Sense data leads to house main drain pipe leak

Device: Other Device
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Very slow leak in old cast iron house main drain pipe that runs through basement crawl space where a dehumidifier is located to keep humidity low. Called plumber to replace pipe. Savings difficult to estimate since it should include prevention of future erosion of drain pipe and serious damage to joists etc.

An earthquake burst my well and Sense caught it

Device: Water Pump
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On 7/4 we had a 6.4 earthquake in Ridgecrest. My pressure pump was running nonstop.
I saw this on my Sense App. I wandered around my home and discovered my deep well tank had burst spreading 4500 gal on the desert

I knew I needed a visit from my well maintainer. I called first thing on 7/5 and they said go get a replacement tank,ASAP. Bought my tank at 8 am the 5th. They delivered the tank on the 6th and it was installed on the 8th.
My installer said there were no more tanks in the area.

3 weeks later the hardware store said they were getting their first delivery of tanks.

Without support from my Sense monitor, I might have been without water for 3 weeks.

My total cost for the new tank was $4000, installed

Identified a short cycling AC!

Device: AC
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I’ve had sense for a week, and it (mostly) identified my AC after 2 days. I quickly noticed that my AC was starting and stopping a lot. For example, yesterday between 1 and 2 it cycled 6 times, running for as little as 5 minutes at a time and cycling back on with as little as a 4 minute break.

I did some research, and learned that short run times are inefficient and don’t let the system do a great job of dehumidifying the house (mine is very humid!). Also, short cycling is bad for certain components of the HVAC, causing them to break down more quickly.

After some investigation, I’ve determined that the short cycling is being caused by having many zones in my house, having a slightly oversized unit, and having thermostats with a 0.5 degree unadjustable swing differential. To fix this, I am buying new thermostats for each zone with adjustable swing differentials, which I plan to set to 1.5 degrees. This should make my AC run longer to reach the cooler temperature and take longer before needing to run again.

Reducing short cycling should make my house more comfortable by better controlling the humidity. It also should immediately save me a little bit of money by letting my unit run more efficiently and reducing the amount my dehumidifiers need to run. Finally, it should save me money in the long run by reducing the wear on my HVAC from too many startups.

Sense keeps my family cool.

Device: AC
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Long story short, my central AC compressor went out last July on probably some of the hottest weeks of the year. While there was probably no way to prevent this on a 20 year old unit, Sense helped my troubleshoot the issue and to get a technician in as soon as possible to replace my whole HVAC system.

Overactive Well Pump

Device: Water Pump
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While I was on vacation I noticed that my well pump was starting every few minutes. I contacted my neighbor who found one of my lawn watering valves was stuck open. Got lucky … didn’t drown my lawn.

Saved $100/mo with a new well pump

Device: Pump
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Sense identified my well pump and with a generic name (heat source). 

The pipe that was drawing water in the well had a hole rusted through. The pump would only get up to 32 PSI and never shut off. I didn’t realize it because I still had water pressure to all my sinks. I had to replace 100 feet of pipe and at the same time I replaced the pump. It was 22 years old. Sense shows the energy usage before the pump was changed (running 24 hours a day) was about $5 a day. Or, $150 a month. Now after it was changed about $0.50 a day. Or, $15.00 a month. We knew our electric bill was much higher for six months or longer, but it was hard to pin point. Now, with Sense connected we will now save over $100 a month. 

Sense saved my heat pump from self-destruction

Device: Heat Pump
Make: Trane
Model: XR17
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While I’m away from home, I like to check in on what’s happening at home using the Sense app. One such time last year, I was having a beer in Mexico City while my house was sitting empty back in the US. Expecting to see few devices running back at home, I was surprised to see a large amount of power being used, to the tune of 5kW. The pattern of power usage showed a large device turning on and off. This seemed very strange, so I looked at the usage pattern closer. A large device would turn on, increase in power usage linearly for a minute or two, then turn back off, only to repeat again a few minutes later. I concluded that this must be the heat pump based on the size of the power use and the ramping-up behavior, and that a safety cutoff must be activating to turn the unit off every now and then. A call to my next-door neighbor confirmed my theory, and he temporarily solved the problem by pulling the cutout.

Ultimately, my Nest thermostat was the cause of this problem, as it had commanded the heat pump compressor to turn on constantly, without turning on the indoor blower. This caused an overpressure condition that cycled the compressor on and off as the high pressure switch activated and deactivated. I was glad to catch it in time that my compressor didn’t burn out!

Sense saved me from a fire.

Device: Freezer
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Sense alerted me to abnormal cycle rate of my deep chest freezer. Come to find out that it was shorting out and the insulation was slowly burning each time. It was all black and charred and I thought the burning smell was the fan above it. This saved my house as it’s a new freezer with R-600 which is explosive. Thank you sense and saving my house I JUST bought 3 weeks ago.

Sense helped me identify a failure in my AC unit

Device: Other Heater
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Sense was telling that a 1500W load was on full time with about a 50% duty cycle and Sense identified it as the Emergency Heat in the AC unit. I live in Florida and emergency heat only comes on if it is too cold for the heat pump to operate effectively. It turned out the relay that turned on the emergency heat was shorted closed and the heat was always on and the over temp sensor is what was causing the 50% duty cycle. Once it was fixed my bill dropped by about 1/2.