Sense convinced renters to switch to gas heat

The last straw that convinced me to buy Sense was a $400 energy bill when last year it was under $100 for the same month. This year we began renting our basement and a backyard trailer hookup to generate extra income. We underestimated how much energy they may use, and we needed Sense to help us make sense of where we could reduce our bill, and this result didn’t take long.

The day after we had Sense installed, I could tell that for some reason, we were using a lot of energy at night while we were asleep. Sense had not yet identified any devices, but we could easily see with the Sense graph that the energy spiked around 10pm, and dropped again around 8am.

With the trailer renters out of town, we knew that these times correlated closely with when our basement renters were checking on the trailer cat, and when they were turning on the trailer space heater for the cold night. At this point, it was easy to verify we found the culprit by turning the heater on and off while watching the graph drop and spike. At roughly 1500W, we calculate it was costing us at least $60/month. What’s even worse is our suspicion that the trailer renters were not turning it off during the day when they were home, possibly costing us over $120/month.

At this point, less than 2 weeks after installation, Sense has identified 11 devices (2 new devices today). It is easily going to pay for itself with just this one aha moment, but I’m confident our savings has only just begun.

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4 Replies to “Sense convinced renters to switch to gas heat”

  1. Am I misunderstanding something? The headline seems all wrong, as I cannot see where a switch to gas heat is the change.

    To me, this looks like an education opportunity between landlord and renter to have the thermostat on the space heater turned down, and possibly use a timer (heavy duty for 15 amps!) to prevent the space heater from running during the day.

    As well, I bet the renters don’t realize how much fire danger an unattended space heater presents. Oil-filled radiant heater set to no higher than 700 watts and placed two feet from any walls or combustibles should reduce most of the risk. Don’t use the type with a fan and exposed resistance elements.

  2. Agreeing with Charles, this is why you generally want renters to pay for their own utilities.

    As for heating, a heat pump will generally be cheaper than a gas fired heater (depending of course on what you pay for those two things). A decent sized heat pump could possibly do both your own home and the rental.

    Thank you kindly.

  3. By showing his renters the alarming cost of using this electric space heater and the impact on the bill he paid as the landlord, he was able to convince them to use their own gas heat.

  4. I have since discovered that the story author shared this story on the Sense Community forum, and that narrative does specifically call out that the renters switched to gas heat at the landlord’s request.

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