Every electrical device has a power consumption signature. If your service is a split-phase 120/240 V residential panel up to 200 A (and many studios are), a Sense is compatible. About the size of a paperback book, Sense includes two sensors that clamp around the main lines (no splicing required) for monitoring. Sense needs to monitor the voltage across both legs of your electrical system. Installing on a 240 V breaker for the unit ensures that this is done correctly. Don't worry about draw; Sense operates on less than one-tenth of an amp. Next, connect with Sense via phone or tablet Bluetooth, add your Wi-Fi network credentials, and wait for the data to come in. Sense continually monitors current draw, sampling millions of times per second. Its machine learning detection algorithms work to distinguish one appliance from another. Over time, Sense learns what is what. You can also give custom names, like "Tube Compressor" or "Console Power Supply" that are not common appliance categories.

Why do this? I have three reasons that I did. Safety: Seeing changes in the energy usage of some items can warn you before they fail. A typical story is the electric water heater that doubles or triples its draw up to 12 months before it fails. You can avoid a potential fire and save electricity by replacing the dying appliance early. Cost: Your mind will melt when you learn how many things are always using power. You know those wall-warts used in some audio gear? Those draw even if your device is not on. Data: Sense will be a neutral observer to watch, which tells you whether buying a smart thermostat saves you money on your utility bill (spoiler alert: they can if used correctly), as well as other conservation steps you try.

Sense claims that most users save enough electricity to pay for the device within the first year. I was skeptical of that claim, but nine months in, I'm starting to be convinced. Should it prevent a fire, or warn of an appliance failing, the value skyrockets. I stalked them and waited for a $50 sale coupon. If you're interested, that is a prudent route. They also make a version to monitor solar panels if you have those on-premises. I strongly suggest visiting their website to confirm if Sense will work with your facility. If you're in doubt, please hire a licensed professional for assistance. If you want to save money, and or reduce wasteful electrical use, Sense is a smart approach.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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