Smart Plug Best Practices

I am the proud owner of ten (10) TP-Link Kasa KP115 smart outlets! I started to ask questions and start discussions in the thread that announced the shopping deal at Woot!, but decided that a dedicated thread on best practices was probably better and more appropriate…

So… That said… What are the best practices for using these smart outlets?

Some questions/observations that I have:

  • I am using them on power strips that power my home office…and my wife’s home office. While this does NOT provide device level consumption information, it seems to be very helpful and informative to know how much my wife and my own home office is consuming. It allows us to toggle different aspects of our deskside technology to optimize power consumption. I am thinking about doing something similar with my LR and MBR entertainment setups too…
  • Is it worthwhile to put a smart outlet on my refrigerator? Sense has already detected my refrigerator’s various components (fridge light, freezer light, defroster, compressor)… In one way, it seems to be a waste of a smart outlet that can be placed somewhere else in my home if Sense has already detected it… But at the same time, I think it is more accurate to put it on a smart plug because it’s still consuming power, even when the four components aren’t detected… The smart plug will actually provide a more holistic view of the power consumption.
  • How do I handle duplicates? As an example, my Portable AC unit is part of my home office power strip… But it was also detected by Sense. When my Portable AC is on, it seems like it’s double counting… But more accurately, it seems to be double displaying… The total power consumption reported by Sense does not seem to double count the energy consumption of my Portable AC when this happens.
  • Frequently versus Infrequently used appliances. Does it make sense to put a sensor on a microwave oven? We don’t use it all that often.
  • Not sure how to categorize this issue… But right now, Sense thinks that my coffee maker, my instant pot and my toaster oven are all the same thing… How do I deal with this situation? I know I can put stuff on a smart outlet…but how does the duplication thing work? Will I be able to stop it from being double visible/counted?

Don’t just address my questions above… Although yes, those are the things that are on my mind… Also share any other best practices you have here…

Hi @MikeekiM - I’ve broken out a few of these to provide some specific answers. Others here are welcome to share their feedback on how they best manage their home.

I would recommend leaving these broken out if the detections are reliable/accurate, so you can see abnormal behavior or issues that may arise over time. It also depends on how preference. Personally, I would keep this as the lowest priority and put it on a smart plug if you run out of other devices to monitor with plugs.

For smart plugs, navigate to Devices > Portable AC Unit > Device Settings (gear in top-right) > Manage > What’s Plugged Into This? and click on the checkbox next to the natively detected device for your AC. This will prevent double-counting, and you can add more than one device as a part of a smart plug. You would also replicate this strategy if you decide to put your fridge on a smart plug.

My personal recommendation for this is to make this a “lower” priority. See what devices you have that are undetected and that you run often. Then, consider their operating wattage. This should help narrow down the “most impactful” ways to allocate your smart plugs.

For device conflation issues, it depends on how we detected the device in the back-end. You can reach out to Support and they can let you know if it’s something we can adjust (or not.)

I’d imagine your kitchen circuit has appliances all on the same leg of your mains, so as far as Sense is concerned, it’s probably seeing three very similar looking devices (all resistive heating elements) operating at similar wattages for comparable durations/cadences, leading to conflation.

It sounds like you have a few options here, though:

  1. Add a smart plug to each kitchen appliance and delete the native detection.
  2. Add one smart plug that you rotate each appliance on. This would obviously lead to some confusing historical data, but should help you monitor things like your instant pot and toaster for longer cook times.
  3. Add an HS-300 smart strip to your kitchen and plug each into their respective outlet (that would still leave you with three extra outlets to fill, though.)

I toggle my monitor power off at 6:30pm and on at 8:30am. It only uses a couple watts in standby, but for those 14 hours, it’s now using nothing.

I have one old Kasa on my entertainment unit, which also has a wifi router. I turn it off over night and back on in the morning. Watch out for what times you have it turn off and on. I started with midnight to go off…until my wife and I were watching a movie and everything shut down. I turn it on at 6:30am so our thermostat down there can get a good wifi connection again.

Depends on the type of fridge. My old fridge was maybe the first thing Sense detected because the compressor turns on, and off, then on, and off. No ice maker. No wifi. Nothing but compressor and I guess a light, but big whoop on that. My newer fridge with two ice makers, wifi, and a liners compressor is on a smart plug. That let me set an alert for when my fridge turns off, which should be never since it has an active wifi connection, but still somehow does so every now-and-then.

Our old microwave has been detected, but our new drawer microwave has not. IDK why one would and one wouldn’t. The new one does not have wifi or anything fancy, just a drawer. FYI, the limited amount we use the basement microwave, mainly for popcorn, costs me $0.26 a year.

…yah, it’ll do that. For me, it was toaster oven and dishwasher. No way around it.