Subpanel vs main

Hey folks - I live in a 3 unit building. We have main panels in the basement which feed the panels in our units. The mains have:

  • light for storage unit
  • water heater
  • a server I have down there

The sub-panel has everything else in our unit.

Currently, I have my Sense installed in the sub panel. It’s working(?.. 4 weeks in…3 devices detected).

If I move it to the main panel, will I also get readings from the sub panel?
(wifi isn’t a concern, I have an AP in the building’s basement).

If not, I’ll keep it on the unit’s sub panel.

Here’s the rundown.

  • Moving to the main should let Sense “see” everything happening throughout the entire building, including devices attached to all three subpanels. But that also has a couple of downsides:
  • Sense will pick up detections for all the units, making it harder to isolate which device detections are actually occurring in your unit.
  • Plus it increases the risk that a “noisy” device elsewhere in the building impacts detection and throughout the building.

So a lot depends on what you are trying to achieve by the move:

  • Monitoring all three units plus the common area ?
  • Trying to gather data for your unit plus your server ?
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I’m curious to the plural “main panels”
Is it a single main panel feeding sub panels for each unit?
Or is it that each unit has a main panel dedicated to each unit but a sub panel for ease of access in each unit?
If there is a dedicated main panel for your unit, that is where your Sense monitor should reside.

@kevin1 is spot on in his reply.

If you want to monitor your server, some users have had luck utilizing the solar sensors to monitor a non-solar circuit. I’m not recommending it, because that is not their designed use and it will result in some UI wonkiness, but if you’re desperate for that data it could help.

Thanks everyone!
Sorry about my imprecise language :slight_smile:

Each unit has a breaker box of its own in the basement. Each of those panels feed a larger panel in each unit.

So what I think I’m hearing is that if I move my sense to my unit’s main, I’ll get the few things on that panel and all the things in that the unit itself on the sub panel.


Put Sense on the main for your unit in basement

No need to try the solar workaround. What you ha e is very straightforward. And you will likely then get a water heater detection and could use a smart plug for the server as Sense probably won’t detect it on its own.
I’d move it to the main. Make sure that if you are not going to reset that you have the CT’s on the same leg as they were in the sub panel. I would personally do a factory reset
Sorry, @RyanAtSense and @kevin1 are wrong on this one.

@samwooly1, agree with your approach now that it is clear that there are separate mains for each unit. I was a bit confused because we have 4 unit building that has a main for the whole building, then 5 meters, for the 4 units plus one for the common area.

I noticed the plural use of main panels and thought there would be only one if each of the three sub panels were fed from it. Sounds like he’s going to get a lot better experience from Sense now. Just having the water heater detection is huge in my opinion.

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