes.

It would be great if Sense made a cheap addon device (less then $60) like the HS110 with it’s own CT’s that could be selectively added to specific circuits on hardwired devices.

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There is abundant talk of that on the forum and like you I have thought “Why not?”. I’ve come around to thinking that because Sense is a small company with a core product that needs their focus that it would probably be a distraction. If third-party Smart Plugs didn’t exist I could see Sense trying to tool-up to fill the void but for now those products do a good enough job. I can see a nice orange “Sense Ready” certification sticker on third-party accessories, and indeed devices.

I’m currently rooting for a modification of the Solar input to make it modal so you can tell Sense to clock it as power usage vs. generation. Not holding my breath: in the scheme of things this would be a very low priority for the team if not technically silly. In the meantime my second Sense (which admittedly effectively costs $175/circuit) is doing a good job of tracking hot water & AC usage without screwing with the primary Sense.

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I think Sense should contract someone to make Sense Breakers - (orange breakers) that work like smart plugs, we could add detection at the panel rather than control in the room. The Idea is to detect and report as many circuits as possible, but also, if Sense did make a Smart breaker you could then control on and off power to an entire circuit. This would most likely give you even more control on energy savings…It would be an interesting idea.

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How much would you be willing to pay for this type of functionality?

There are too many breaker variants and panel backplanes for that to be a realistic option for a small company like Sense.

In order for a Smart Breaker to be adopted you probably need to start by being a panel maker … like Leviton, as discussed here. Nothing to stop Leviton licensing their breaker tech from Sense and making them orange of course.

I haven’t seen prices for the Leviton breakers but even the non-Smart ones for the Smart-compatible LoadCenters are in the $50 realm … I suspect the smart breakers will start to approach a whole Sense monitor in price! [They would have to be less than $175 each to compete since you effectively get 2 sets of CTs in Sense]

More likely to come from Schneider Electric / Square D who is a major investor in Sense.

I dont think this tech is rocket surgery, If I can buy a simple receptacle controller there is no reason why that cannot be put into a breaker format like a relay and controlled through a wifi home app on your phone. Its the same as me connecting the output from the breaker to a receptacle and then plugging the circuit into a home receptacle control device. So why not just put that home receptacle control device in a breaker that can be controlled through wifi. It can still be on and trip as normal but with a secondary relay control you can control the circuit output. In essence control the output circuit to be on as needed and hopefully control needless wasted energy or regulate when the energy is used, hopefully during the benefit of solar generation.

It might be more complicated than “rocket surgery” since adding technology to breakers involves electric code questions and UL and CE compliance, not just the technology.

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More complicated and expensive.

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Indeed @kevin1 & @senseinaz.

I’m sure there are lots of stats out there to explore but off the top of head:

American household: 1 x 10^8
Breakers/household: 10 (?)
= 10^9 breakers.

= every $1 difference in the cost of breaker costs the US $1 billion.

BTW: If every household panel had a Sense (hmmmm) we’re talking $30 billion.

A post was split to a new topic: Problems detecting appliances

I don’t see the breaker approach being practical at all. That’s a ton of functionality to pack into a single very small device and as someone already pointed out, there are so many variants that would be needed that you would end up with literally hundreds of skus. Honestly I only see that type of approach being doable with a “smart” load center like Leviton is doing where much of the functionality (connectivity, etc) is offloaded to the panel itself.

If Sense could bring a single circuit monitor addon device to market that was priced around $50-75 for existing users I’d definitely be interested in purchasing one. It seems like the monitoring of a mini split system like mine is fundamentally difficult achieve with the approach Sense is using.

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This idea goes against device detection too much. Just getting down to circuit level isn’t as detailed as what Sense is after.
Just my opinion

I think you’ll be waiting a while before you get something that can compete with buying a second Sense and using that for a couple of devices (Mini-Split and Hot Water). That doesn’t interfere with your main numbers and, for me at least, works like a charm.

Thinking about it, the way things are setup I assume you might want the Mini-Split on the second-Sense Main CTs so it could help Sense to learn (good for the team). I don’t believe the Solar CTs are getting any Device analysis … but you can still use them to monitor, say, a Hot Water tank as well (which, at this point, might be less educational for the Sense Brain vs. the mini-split).

Just got hooked up doing the 24hr signal check and calibration…already can see the coffee pot cycling as it stays on for 2 hrs and then shuts down… maybe eventually look at 15 minute on time? Got this for a Father’s Day present…i had just purchased two meters to monitor 220, looks like i will be them sending back…

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