Sense Blog
clay kiln energy savings

Getting Fired Up About Sense with Fred_W

Learn how one Sense customer spotted a problem before it became a disaster.

At Sense, we are on a mission to help our users save energy and money in their homes. Unlike traditional methods that include scattered tools like discrete wattage meters, data loggers, elaborate circuit-level monitoring systems, and comparatively low-resolution smart meters. Sense delivers you actionable intelligence for your entire home, all in one place.

While we certainly have ideas about how Sense can help in your home, we want to hear your stories. To get the ball rolling, we recently reached out to some Sense customers to hear how they are saving money by reducing energy in their homes. We look forward to sharing these inspiring stories with you over the coming months. Here’s one such story.


Fred_W has been a member of the online Sense Community since 2017. If you post there, you might remember a story he shared last April. He and his wife are potters, and they use a computer-controlled electric clay kiln to fire their work. Usually, the kiln shuts off on its own, without any human intervention. However, while away from home briefly, Fred noticed in the Sense app that the kiln was still running. Hours after it should have automatically shut down, the kiln was still burning at 2,200F and pulling 8,500W. A phone call to a friendly neighbor helped to avoid a potentially disastrous problem.

As Fred told me, “The kiln would have continued to run (like an oven with the door opened) until something inside it failed or the building caught fire.” Fred’s attention to the Sense app and quick thinking saved the $2,400 kiln at a minimum, and his family’s home and possessions in the worst case scenario. The culprit was simple human error: Fred initially suspected that a failed kiln controller was at fault but he discovered that the lid had simply not been shut.

In my opinion, the $300 I invested in Sense saved our $2,000 kiln and maybe even our home.

The runaway kiln was dramatic, but Fred’s story with Sense starts earlier. He originally bought Sense to get a better handle on his overall energy usage for both his home and pottery business. With insights from Sense, Fred has implemented a variety of changes in his home that have led to cumulative savings: $56/year from a fluorescent to LED bulb conversion, $41/year from shutting down PCs when not in use, $26/year from better managing TV and AV equipment, and he reduced his Always On load from 180W to 85W. His savings don’t stop there: Fred saved an additional $29/year by giving up a beer fridge and storing his six packs in the main fridge — a true sacrifice in the name of energy savings!

Beyond these, some of Fred’s savings are less easily quantified, but no less significant:

I have caught the oven left on from warming something up for dinner, a PC left with the screensaver showing photos, and a warming tray my wife uses in the studio, or something that gets me out of bed to investigate what is using 100 watts of juice. I have found my PCs still on doing software updates, outside lights left on, and so on.

Fred’s experience with device detection hasn’t been perfect, and he’d like to see every device in his home identified, but Sense has given him actionable insights and, with a little effort, he’s put those to use to save money and energy, while keeping his home safer. Fred closed out our chat with a pointed observation:

It is hard to improve on what you can’t measure. Sense provides a way to measure usage in more detail than your electrical bill. It tells you areas where you can make big improvements.

Indeed! It’s hard to make real, useful changes without deep insights. Sense delivers those insights — real time and historic, in dollars and in kilowatts, both at the scale of your entire home and down to individual devices. Combined with a proactive spirit of discovery, Sense gives you the power to save.

How have you saved with Sense? Be on the lookout for a new way to share your story with other Sense customers and those still wondering how they can benefit from Sense. Coming soon!

 

About the Author: Ryan LaLiberty is the Community Manager at Sense. You can find him on community.sense.com as RyanAtSense.