Sense helped detect bad neutral

On February 13 at 9:00 PM our lights started flashing, microwave, toaster oven, other devices were going nuts. Our UPS devices we use to protect our electronics were displaying 137 + volts on one leg and less than 110 volts on the other. With Sense I was able too show the power company service rep exactly what was going on. I took screen shots of the readouts as evidence just in case I needed to get reimbursed for any damage. This happen to our house before (10 years ago) so we knew what the problem might be so we looked at the Sense readout right away and found the brown our would cause a 500 watt increase in power consumption. The only damage was a blow fuse on the circuit board ($50) of the hot tube, but it could have been much worse, like TV, LED lights, microwave, oven, refrigerator, solar panels and medical devises. We love our Sense and it gets better everyday. Learn how to use Sense with IFTTT so you can get a message every time the garage door opens.


A bad neutral can be very destructive. I’m glad that you caught it quickly and that Sense was helpful.

We had this happen when our aerial was too close to a tree and the grey squirrels thought it would be a great idea to use the uncoated aluminum neutral conductor for a chew-toy. Needless to say 1 strand of the bundle does a lot less “balancing” than 7. Thankfully the utility (GA power / Southern Company) was able to fix the problem in a matter of a few hours once reported.

FYI you can get a notification to your phone directly from the sense app. You don’t even need IFTTT :stuck_out_tongue:

We use IFTTT to talk too Raspberry Pis and Wink hub. If you are going to take action about what Sense is telling you, you need a device that can do that. I can turn outlets Off remotely if there is a problem using wink and Raspberry Pis. I might be able to trigger the ground fault to the hot tub circuit breaker the next time this happens when I am not home using a Raspberry pi.

I had the EXACT same issue just last week! My lights would dim for just a second anytime something more than 100 watts would come on. I pulled up the Sense Monitor page and watched the input voltages and noticed that one phase was dropping to under 90 volts before it would recover. I called the power company, explained what was going on and a tech was at my door two hours later. He pulled off my meter and attached a device, basically a Megger, that pulled 400amps. As soon as he turned it on, his reading on the machine went haywire and he immediately knew I had a neutral problem. After about 30 minutes of looking, he found that my neutral cable was cut in half. He figured that it was barely holding together and finally snapped when he put the Megger on it. When he got up to it he saw that there were chew marks all over it…he said they find it alot.

On a side note, after they fixed my neutral, I noticed that my power consumption has dropped about 30%. I guess the bad neutral was causing “dirty” power which resulted in Sense and my meter to read the usage incorrectly. Now I know why my power consumption at my new house (1 story, LOTS of insulation) was higher than my previous house (2 stories, almost no insulation) and my Always On usage dropped from 186w to 127w.

That’s awesome! Glad Sense was able to help you notice the issue.