I have not found the anwers to these random thoughts about smart plugs.
Why does Sense “like” and “integrate” devices like TP-link KASA? How does it help Sense?
Why would a user put in a KASA?
I see several reasons, and I am guilty too. Sense is slow and I want to know what the freezer is doing for example. I want to control something and also know how much power it uses or control it to control power use. I think that Mechanical Switches are better at the last one, unless you can automate it.
What are your reasons? I really want to know! I look at each KASA as a 1-2watt vampire load. Am I wrong?
The smart plugs don’t “help” Sense at all. They help you as the end user. Sense will still do it’s thing using AI and attempt to detect the devices with or without the plug. The plug doesn’t contribute to this learning. The reason the Sense team pushes these devices is because sometimes technological limitations can frustrate people, some devices are very difficult to find via AI and other times people just don’t have the patience to wait for the AI.
I think there’s a couple main reasons that people get these plugs and I think you hit the nail on the head with ability to control. I would venture to say that a large portion of users here have their homes automated more than the every day Joe. I for example, tell my Google display when going to bed, “Good Night”. It then goes through the house and turns off lights, sets thermostats, ensures the gate and garage are closed, locks doors, makes sure the fireplace and BBQ are turned off and the list goes on. Another example is when someone pulls up to my gate, there’s a sensor at my gate that sends a signal inside the house, it is connected to a MimoLite (relay) that turns on lights, plays an alert inside the house and launches a video feed of the gate across all of my digital displays. So it’s not just a way to measure power, but it’s a safety feature. Some of the lights in the aforementioned cases are on Kasa plugs.
There’s also a lot of people who use these plugs like a kill-a-watt and move them around. This allows them to get a good idea of what’s going on in their house.
I would agree that if you’re putting them in just for power monitoring, unless there’s a good reason to do so, it might not make a lot of good sense. Monitoring a 1kWh load with a device that doubles it, might be a waste.
Buy compatible smart plugs because you want visibility to devices (or sets of devices) that Sense has not learned (or is incapable of learning and isolating)… Not to help Sense…
One of the best smart plugs I have set up on Sense is my “Home Office” group of devices… I have a smart plug connected to a power strip that has all of my home office gear attached… I am not really interested in all the individual components as much as I am interested in how much my home office costs me in energy usage… And what my usage looks like on weekends (when it is mostly personal usage) versus weekdays when I am using it for my remote work… Sense would never be able to support this use case without me introducing a Kasa smart plug into the equation…
Hi @bobfa, and welcome to the community. Good question. I’m going to extend @DevOpsTodd’s excellent answer.
There are many devices that have either high active/dynamic power usage, high Always On usage, or both, that the current form of Sense just can’t detect. Smartplugs help fill in the blanks (or reduce Other). Sense data is more complete with smartplugs, especially for the device types outlined in the second list here:
Sense also provides additional analysis specifically for devices on smartplugs. It will calculate the Always On for the connected device, plus let you set a Standby threshold so that bubbles only appear for the active On state of the device.
I have a couple KP125s plugged in back to back right now. The continuous draw is about 1.25W for a device that is continuously reporting to Sense. So one should deploy smartplugs judiciously as you suggest. At the same time, capturing the time history of devices vs. the one time snapshot of a Kil-A-Watt can be invaluable for some devices that sporadically use bursts of power (one of my LCD TVs has a super low standby, but blinks on to 20W every 6 hours or so). That’s why I advocate using a dedicated “Traveller” smartplug in your house to observe the power behavior of all devices of interest for at least 48 hours. That should tell you whether a dedicated smartplug might be useful and worth it. And with KP125s on sale for 13$, it’s a no-brained in my mind for any Sense user.