We built the Sense home energy monitor to provide people with information about their homes in the simplest, most useful way possible. And we wanted to make it very easy to get up and running. That’s why we’ve put a lot of thought into the design of the system. And it’s the driving force behind the pre- and post-installation support we offer every customer. So we’ve created easy-to-follow instructions, a step-by-step installation video and an online community where you can stay up to date on improvements and connect with other Sense users.
The Sense monitor is the brains of the operation. It collects and sends data to your smartphone so you can track what devices are on. A qualified electrician can install the Sense monitor in your electrical panel without any rewiring, and usually in less than 30 minutes. Two sensors, or current transformers, snap around the main power leads feeding your home. There’s also an antenna for connecting to Wi-Fi, a power cable for connecting to a 240v breaker, and an external mounting plate. Detailed instructions are included for the electrician installing Sense, and this short video can help them see how simple the job is.
While installation takes just a few easy steps, we’re dealing with live current in your panel. Even with the power switched off, the service mains are always live, which is why electricians take precautions to keep themselves safe.
What’s it Doing in the Electrical Panel?
Sense collects millions of readings every second from the changes in your home’s electrical current. Based on this data, Sense applies advanced machine learning algorithms to identify what devices are drawing power. You’ll see this information in the Sense app for your iOS or Android device, so you’ll know when devices get turned on, how much power they’re using, if they’re running at odd times or if someone is leaving lights on when you’re not home.
Who Should Install Sense?
We take data science seriously. We take live electric current even more seriously. Seriously. The safest route is for a licensed electrician to do the install. They have the training to safely open the panel, add a new circuit breaker where needed, and complete the installation.
How to Find a Qualified Electrician?
A trusted electrician is like a good car mechanic, or a dentist you really like. Once you find the right pro, you’ll know you can count on them whenever the need arises. And while there are no special qualifications needed to install Sense, you’ll still need to want to feel comfortable with whoever you choose. So here are some ways to find an electrician:
- Ask friends who they use
- Call your local home building association
- Try online resources like Angie’s List or Home Advisor
You’ll want to ask some questions to gauge the electrician’s skill level to make sure you’re working with the right person. These resources offer suggestions on what to look for:
Most likely, you’ll want to describe the work that needs to be done when contacting the electrician. You can familiarize yourself with the install guide, and share it with your electrician ahead of time.
Connecting the Sense Monitor to Your Smartphone
Once the monitor has been installed in your electrical panel and powered on, you can download the smartphone app for iOS or Android and get setup right away! The app will initially connect to the Sense monitor using Bluetooth, so you’ll need to be close to the electrical panel and make sure you have Bluetooth enabled on your device. The Sense app will automatically find your Sense monitor and walk you through the steps of connecting to your home’s wireless network.
Once you’re connected, you can start learning about your energy use right away with Sense’s real-time metering. Try turning devices on and off to see what’s drawing the most power, and scout out mystery loads in your home that might be drawing excessive energy even when not in use.
What Happens Next?
During the first 24 hours after installation, the Sense monitor goes through an automated signal check process where it identifies different properties of your home’s electrical system and calibrates the monitor accordingly. From there, the algorithms begin identifying specific devices within your home, and showing you how much energy they’re using. A few devices should begin to appear within the first two weeks, and more will continue to appear over time.
In some cases, Sense may be able to recognize a type of device, like a heat source or motor, but need help identifying exactly what the device is. Take this as an opportunity to do a little detective work and rename the device inside the app when you solve the mystery! Renaming devices not only improves your experience, but also improves device detection algorithms for the whole Sense community. The more homes Sense is installed in home, the better device detection gets!
Get Ready for Sense
Sense is about more than tracking energy usage — it’s truly a new way to understand how your home works. This gets us very excited. We hope you’re just as excited and know you’ll gain valuable insight right from the beginning. So the only thing left to do is plan your installation and get Sense.