Tech Junkie Review – Sense Smart Home Energy Monitor

When you plug something into the wall most of us don’t really think much about it.  Sure, we try to turn off lights and keep the thermostat at a reasonable setting to save energy.  Are you really saving much energy?  Are there appliances or gadgets in your house over-juicing energy that you don’t even know about?  That’s exactly what Sense is designed to watch out for.  It’s a smart energy monitor for you home that I took for a test.

Hardware

Sense is a small orange box that is installed inside of your electrical panel.  You could install it yourself but it's not a job for the faint of heart.  We're talking electricity here.  Most people will want to hire a local electrician.  It's a quick job for someone who knows what they're doing and won't cost much.  Once the box is installed it's hidden inside of your panel.  The only visible evidence will be the small wi-fi antenna that sticks out of the bottom.  This is what it looked like on the bottom of my panel.

Patience is a virture

Once the Sense is setup, it takes some time to get it's mojo.  Sure, it will show you how much power is flowing through your panel but it's going to take at least 24 hours before it starts detecting any devices.  2 weeks after the initial install and I'm still seeing new devices in my home pop up in the app.  It looks for unique patterns in electrical usage to identify what's a toaster, the ice maker on the fridge or an iron.  Once it detects it, the Sense can start tracking usage for each specific device.

So, how did it work?

It was fun to watch new devices pop into my app!  Most of them were identified correctly.  I did have to rename my iron that was identified simply as a heating source.  I was also surprised that it recognized my ice maker on my refrigerator.  It would literally pop up for the 5 seconds that I pushed in the ice dispenser button to fill a glass.

Not everything was perfect

Some devices were identified but were also getting confused with other things in my home.  Sometimes it will say that I used the iron even though I know that nobody was even home at the time.  Clearly, it is confusing something else for my iron.  This didn't happen a lot but enough with a few devices that I noticed it.

Conclusion

This thing is cool!  Super cool.  Identifying unique electrical patterns can not be an easy science and obviously there are still some kinks to work out.  None the less, I was blown away by how well this worked, how cool it was to see my actual usage and shocked by how much energy some things actually use.  My iron uses more energy than my entire house when it's turned on.  This could be a great way to figure out what is jacking up that electrical bill or just a way to keep an eye on your overall usage.

Sense sells for $299 and is available on the Sense website or through Amazon.

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