There comes a time in the life of every parent when their kid no longer wants to go on vacation with them. Instead, their son or daughter chooses to stay home, promising to look after the house. Mom may look on with a tear in her eye, sad that they’ll no longer vacation together but proud of their offspring’s display of responsibility in offering to guard the family home.
In reality, of course, no sooner has the car left the driveway than little Johnny or Jane will be on their phone giving the all-clear to their buddies. By nightfall, the house will be a party zone, a veritable vortex of energy and noise.
Those days may, however, be over. Ask Australian teenager Amy Rowe. When her father told her he was going on a trip, she told him she’d stay at a friend’s house while he was gone.
Dad David, an electronic engineer, bade his daughter farewell and went on his way. One particularly hot evening, while having dinner with friends, David decided to open up an energy-monitoring app on his Android smartphone to check on his home’s energy use.
But when he looked, something didn’t add up. The app, Fluksometer, indicated that all the air conditioners and lights were on. Weird for an empty house, David thought.
Then it dawned on him. He called Amy to see if she knew anything about what he called the “phantom power problem.” Amy didn’t confess though, and instead promised to check the house out, later telling her father that indeed, the air conditioners and lights had all been on, and that she had now turned them off.
David’s app showed energy use in the house drop to almost zero, which presumably meant the party continued in pitch darkness, as well as in very hot conditions.
Amy must have thought she’d got away with it, but David still suspected that a party had taken place. Upon returning home, his suspicions were confirmed when he found party cups in the garbage can and drink stains about the house.
“All my friends who didn’t know Dad said, ‘How could he do that? Who measures power from across the country?” she said.
Fortunately for Amy it appears her dad wasn’t too upset about the incident, though no doubt the energy-monitoring app has ended any hopes of future home-based shenanigans for the teenage party animal.