Saved thousands in meat, maybe my house.

Device: Freezer
Make: Montgomery Wards
Model:
Estimated Savings:

While on vacation I opened the sense app several times to see my solar production and noticed a 1500watt other bubble that on. The bubble kicked on the day after we left and was on all day which puzzled me. The next day, I sent my brother to my house and had him flip breakers off one at a time until the bubble disappeared. Which lead him to my pantry which had an old Montgomery wards standup deep freezer. The deep freezer’s compressor locked up and didn’t have any type thermal overload. It was also full of food. My brother said he couldn’t touch the compressor and even the cord was really hot. He moved the meat (1 cow, 1 pig and random stuff) into several family members freezers. The new freezer I purchased also takes about 15% of the energy to run than the old one. This was also before labs…. My brother also bought a sense meter a few days later.

Sense identifed a wasteful water heater

Device: Water Heater
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

moved into my home in 2018. We have a gas water heater with a re-circulation system in our house. I always knew something wasn’t right with the re-circulation system, but I hadn’t been able to quantify it. Even when the re-circulation pump was on a timer or smart plug (I tried both), we had hot water instantly at every tap 24×7.

I tried a little internet research, insulated the hot water lines I could get to (most are in the walls), but largely gave up because I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

When I installed Sense over the summer, I was able to quickly see what was going on. I could see the electric usage from the water heater power vent fan. It was turning on 10 minutes of every hour! I then dug into the math on my gas bill, and figured that this water heater was costing me over $450/yr in gas and electricity. Not to mention premature wear on the equipment.

I dug back into internet research and figured it out it was likely a bad check valve. After being ghosted by two plumbers, I just went to Lowe’s and got $50 worth of tools and parts to fix it.

Now the re-circulation system is set to work on a scheduled smart plug. It runs for 4 hours a day. I’m ordering a few smart buttons as well so I can turn it into a true “on-demand” re-circulation system.

I expect this change will cut my water heater expense by 50-60%.

Notification Triggers Lake Pump Inspection

Device: Pump
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

Thought I’d share a quick success story for my Sense device.

Today I got a notification that my lake pump had been abnormally ‘on’ for longer than normal. Since installing Sense a few months back and the device correctly identifying my lake pump, I’d been observing its on/off pattern. I noticed that the pump was usually on for about an hour each time it activated. So I took the opportunity to set a notification that would alert me if the pump ever stayed on for 90 minutes, thinking that would be a sign of something going wrong. Well, today that notification came!

It triggered me to do a visual inspection of our 300’ waterline that runs down our cliff. I thought to myself that there must either be a break somewhere, that the pump wasn’t working correctly (although Sense showed me its power consumption had not changed), or the lower lake levels had plugged or kinked the intake. And sure enough, I found a broken connection in the waterline! Took me about an hour to replace the section and things were back to normal!

Well Pump stuck on

Device: Water Pump
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

I found a buildup of minerals in the well pump pressure switch diaphragm affecting both the cut on and cut off pressures. It was a 30-50 PSI factory set switch and was running from 20-75psi due the the buildup! I took the pressure switch apart and thoroughly cleaned the diaphragm parts, after cleaning it was running in the 20 psi range but was 50-70 psi. I adjusted the pressure settings to 30-60 as I am okay with the pressure drop and allows the pump to cycle less as opposed to the 40-60 I would normally set for a 2 story house.

Sense exposed a billing error

Device: Other Device
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

We installed Sense in the middle of an issue with the well pump trigger which had broken in an on position. Cost us thousands, and Sense helped us narrow down the problem. But more recently we had a surprising surge in electricity consumption that would have gone unchecked without Sense. With two years of data in hand I could show the utility that most months Sense and their readings and estimates were very similar. Just 3-5% off. And then it jumped to 600-740% off. Without the data from Sense we would have had a harder time making a case for an adjustment. They knocked 10,000 kwh off our recent bill. I noticed a similar pattern a year ago that I will be addressing next with them.

Sense identified solar array problem

Device: Other Device
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

Some of the microinverts in my solar array were putting out errors. Not unusual on cloudy days, and I was told they might have stopped reporting but were still giving power. But when I looked at Senese trends there was a clear step down on the max solar output. And it coincided perfectly with the date and time the microinverters last reported. Put in a warranty claim with the manufacturer and got free replacements.

Saved money and prevented a fire

Device: Dryer
Make: Samsung
Model:
Estimated Savings:

Shortly after receiving my Sense I began experimenting with everything in my house. During my adventure I discovered an odd behavior coming from my dryer. It would turn on and off frequently without a pattern one would normally see. After observing it for a short period I realized the heating element located inside the dryer would spike up and then settle and turn off almost immediately, so I decided to take a look. I pulled out the dryer and checked the venting. There was a small amount of lint but nothing significant. I then decided to go outside and check the vent termination. This is where the culprit was located. The vent screen was completely clogged, this trapped more than 90% of the heat inside of the vent thus causing the heating element to overheat frequently. Once I cleaned the vent screen, I also decided to clean the entire vent and discovered a large quantity of lint.
When I was finished, I fired it back up and it ran smoothly. I would have never discovered this without the Sense appliance, The investment was well worth it.

Identified a poor Fujitsu install immediately

Device: Heat Pump
Make: Fujitsu
Model:
Estimated Savings:

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.

Sense helped us avoid food poisoning

Device: Oven
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

Smart oven had been set up to cook a roast over several hours during the day. About 4 hours in, we noticed the oven was off. There was some residual heat inside, but we had no idea how long it had been cooking versus off. There were no smart oven logs to help either. We could turn it back on and hope it had not been in the food poisoning zone for long, but there had to be a way to find out for sure.