Not too long ago I received an offer, courtesy of my homeowner’s insurance (State Farm) for a free device to monitor my house electrical system. It gets plugged into almost any outlet, and listens (somehow) for indications of electricity taking a shortcut, a shortcut that could lead to a fire. It can’t detect everything, but it sounds like it detects a lot.
You can read about the device here:
I just received an email with my second weekly report from the system. No problems, but it did give a graph about the voltage for each day. Here is one of them.
I have tried to remember the details of something I once saw, but it was years ago and the memory just isn’t that detailed. What I do recall was a lot of dust accumulated where it could create a short, and in very humid weather the dust absorbed enough to conduct a bit. I think - just my impression - that this would have detected such a problem.
I have Tesla Solar and Powerwalls, to complicate things. Before I put in the order I checked. It is compatible with them.
Maybe you can ask for a discount if you get it yourself? (Yeah, right.)
I confess that I’ve never shopped around for car or homeowner insurance. My folks had State Farm for everything - the same broker forever - so I had State Farm on the car they gave to for commuting to college (1971 and beyond). I just kept them for the next five of my cars (and a couple of my wife’s) as well as my first and subsequent houses. In all that time, which I see is a bit over 50 years, I can not recall making a claim, or having anyone claim against me, so if there were any they had to be small. Call it inertia, or laziness, or if-it-ain’t-broke. Of course all of the above means I can’t actually tell anyone how great they are - or are not - as I have no events (or price comparison) to base it on.
I pretty much abhor insurance companies - not because they have stiffed me or anything, but just that, IMO, they love to take your money, but when you need them to pay out, you need to put a friekin’ gun to their head. OR, if you do file a claim, they whack you in premium increases in subsequent years.
(Our homestead was struck by lightning back 20 years ago, burned to the ground, and we ended up getting a private insurance adjuster to help our elderly Mom settle the claim as the insurance company offered low-ball replacement settlement offers).
I usually go with an insurance company for 3 - 5 years and then do the ugly homework of price comparison. In many times, I am able to price the exact same coverage and save maybe 1 - 2 thousand dollars in yearly premiums for our homeowners, auto and umbrella policies (which I always bundle with the new carrier).
YMMV - but you may want to check out price shopping for the exact coverage that you have today and see if you can save.
We have had Amica for almost 25 years, and our experience is exactly the opposite. A water heater broke and flooded the finished basement. They covered everything, snip snap, and took away the water heater, pressed a claim against GE for the shoddy weld, and sent us back our deductible as well.
Last year we had a neighbor’s tree fall on our house. They arranged for a crew to come out that same day, $6,000 later it was gone, and they paid for the roof repair and everything. (I thought since it was a neighbor’s tree I would have to fight with his insurance, but no, my house, my insurance.)
It’s a “mutual” company, which means they total up the payouts at the end of the year and if there’s money left over they mail us back a check - which has happened every single year since we’ve been with them. Sometimes it’s $25. Sometimes $200. Depends on their business.
I don’t bother price checking other companies, we’ve had car claims, several on our RV (windshields), and a hailstorm which took out our roof and two cars, and we had a check within days. We had neighbors with tarps on the roof for months fighting with their insurance, we were first in line with contractors we had used before and we were done almost overnight.
Amica. I don’t know if they serve everywhere, but I’ll likely be with them for life.
I don’t doubt that you are right. However, remember where I said:
Call it laziness, or perhaps that it is the sort of thing I hate dealing with so much that I am willing to pay be not get into it. But thanks for the suggestion, someone else smarter than me with more patience may save some real money by taking your advice.
Progressive came in at 45% of State Farm’s price. I switched,knowing my rates would go up every six months like clockwork. Still better than sticking. I think that progressive is hoping I am a sticky customer, and will stay with them without shopping rates.
We also have State Farm, agents have changed over the years, but I don’t recall seeing an offer for TING, but digging around, it can be bought privately for $99, but the monthly fee also adds on…
Looking further, I do see the TING is available, Free, from State Farm, monitoring is free for 3 years, not clear after that…
Interesting to see, I’ve been in this home since 1974, done a lot of my own electrical over the years, don’t theink there are any problems now, years ago I had an old Zinsco sub panel replaced, solved a lot of headaches, blinking lights, just a carppy subpanel, gone.
The monitoring is not limited to the house wiring. It also deals with things plugged in that might have some internal electrical issues. Everything that is plugged in and has electrical potential inside. Which is everything from night lights to clothes dryers. Likewise whatever is wired in, like furnaces, hot water heaters, and outdoor lighting. That’s a lot of things that have the potential for issues.
OT: I mentioned something about dust, humidity and electrical flow. I remember the context! It isn’t house wiring in the example I heard… well, it is house wiring but not the kind used to power everything. It was phone jacks. Did you know that a phone jack can be installed upside down? I didn’t have a clue, but in my last house we were having some serious problems with noise and such on our land line. We had to have a phone company technician come in. The problem turned out to be in an addition we had added - an extra level on top of a split level. We had them put in an abundance of phone jacks, set in the walls. They were ALL installed upside down. And most of them were empty, and thus exposed to getting dust inside. Right side up the electrical connectors are at the top. These had the connections at the bottom, so the dust settled on them. Add humidity and they really screwed up the phone user experience. A few minutes of unscrewing the plate from the box, reversing the plate and attached jack, and screwing it back correctly - plus blowing out the dust - fixed it.
Wow… Somebody blew it on those jacks… As the current comes from the CO, ~48V DC, and a bit of ringing from time to time, likely all unseen by the TING, but yes, it would mess up the house line.
We had DSL for a time, had trouble on the line, not long after a new roof… All the original wiring had been snaked between the 1x4’s for the original wood shingle roof, new roof, composition, laid down plywood, and along the way, they hit one of the runs… Now the DSL is gone, still have the land line, but only a few phones, ringers off connected. Really need to drop it, we both use our cells, just haven’t done the cut yet.
Over the years, I’ve replaced all the switches, outlets, added some more, added GFI’s, added a couple more sub panels for the garage and the shop, outlets for the welder RV Trailer, so it would see all that, including the trailer and it’s components… I could be interesting… Most of the power tools are plugged in, some 120v, some 220v… Yard lighting, lotsa stuff…
He was a good carpenter, though.
Adding another level to a split-level house was a rather demanding project. Between my wife’s design and his execution the result was superb.
Totally unrelated to the TING. I only mentioned it here because earlier in the thread I mentioned recalling a problem when damp dust conducting electricity was a problem. I finally remembered the context, which was not related to the house power, that was in the manner of a retraction combined with a story I thought might get some interest.