Sense Blog

Three Ways the Sense App Keeps Your Home Safe

The Sense app can help you track down energy wasters in your home and save money on your electricity bill. But did you know it can also help keep your home safer? Here are three ways the Sense app reduces risks in your home.

Sense alerts you to dangers

How many times have you left the house and wondered “Did I unplug the curling iron?” Or did I turn off a clothes iron or leave the space heater running? Sense can be the memory aid you need.

In the Sense app, you can select a device you want to track, choose the gear icon, and select the Manage tab. You can add basic notifications (Alert me when the device turns on/off) and custom notifications like “Alert me if my iron is on for 30 minutes.” The alert will pop up in your Sense app to remind you. You can’t control devices from the Sense app, but Sense integrations with smart plugs give you that added level of control if you want it.

There’s another simple way to check on your home. In the Sense app, look at the Power Meter view. A hot device like a toaster or space heater typically runs at more than 1000 watts. If you know your typical home energy usage, you can see that 1000 watt spike and know when the device turned on or off.

A quick check in the app saved one Sense user who left a kiln turned on while he was on vacation. Another customer noticed a spike in usage in the Sense app and discovered that a freezer’s compressor had overloaded, heating up the electrical cord. The freezer’s contents were saved and a potential home fire avoided.

Sense tells you what’s on and off

Unless you have the skills of a builder, electrician, plumber and air conditioning specialist, there’s a good chance that your home’s internal operations are a bit of a mystery to you. Even more mysterious are devices that keep your home running but are hidden inside the walls or underground in your yard.

Sense can uncover some of those mysteries by tracking the electrical operation of your home. A good example is sump pumps, well pumps and septic pumps. All three of these pumps are essential to keeping your home in good working order, and if they break down you could end up with flooding into your home or no water in the taps.

Sense does a great job picking up on pumps that turn on and off regularly. By checking the Sense app, you can see how often a pump is running and notice any changes that could turn into messy, expensive disasters. You can also set a notification like this one: “Alert me if my sump pump is off for 30 days.”

A Sense customer in Canada used the Sense app to keep his well pump and septic pump running smoothly. It told him about the operation of pumps that were hidden beneath snow and earth. Another Sense customer saved himself a $200 water bill when he discovered a pump running too often.

Sense shares data about electrical issues

At Sense, we’re always looking for ways to make peoples’ homes work better. The Sense Labs Power Quality project measures the electricity coming into your home from the grid and identifies fluctuations in voltages outside of a normal range.

You can find the Power Quality project in the Labs on your Sense app. It will tell you if your electricity is experiencing dips and spikes that are outside your home’s normal range and shows a comparison of your power quality to other Sense users.

There are many reasons for widely varying power quality, including stresses on local grids by nearby large businesses. But power quality issues can also indicate an issue with the power feed from the utility to your home or the wiring inside the home. If you’re also seeing flickering lights, for instance, you may have an electrical issue to address.

Above: Power Quality graph from Sense Labs depicting a home with consistent power quality

Understanding how your home works can keep it running reliably and safely. Those insights can give you peace of mind and might even prevent costly messes.