I bought my house and the electric company put me on equal payments like previous owner, slowly slowly the equal payment went up to $680 a month. I called the solar company and seeing the bills they mentioned we don’t have any solution that can help with that much usage, and person from solar company suggested i use a device called Sense (used by one of his friend). Got sense installed and very soon it detected the 3 base board heaters in the family room racking up all the usage. immediately turned it off and my equal payments are down to $220 now from $680. My energy consumption is 78% down month over month compare to each month last year. With sense i rooted out old freezer , super old AC. no device at home goes undetected now. Bought a new 2nd holiday house and very first energy related device I will be installing will be a new Sense monitor.
We decided to change out our heating system on our small home. Every company that came pushed mini splits. We had 5 quotes all for about the same price. We took the plunge on a Fujitsu system from a larger company in case we ever needed service we wanted a place that had a decent amount of techs working for them. What we didn’t realize was how poorly trained the sales person was. After settling on 3 zones instead of 4 due to cost and a room we don’t use much we had it installed. Everything was great the day after the install when it was 46F out. Fast forward a week and it’s now 4 deg F at night. I woke up to a 60 degree home and a condensor fan that sounded like it was trying to take off to deep space. I opened the Sense app to see almost 6,000 watts of power being drawn and it had been rapid cycling all night. 3 weeks later of back and forth and another frigid night and the company finally did a full load calc on the house…..OOOPS! They under sized it by 40%. My poorly insulated home uses as much power as a house 3-4 times it’s size. Not only that but the rapid cycling was due to a serious leak at a union. The company had to remove the system as it would have doubled our utility bill unless we started insulating. That’s in the plans but our tired old heating was priority. This device and app provided quick evidence that the system was not right from the beginning. I learned a ton about mini splits due to this debacle and if it weren’t for the immediate evidence I would have been questioning for months if the system was correct.
I live in a high humidity area and my crawlspace requires a dehumidifier. The settings chosen would leave it running almost constantly. It would have cost $600/year to operate. I was able to modify the settings to get it down to about $300/yr. I am planning to seal up the crawlspace and I expect to gain a little more. I never would have known it used so much power.
After I installed Sense, I saw something on the Power Meter using electric every few minutes. The same signature. All day long. 24/7. It was not using a lot of power but the spikes where there and consistent.
After investigating by going around the house and turning things off, we finally found it. It was our Whirlpool water cooler and specifically, it was the heater for the hot water.
I bought a smart plug and initially put the water cooler on a schedule turning it off for about 12 hours/day. But because the water cooler was either on or off, and we use the cold water all day and evening, this was not working. Now we just turn the hot water off in the morning and turn it back on the following morning for my wife’s hot chocolate fix. I still have the whole unit on the smart plug so it only runs about 12 hours/day, however.
We had a very old freezer — more than 35 years old — which we thought was “still going strong”. After installing Sense and get a number of devices recognized, it was clear from the usage that this freezer was not only a major power hog, but the power meter also showed it was running about 55 minutes (or more!) every hour. Recognizing the savings potential, we took our time shopping around and settled on a new ‘basic’ freezer, which “paid for itself” in less than a year; Sense shows that its “on” cycle is ~20 minutes/hour (vs 55!) AND the power while on is about 1/4 of the old one.
Fast forward a year later: our old (but not as old as the freezer) analog fridge (which we loved the inside layout of) started making noises louder than usual at times; cleaning the coils did not help. Looking back over ~6 months at the Sense “Trend” data, it was clear that the “on-cycle” times started getting longer about 6 weeks earlier.
Then, one day it wouldn’t start after a brief power outage … panic! Turned it off, back on — whew. It started back up.
We’d been casually looking at possible replacements, but with the added incentive of the Sense data showing a recent gradual increase in the “duty cycle”, we knew we had to decide on a replacement. It took us almost 3 months to agree on one and get it in — but we didn’t have to make a “rush” to decide and get the quickest one available. We also were able to wait for a good sale (praying the old one wouldn’t die before we could get the new one in!). The new fridge has the latest cooling technology and runs at about 1/3 the monthly cost of the old one … and no scramble to “salvage the contents” of a failed fridge.
While most new replacement appliances will give a power savings, Sense allowed us to plan for replacement and wait for a good sale — which was about an additional $800 savings between the two appliances!
Last year I moved into a new apartment, about 1200 sq. ft. But after the first full month my electricity bill was in excess of $200! Granted it was summertime with 106 degree temps but that just seemed outrageous to me considering I would set my thermostat to 80 when I left for the day and would only lower it to 78 when I was home. Management told me it was because I was on the sunny side of the building and that the previous tenants bill was similar to mine. No matter what I did I could not lower my bill. Fast forward one year later. My last month’s bill was even more outrageous. Given how careful I had been I was convinced either something was powering on constantly or someone else was on my electric meter. After I had the Sense Meter installed I instantly saw something using massive amounts of power even when everything in my home was off (excluding appliances like the fridge). I isolated the usage down to one breaker in my box. I called management and showed them what I was seeing and they sent someone out the next day. Sure enough my upstairs neighbor was tied into my meter! For over a year I was paying for someone else’s power usage. They would constantly leave their A/C running because their bill was always so low every month. I knew something was wrong and I don’t know how else I would have been able to prove my case without Sense! Thank you!
I replaced my old “giant toaster” dryer with a Samsung vent-free heat pump dryer. Before, the old dryer would rack upwards of 6400+ watts (including whatever other normal devices were on at the time) according to Sense.
With this new dryer in the same scenario, the total household wattage does not go over 950 or so. So we’re talking approximately 1/6 the power consumption versus the old dryer. It’s still to early on for Sense to identify the new dryer specifically; it’s a new category for Sense to figure out.
As a Solar Energy contractor our job is to optimize the energy consumption, not just place panels on your roof. Sense has been key in identifying inefficiencies on our customers’ homes, especially the A/Cs and Water Heaters…the biggest Energy Hogs! We’ve been able help our customers maximize their investment by making energy visible even before we install solar, this means they get to see the real impact before and after. Average energy savings are 30% for A/Cs and 10-15% on water heaters. With SENSE their no need to guess where your energy is being used and where your home improvement budget should be invested. Data is not an opinion, it is fact…makes SENSE?
After Sense found our Dryer I was amazed that the unit uses 5kW when drying a normal load. I played with the different drying setting and found the the “small load” setting only uses 3kW and dries the laundry just as well. I have worked in educating my wife to use this small load setting, and she remembers most days. When she doesn’t I have also set my alerts to let me know when the dryer is turned on. If she “forgets” to use the small load setting, I head up to my laundry room and restart the load on the small load setting.
Outside garage lights are six 60 watt candelabra bulbs. When I first got Sense they weren’t detected but I saw that when the lights came on it was about 350 watts. I was leaving them on dusk- dawn but cut back on that schedule after seeing the usage (Thank you Sense!). At the time, replacing them with LED bulbs, based on cost, didn’t make financial sense- as the bulbs blew out I would replace them. A couple months later Sense identified the outside garage lights, I put the Sense app on my wife’s phone and she saw the 348 watt bubble and made a comment on how much energy the outside garage lights used (Thank you again Sense!). Sense estimates $81 per year to run those lights. Since I had a recent reminder about usage from my wife, was in Home Depot and they had the LED lights on a sponsored NH Saves deal. Two 3-Packs cost me $15 ($7.50 each). Each LED light is estimated to use .67 cents per year. Bye-Bye incandescent outside garage lights….