Sense: A Little Dongle That Takes Your Energy Bill to Task

1. Plug this in. 2. Save money.

August 9, 2016 9:00 am

What if your walls could talk?

Turns out, they do. As do your appliances — you just can’t hear them.

But Sense can. And it’s going to save you a lot of money.

Sense is a home energy monitor system that detects your devices based on their unique electronic signal. And you don’t need to have a smart home to use it — Sense can detect and identify any electric appliance, even if they’re decades old.

To start, install the Sense on your electric panel and connect the monitor to your home WiFi. After you download the iPhone app, you can, as they say, “track your watts like footsteps.”

The app shows you a breakdown of how you’re using electricity by answering questions like how many hours of TV you’re watching and what time of day you use the most energy. Each appliance appears in a colored circle on your screen, with the option to customize the names. A couple of taps and you can see specifics about how much energy each appliance is using and when.

A major plus of Sense is noticing trends in your electricity usage. You can identify patterns based on day, week, month or year. Essentially, Sense lays out the data giving you the ability to see where your money is going to help limit overspending.

The monitor weighs less than half a pound and uses less than five watts of energy.

Other benefits of Sense include letting you know when your laundry is done, giving you a heads up before an appliance breaks and the ability to spy on your kids … You know, just to make sure they get home on time.

You can preorder Sense for $249 (or, if you’re a solar guy, you can get an expanded Sense Solar for $299). It’s currently only compatible with iPhones, but an Android version is due by the end of the month. The products ship in September.

Until then, remember to turn the lights off when you leave the house (Tom Bodett excepted).

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.