Sense Energy Monitor - Just installed mine

I did it. Amazon had the Sense Energy Monitor on sale few weeks back (Prime Day), and I decided to get it. There are few competing products out there, but all-in-all, I felt this was a good ‘compromise’. Its main distinctive feature is that it monitors the current on two ‘mains’ and then uses some AI to detect the signatures of the various devices inside the home, then starts to monitor the usage for each specific device. The Sense uses 2 Current Transformers (CTs) as sensors. In contrast, other systems (such as the one from Emporia, also cheaper) use multiple CTs (up to 16) to monitor each of the individual circuits drawing power. One might be tempted to conclude that 16 CTs are better, but that is not necessarily the case as each circuit can feed multiple devices, then it’s difficult to tell whether it is the microwave or the coffee-maker that is drawing power. In contrast, the AI within the Sense (if/when it works) gives usage per each specific appliance/device. I also saw on YouTube that the Sense often has a hard time detecting electronics that are connected via UPS systems, such as TVs, computers, and the like. Over the next few weeks/months I’l be watching how the Sense ‘learns’ about my home and all devices in it. Also, from what I understood, it seems the Sense compares ‘signatures’ from various devices across its large user-base for similar electrical signatures, to come up with robust device identification. One thing I learned already (yes, it makes sense after you pause and think about it) is that many devices do not draw power continuously. For example electrical ovens and refrigerators are always running on/of to keep the temperature between 2 pre-sets. Otherwise, the oven would get extremely hot, and the fridge extremely cold. That’s what the thermostats are for, as in fact those 2 devices use closed-loop control to regulate the temperature. Neat, but you’d never think about this until you sit down and think about it. Thus, for example, if your refrigerator says 200 Watts on its label, it is not always drawing 200 W … makes sense?

So, that’s the introduction. Now, I’d like to hear from fellow community members who’ve tried such system, and what their experience with it. The questions that come to mind are:

  1. How to get the best/most from the Sense Energy Monitor?
  2. Can one interface the Sense Monitor to OpenHab (bindings available) ?
  3. Ability to store/download raw/processed data and track it

Hey @JB_63, I also have a Sense! I tried out two other similar products before settling on Sense, which is definitely the best of the three in my opinion. The first one I tried was was called Neurio back in 8/2019, subsequently bought by Generac. I’m sure the product has improved since then but at that time the web interface and app were really limited and needed work. Next I tried the Smappee, which I actually really liked, but wasn’t quite as nuanced/sophisticated as the Sense. All three of these use the same basic configuration, two CTs on the power mains (assuming two phase power service and not three). I installed the Sense back in April and so far it’s identified 22 devices (most recently the fridge ice maker two weeks ago), not including 15ish Hue lighting groups which are also connected directly in the Sense app.

As far as ability to access raw/processed data, I don’t really know how to accomplish that either - the best I’ve been able to do is to connect Sense to a Google sheet via IFTT to log when things turn on/off. Haven’t really found a practical use for that though. Similarly haven’t been able to find much in the way of integration with OH- it does seem like there would be a lot of potential there so I am a little surprised. Have you had any luck? There is a thread here about it, which I haven’t really sifted through yet Sense Energy Monitor Binding.

Honestly, even though I love the Sense, after having the it for over six months I’d say it is mainly about novelty and not so much practical use, with the single exception being that my wife uses it to identify when the dryer has finished running. Curious to see if you agree after a few months with yours?

I started that other thread to gauge interest.

I essentially started down the path of creating a binding but Java is not my usual tool of choice. I started doing it one way and decided to do it another way.

At this point, I think I lost that code when my old laptop died.

Hey @Marcusfacius … good you joined this small group of Sense Users. In all honesty, when I got my unit, I was not sure how I’d use it 100%. We were all working from home, the kids spending time on their computers, and our electricity bill was way up. So, my ‘push/motivation’ was to understand a bit more our power consumption and see if our habits can be adjusted. I also learned a lot in the process. For example, my ‘Always On’ power hovers around 500W, which is rather high. There are multiple devices that do not consume much, but when you add everything up, it quickly adds-up, whether it is all the smart dimmers/switches, the lighted GFCI outlets, or even the multiple Wyze cameras and amazon/google smart speakers.

I used to leave my computers (work/home/PS4) on all the time, but with Sense I changed my habits and now turn them off when not in use. That’s a good 50-100W of savings. There are things one can do nothing about, for example my Radon pump/extractor that pulls is 80W continuously.

To help Sense with detection, I also acquired the extra 2CTs for DCM (dedicated circuit monitoring) and 7× TP-Link KP115 smart plugs. Those are programmable and I use them to turn power on/off on specific devices.

So, yes, Sense does its job, but in the end it’s a bit of a hobby and there is lots of learning involved (that’s the fun part). I know it can be used to automate some tasks, but I believe Hass.io is more suited for that.

On the Sense community website, some people have an ‘Always On’ usage of about 80W. So, if one has time, it’s a good ‘target’ to optimize/minimize power consumption. Though, if you have a family and not too reponsible young kids … good luck tracking power abusers.

You’re right there is some ‘novelty’ about it and that’s one aspect I liked very much. After a while though, this is a ‘hobby’, and like most hobbies, the interest tends to fade a little bit after a while. I like what you mentioned about using Sense to detect when the Dryer is done, that opens many such opportunities.

Check out Sense’s Community web site, there are many discussions along these lines, and great learning.

All the Best,
JB