Smart Home: Sense Monitor and IFTTT Integration

Question: How do you leverage IFTTT to manipulate Sense’s detected devices?

My example: The Attic Fan will run continuously, based upon its established temperature/humidity settings. As a fix, I tied the Attic Fan’s on/off cycles (via smart plug) to the Refrigerator - which has to most frequent & stable operation cycles.

Background: Sense is my absolute favorite smart-device! I choose to pay attention to “Always On”, which has been in a decreasing range of (163w-94w) at the start of the year. I’ve recently obtained a consistent value of (89w), addressing the Garage Opener, Washer, and Dryer.

Personal Statistics:
My last 30-day Energy Consumption is 443w, resulting in the following comparison of other Sense users:

  • Similar homes in local area: 1,879w (93% lower @ 443w)
  • Sense homes in Ohio: 1,686w (93% lower @ 443w)
  • All Sense homes: 1,532w (88% lower & 443w)
  • Usage History: (Hyperlink)

Native Detected Devices:

  1. 11:43am - 10/04/2019 1,817w - (Air Conditioner)
  2. 05:36pm - 09/19/2019 401w - (Garage Door)
  3. 01:05am - 09/23/2019 98w - (Fridge Light)
  4. 11:10am - 09/24/2019 89w - (Fridge)
  5. 12:15pm - 09/29/2019 200w - (Attic Fan)
  6. 12:15pm - 09/29/2019 434w - (Furnace)
  7. 07:39am - 10/17/2019 163w - (Ice Maker)
  8. 07:39am - 10/17/2019 1,470w - (Microwave)
  9. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 30w - (Fridge Water Dispenser)
  10. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 50w - (Water Heater)
  11. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 57w - (Light: Master Bath)
  12. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 28w - (Light: Microwave)
  13. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 664w - (Dishwasher)
  14. 01:41pm - 11/05/2019 410w - (Oven)
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Nice idea to use the fridge (essentially) as a timer!

I’m frustrated by the fact that fridges/freezers dissipate their heat into the room – when it’s hot outside – and otherwise rely on the indoor temperate: particularly when it’s colder outside than inside the fridge, what’s up with that?! I’m reminded of the New Zealand Antarctic Base Kitchen walk-in “freezer” apparently having a heater in it that runs most of the time.

Strange you should post this now because I am in the process of picking apart why a Sense alert on my fridge is triggering. I’ve set it so if the fridge is OFF for more that 1hr30min I’ll get an alert. I get alerts after OFF cycles that don’t actually appear to be that long. The fridge is on a smart plug (Wemo Insight). Anybody getting something similar? I have to parse things more carefully to confirm. One thing I know though is that an IFTTT trigger I have to also turn some Hue bulbs red (when the fridge is off for 1hr30min) are NOT triggering. Meaning: IFTTT seems to be behaving itself but the Sense alert is misbehaving.

I’m interested in using Sense and IFTTT to smooth/level daily energy spikes! My energy pattern is either “noisy” or “quiet”… I’m thinking it may be prudent to even things out a bit.

Question: What potential benefits are there for the mitigation of residential energy spikes or is it really not worth consideration?

Uncontrolled: I cannot efficiently control the On/Off cycles of my (Air Conditioner, Furnace, Refrigerator, Water Heater or their associated components).

Controlled: However, I have technical options to affect automated control over everything else. I would seeking to migrate their operational cycles around the uncontrolled devices.

Well, probably depends on the big ticket items … let’s say EV (if you have one) & hot water heater. So the question becomes “Are an uncontrolled device’s on/off cycles really uncontrolled if they are dependent upon your habits?”

e.g. Big spike due to water heater can be offset by showering/bathing/washing at a different time.

Not sure there is much of a win in leveling your usage. I don’t think the ups and downs in activity affect your household or your utility when you talk about typical household usage levels. The only wins I see are:

  • Adjusting usage based on rate, if you have tiered pricing or time of use. In that case moving usage can affect your costs and help the utility balance usage.

  • Some utilities will give you a lower price if they are allowed to brownout or cut power to big devices like AC. I have that option - they install a separate cutoff / power reduction box for each unit.

  • If you are running very large motors (usually commercial), utilities will work with you and compensate you for “correcting” your power factor, back to near 0.

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If your utility billing includes “demand charges”, then leveling your usage…reducing the peak power consumption…could save you lots of money. I’m not sure how common demand charges are for residential electric tariffs.

Let’s hope our flywheels’ IFTTT latency isn’t tooooo slow.


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Thanks guys! Since I don’t have tiered billing, I’ll focus my efforts away from leveling my energy spikes…

I’m extremely happy that no one felt that it significant to mention surges, impacting internal devices and appliances. I really need to stay away from YouTube!