Sense Energy Monitor: Installation

First Impressions on Sense Energy Monitor

Well I'm recently back into the blogging and wasn't in the mode of taking many pictures to share my experience, I'll get better, I promise.

So tonight I installed a Sense home energy monitor in my house.  The product packaging was nice, but not too overdone to make you feel like $10 of your purchase went towards something that will go in the trash.  I do compliment the way the product itself looks though, it looks well put together, has a nice sturdy mount, and comes with what you need for a nice installation.

Physical Installation of the Sense

I'll start with my 100 amp breaker box.  Its packed full and has a sub panel coming out of it with more breakers.  There are wires everywhere and has old corrosion on the neutral bus bar from previous water leaking down the split mains jacket while the previous owners had the house.  Its functional but in sad shape.  I will be swapping it out with a standard 200 amp panel this spring during the electrical portion of a house addition that is soon coming to an end.

The physical install didn't take long, it was basically 5 steps.  If you aren't comfortable with electricity powerful enough to kill you, hire an electrician, it wouldn't be very expensive for the time it will take them.

  1. They ask that you first shut main breaker off on the panel to do your work first, but I didn't want to interrupt my wife's TV show.  I do urge everyone to follow the instructions and take every precaution suggested in the install guide.  I just skipped this step and told my wife to call 911 if the lights flickered.
  2. Next was to remove the breaker cover hook the clamps up to the mains.  I BARELY had enough room to fit the clamps between each main and the rats nest of neutral wires.  I used something non conductive to help push one of the mains to the side so I could fit the clamp in.  Although the mains have a sheath on them, be careful, the mains are live even with the breaker turned off and are capable of putting 100 amps maybe more through you.  If you touch a main screw head 1 inch down from the clamp and a ground somewhere else, your significant other may be calling 911 for you or worse.  I then routed the leftover clamp wires along the side to the bottom of the box.  Make sure your arrows on the clamps point the same direction.
  3. Next hook up the power wire to a 240v breaker.  You can install a new 240 amp breaker if you have room.  Use the smallest amp breaker available to you in this case.  If you don't have room for a new breaker, you can put the leads onto an existing breaker with the  wires already there.  Use the smallest amp breaker you have for this as well, mine was 20 amps.  Make sure you have a good connection, I actually removed my breaker and installed the wires to be sure I was able to properly clamp both wires in each terminal since I was sharing the breaker.  I reinstalled the breaker and routed the wire to the bottom with the clamp wires.  I coiled and tied the wires together so they'll nicely plug into the Sense.
  4. Next I routed the antennae through a knock out hole on the side of the panel and then hooked it up to the Sense.
  5. I mounted the Sense as instructed and connected the clamps and power wire.  I heard the low to high tone after a minute which told me the installation was successful.  Don't forget to install the cover then turn the main breaker back on.

Sense App Install and Connection to Cloud

The setup to get the Sense online was the part that took me the most time.  If you have troubles, I urge you to start with clicking troubleshoot from within the app on the page where you are having the problem.  This is ultimately what helped me and took me to the relevant page, instead of searching for my answer through Google search.  I have also seen many times online that the Sense customer service is great, so that would also be a great avenue if self help doesn't work.

I installed the Android app and went though the setup process to find the Sense.  It couldn't find it trying time after time.  I tried turning my wireless on the phone on and off, but no luck.  I started looking through the troubleshooting on the app and it suggested restarting the Sense, the phone app, and restarting phone Bluetooth.  I could see the Sense in Bluetooth devices, but it only connected successfully after I told my phone to forget the Sense and restarted the Bluetooth.  The rest was a breeze.

Connected and Receiving Data

Once it was detecting power, I went back upstairs and took my first few phone screenshot of what I saw.  One screenshot was I believe when the furnace turned on, and the second my wife heating her dinner up in the microwave.  Her food wasn't hot enough so she went back for another round.  I could clearly see the current pattern change in the app, and is when I knew the purchase would at least do the basics of what I need if nothing else.

Now its time to wait for it to learn devices and tell the app to notify me when it learns new devices.  From what others have said, I expect it to take a few weeks to see results.

I'll post more when I have more to share!

Two microwave heatings

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