This Device Saved My House From an Electrical Fire. And You Might Be Able to Get It for Free.

I was in my car, miles from home, when a panicky phone alert shook me out of my NPR haze: An electrical fire hazard had been detected at my house. Immediately I called my wife, who told me the house wasn’t burning. Then I called the number in the alert to determine what it was all about.

The alert came from Ting, an electricity-monitoring service whose device I’d plugged into an outlet a few weeks earlier and almost forgotten about. The Ting agent who answered my call calmed me down a little but also assured me that the device had detected a serious fire hazard. He even told me where the hazard was located and said I should call my utility company right away.

The next morning I had a visit from my electric company. The electrician gave me a skeptical harrumph when I showed him the information on the Ting smartphone app, but he inspected the issue anyway. About 20 minutes later he came back to me, quite surprised, and confirmed that the Ting Sensor had indeed found a big problem. A team returned that day to put a temporary fix on it, and over the next several weeks, contractors dug up my front yard to replace the main power line, at no expense to me.

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