Follow the Breadcrumbs with Device Usage History

Along with the timeline and notifications, device usage history is an important tool to use in identifying unnamed devices in your home.

With Sense's machine learning based energy disaggregation technology, it is often able to recognize the type of electrical device, like a heat element or motor, but may need some help identifying exactly what this device is. Luckily we have an active community of Sense users that are helping us crowdsource this kind of information and take device detection to the next level.

Device usage history is one important tool to use in trying to put a name to an unnamed device. With device usage history, newly detected devices include the data that we used to detect them, like their recent usage statistics and trends. This means when ‘Motor 1’ is detected, you have a set of clues ready to go to help solve the mystery and identify what the device is! Once you’ve narrowed down what it may be, you can rename the unknown device, changing how it appears in your app and helping to improve device detection for the entire Sense community.

Types of unnamed devices - what could they be?

Device usage history in hand, kick off your detective work with a few examples of devices that might appear as unnamed:

Unnamed heat

Kitchen: Hot plate, electric kettle, toaster, coffee maker

Bathroom: Hair dryer, curling/flat iron, heat lamp

Bedroom: Electric blanket, waterbed, humidifier

Living room: Television

Any room: Space heater, baseboard heating, incandescent light

Utility: Dryer, hot water heater (electric)

Unnamed motor

Kitchen: Mixer, blender, coffee grinder, exhaust fan, dishwasher, garbage disposal

Bathroom: Ventilation fan

Bedroom: Fan, humidifier

Living room: Fan, or pump in a water fountain or fish tank

Any room: Vacuum

Utility: Washing machine, sump pump, HVAC, hot water heater (gas)

Note: any of the above could be a single component within a device. For example, most dryers have both a heating element to heat up the air and a motor element to tumble the clothes. As Sense continues to learn both about your house and devices in general, these may be combined and renamed by our intelligent modeling system.

Need help identifying an unknown device?

Now that you have some idea of what to look for, these strategies will help you get more information and zero in on your unnamed device in the Sense app.

Timeline Review: Scroll through your timeline to see when an unnamed device is firing. Is it at regular intervals? The same time of day each day? If your timeline is too crowded, temporarily remove some of the devices that appear frequently (ie. a fridge or furnace).

Device statistics: In the Devices screen, you can select any individual device and see data about it like its Average Run Time, Usage this month, Trends across the past week, and a Power meter display for the past 24 hours. This is also the view where you can rename the device, enable alerts, and choose whether or not you want it displayed on your timeline.

Notifications: In the Device Details view you can enable notifications for when a specific device turns on or off. When you see a notification for it, stop and think: what may have just turned on? If you are not home, it might be something automatic, like your hot water heater or ice maker. If you are home, did someone just manually start something? The dishwasher? A hair dryer?

Renaming a device

Once you've identified what an unnamed device may be:

  1. Navigate to the Device Details screen. You can do this by either tapping twice on the device bubble, selecting an event from your timeline, or selecting a device from the Devices screen.
  2. Click gear icon at the top right of the screen.
  3. Under the Details tab, rename the device. Sense even gives you some suggested names based on what other members of the community have named similar devices in the past. If you think you know what an unnamed device is but aren’t totally sure, mark it as a ‘Guess’ by tapping the slider that says ‘This is a guess.’ This will automatically append a ‘?’ to the end of your device’s name and will inform our data science team how strongly to weigh your name edit when refining our algorithms. No matter how you enter the name, for the sake of our data scientists and the community names feature, try to use at least one standard device word or phrase (correct spelling is appreciated!). For example: change “Heat 2” to “Basement Dishwasher", not to “Kenmore 1234” or “Magical dish device."

While you're at it...

  1. Tap 'Type' to identify the device's category and thereby change its icon.
  2. Help refine the device database even further by adding the 'Make' and 'Model' of your particular device.
  3. Add the location and additional information under the 'My Notes' section for your own information. That content does not inform the device detection algorithms, but it will appear in the device bubbles for your information.
  4. While your in the Device Details screen, you can navigate to the 'Manage' tab and choose whether you'd like this device to appear on your timeline, whether you'd like to receive notifications when the device turns on or off, and even set a custom notification.

What about devices that Sense hasn't discovered yet?

You can always use a smart plug to help Sense monitor devices in your home that the machine learning algorithms haven't been able to discover on their own. Not only does this give you the immediate satisfaction of tracking that device, setting custom alerts, etc., you're also helping inform the Sense algorithms with ground truth data that will help improve the accuracy and speed of device detection for all Sense users! This is just one of the ways we'll all be able to work together to crowdsource new energy insights and make the Sense technology even more powerful. Remember that even before Sense discovers devices in your home, it’s easy to see how much energy they consume just by turning them on and off and watching the Power Meter in real time