Sense saved us


My wife turned our electrical pottery kiln one evening and programmed the computer controller to fire to cone 6 ( 2200 degrees). We rarely leave the home while the kiln was firing, but the next morning, we had to leave early to drive to a high school that was over an hour away. We were to give demonstrations on throwing pottery on the wheel. The kiln controller has never failed us so we didn’t feel overly concerned. The firing cycle normally ran 13 hours and should shut off by 8 am.

When we had a break between classes, around 11:00 am, I fired up the Sense app on my smart phone to see when the kiln had shut off. I noticed from the power meter, that something was not right. The kiln was still on!

The kiln normally turns on for a few seconds until the temperature is up to the target range, then shuts off for a while. As it approaches the final temperature the on times are longer than the off times. What I saw on the power meter was it was on continuously - 8500 watts, never shutting off. And it had been on for over 15 hours.

Something was seriously wrong - that either the thermocouple or computer had failed and that we had a run-away kiln. Since we were over an hour away and has more classes scheduled, my wife called a neighbor and asked her to check on the kiln. A few minutes later, the neighbor called to say that the Kiln lid was open! My wife had forgotten to shut the lid.

The kiln is in an outbuilding that is very close to our home. It is a pole building with little wood in it, but, a electric kiln with the lid open firing continuously can be a very dangerous salutation. The neighbor shut the kiln off and covered the opening with extra kiln shelves we had sitting nearby. (The lid was too hot to handle.)

Had it not been for the Sense monitoring system, I would have not noticed it being a problem until we go home, many hours later. It is possible the kiln would have been damaged and maybe the heat set the building’s post on fire.

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

My wife is still kicking herself for being so forgetful, but she no longer criticizes me walking around the house with my sense monitor in my hand asking if she just turned something on.

Thank you Sense. I can complain about devices not be detected or detected incorrectly, but that is minor compared to the value of just watching the power meter remotely.


Fred, this is the kind of story that keeps us going. That is just awesome to hear!


“she no longer criticizes me walking around the house with my sense monitor in my hand asking if she just turned something on”

Great story, all the way around. …MachoDrone’s woman has either tired criticizing him or he’s better at being discreet.
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … V heart V


Thats crazy! Are you able to put set an alert if its been running too long?


@lanelebaron, the sense support team has just recently helped with the issue of the kiln not being detected correctly. Now that detection is reliable, I will be setting some alerts for it. Since it cycles on and off, it will take some experimentation to get it right, but I think it will help avoid this issue or a kiln failure in the future.


I would definitely love to know how alerts end up working out for you. This seems like the perfect use case for alerts.