Sense Blog

5 Ways that Sense Users Diagnosed Broken Air Conditioners

In the heat of summer, a malfunctioning AC unit can be a scary moment for a homeowner. During hot weather, finding an available HVAC technician could be tricky, especially on short notice. With Sense, you can identify potential motor stalls in home appliances that use large motors (including most AC units) using the Motor Stalls project in the Sense Labs section of the app. Some Sense users have shared their stories about diagnosing (and in some cases, repairing) their AC with the help of the app in a variety of ways. Here are some of our favorite stories from Sense users!

Jake A.

“Here is a win for Sense. Our AC quit working last night and I wasn’t sure what was going on. The vents were blowing cool air but the house temp just kept climbing. I checked the furnace blower, the circuit breaker, and the AC unit outside. As far as my untrained eye could tell, everything was working. That’s when I thought to check the energy usage and saw this. Every ten minutes or so we would get a 19,000 watt spike. The spike disappeared when I shut off the AC unit. Guess it’s time to find a HVAC repair man during this heat wave…”

Verdict: Replaced start capacitor

Charles P.

“Enabled Sense Labs, and was alerted that a device was stalling immediately upon activation of the feature (by looking at it in the app).”

“Definitely appreciate the feature, as it’s likely saved us from additional repairs in the near future! Given that the heat pump has probably been stalling for a while without my awareness, some damage is probably already done though.”

Verdict: Replaced start and run capacitor

Seth

“My heat pump wattage use looked odd starting last night. I chalked it up to the heat running instead of the AC, but today my AC started up and the watt graph looked wrong, and the unit sounded wrong (my office is right next to the outdoor unit). Turns out the outdoor fan wasn’t running (it was trying but failing). Turns out I had 2 issues; one was a bad capacitor (I think), the other was a wire that was pinched and shorting to the frame, and had nearly broken completely!”

Rick

“I’m here in the desert where it’s 117 degrees. AC has been cranking most of the day. Around 3:21 PM, I noticed the blower for the furnace is going but the air doesn’t feel as cold. I checked my Sense app and noticed the blower is on and running but not the AC compressor.”

“I lowered the temp and went outside and still the compressor wasn’t turning on. I shut off the thermostat, closed the fuse on the main panel for AC, and pulled the fuses on the compressor. I cleaned them up, put them back in, popped the AC fuse at the main, and turned on the thermostat. By that time, the indoor temp had risen to 80 but it started working again. All told, about 20 minutes to get the AC back on. I’m sure I got lucky with the fix but it was the Sense power meter and bubbles that helped me figure this out. Thanks a million!”

Verdict: Compressor not running

Nick H.

“We went from $350+ to $150+ !! We found out for the last five years our new house had a hidden electrical issue that was costing the previous owners an average of $ 500 a month! The connection to the HVAC was shorting out and causing the heat strips to turn on..”

Verdict: Faulty wiring

Has Sense helped you diagnose a problem with a home appliance? Share your story with us on Sense Saves!