baseboard heater sky rocketed electric bills

Device: Other Heater
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Model:
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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.

I Don’t Need That Extra Monitor All Day Long!

Device: Computer
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I’ve been a self-proclaimed energy miser for most of my life.

But I apparently am not as frugal as I could be, and Sense helped me figure that out!

An example is turning off an extra monitor that I use for my work-at-home office when I am not using it. I find an extra monitor to be very helpful with my productivity.

I can reference a document while creating an email response or a PowerPoint presentation. The larger screen allows me to see more of a large Excel spreadsheet. But what did NOT occur to me was that I didn’t need to leave it on all day long!!! Much of my work does not require an extra monitor, yet I turned it on in the morning, and left it on all day long, needlessly burning electricity.

Now, I turn it on when I need it…and turn it off when I don’t!

This probably saves me about 100W for 8 hours a day…

Real implementation of AI/ML

Device: Other Device
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Most technology firms seem to be using Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] all day long and the future in computing. Sense on the other hand, instead of stating it as the future has made it the PRESENT.

Sense is great al learning about devices by itself in an extremely noisy environment ( read about how Sense device detection works). In my case, it was able to correctly identify the following devices which was astonishing
1. Condensate Pump
2. Microwave light bulb
3. Refrigerator Light Bulb

My story points to these devices, as most of these devices turn ON for fairly less than a minute. So it’s not just about being able to detect the big appliances like an Air Conditioner or Furnace Fan or washing machine or heater.

In my case, I was ready to replace my Condensate Pump thinking it’s faulty and the reason for water around my FURNACE and in my garage. I put in a bucket to catch water, but Sense ENABLED me to see how many times a day it was running. I could then look-up videos on YouTube to clean my pipes ( and actually redesign the outlet from the HVAC to the condensate pump.

There was still a lingering question – I need data to know if the condensate pump still works, and how much have things changed, because of a change in cleaning and updating the pipes.

I could see that my condensate pump worked about 12 times as opposed to 3 times a day, and the run time increased from 12-14 seconds to 19-29 seconds. I knew at that point that I can use data to rely and know if something is going bad.

I also had a Furnace Fan going bad, and suddenly drawing 2x the amount of energy to run. Sense was able to detect it as a “new” furnce fan. Had some HVAC issues, and the HVAC technician spend about 5 hours to finally deduce that the FAN was going bad, causing the issue with cooling.

Now Sense Enabled me to look into historical data, and current data to confirm if the HVAC technician was right or was just looking to make more money from the current gig.

SENSE EMPOWERS AND ENABLES for now. It will soon be able to predict about failing devices much better

Small Load setting = BIG Savings

Device: Dryer
Make: Kenmore
Model: 796.80272900
Estimated Savings:

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.

Sense paid for itself in 1st month!

Device: Water Heater
Make: State
Model: EDT802ORT
Estimated Savings:

We live in Massachusetts so the cost per kwh is inherently much more expensive than average in USA, hence the higher savings in adopting sense. Our estimated total annual savings will be around $2,500 at current supply distribution rates and our August 2019 vs August 2018 usage. Notably 2018 was much warmer in Massachusetts than in 2019, but as per the sense analysis, seasonality couldn’t explain the delta in savings we achieved… the culprit was the water circulation pump draining the 80 gallon water heater on a continuous basis!

We had been living for one year in our newly constructed home and immediately took issue with our electric bill. Our whole street is comprised of newly built houses by the same builder and all of them were running equally high electric bills yet with no knowledge of the source. We asked for a MassSave inspection and they determined our home to be maxed out in energy efficiency (e.g. appliances, foam insulation, LEDs, etc). We had already turned down the water heater dial to 120º and our Nest HVAC was getting several green leafs, thus we were told our electric bill was the cost of living in a large house with six people and we couldn’t really do much about it.

We installed Sense to try to get a better handle of what was going on. The main culprit turned out to be the water circulation pump which has a small wattage usage but causes the water heater to continuously run. We purchased a Kasa smart plug on put the circulation pump on a timer, which proved to be immediately effective in lowering our wattage usage. However, we realized that the water heater was still running quite a bit during the day so we installed an Aquanta to control for the water heater hours of operation. The end result was a 1st month savings that paid for sense (!!!!).

Everyone tells you that the water heater is one of the main culprits but not even the experts put two and two together. Only with sense did we identify that the water circulation pump was the main problem. Since then we’ve enjoyed calculating other energy savings/costs. For instance, we installed a well which we knew would save us a ton of money in water (and pay for itself in two years as a result) but we didn’t know the cost of running the well pump. Sense didn’t quite identify the well pump yet (b/c it struggles with variable motors) but we were able to see that when the irrigation went on it correlated with a 2kwh spike in sense’s Power Meter. Other benefits have continued to pop us as I now know how long our cleaning service actually vaccums the floors b/c it is its own separate device. We also teach our kids about energy use as sense can tell when they leave their bathroom lights on. The list goes on and on. No doubt there are plenty of opportunities for improvement but it already paid for itself and their customer service is absolutely phenomenal.

Creative Uses for Sense

Device: Garage Door
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

I have a, hopefully, temporary mobility challenge and my wife has been handling the grocery shopping solo for the past few weeks. I help out when I can, but if I wait until she is at the patio doors to get up to assist, it takes me too long to get there.

Sense helped with faulty Solar Water Heater System

Device: Water Heater
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

I discovered that my solar water heater system was not working properly. I noticed that during the middle of a summer day, the heat exchanger was not circulating water. A bit of YouTube searching pointer to a possible temperature sensor problem and sure enough, the wiring at the roof was broken. After fixing it, the system started working.

Sense helped me utilize my solar energy

Device: AC
Make:
Model:
Estimated Savings:

During the summer, we know the majority of our energy costs are from cooling our home. Temperatures don’t get below 100 until after dark some days. We have solar panels, and I realized through the Sense app that I need to be cooling my house more before dark, while the sun is out!

Sense Is Helping Us Become Net Zero!

Device: Other Device
Make: Solar Panels
Model:
Estimated Savings:

We installed solar panels just before the end of last year (2018) and installed a new Sense Monitor at the same time. We have 15 rooftop panels on our old DC rowhouse, a 4.875 kW array in total. Our goal is to see if we can be a net zero energy home by the end of 2019.

Our electric bill while it varies from month to month can be as much as $1,000 per year especially after AC use during the hot DC summers. As a sustainability guru and Architect, when I heard that Sense was a smart home energy monitor capable of detecting appliances and other home devices, I was all in and ready to get one installed.