Frequently Asked Questions

Is CarePenguin right for me?

- Access to your loved one’s water heater (Keep in mind that CarePenguin does not work on water heaters with recirculation pumps.)
- Your loved one must have WiFi at their house
- You must have an iPhone to download our app from the app store, and install the sensor (we will have an Android app available soon!)
- Someone to do the simple installation via an iPhone on site. See more on having another family member or helper do the installation.

You can start by bringing up the fact that CarePenguin is a non-invasive way to monitor if your parent is going about his or her day. CarePenguin is less invasive than motion sensors or cameras, and it doesn't require that they wear a device. As it simply monitors whether or not water has been turned on in the house, each time your parent runs a little water, it is like them saying they are okay. In the end, though, it is ultimately up to you and your family to determine if CarePenguin is a good fit.

Senior citizens use hot water more than you think! We’ve tested our sensors in senior citizens’ houses and found that the average senior citizen uses water about six to ten times a day, making it an excellent proxy for human behavior. CarePenguin can sense anything from rinsing a dish, brushing teeth, washing hands, doing dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower, etc. This is because hot water and cold water are usually mixed at the faucet. It’s rare that people just use cold water. When a faucet is turned on, some warm/hot water is moving through and even the smallest amount causes CarePenguin to detect an event of water use. Contact us if you have any questions!

In order to for CarePenguin to work properly, you do need access to the water heater for a house or apartment.

No. CarePenguin needs to connect to WiFi in order to collect data and alert loved ones to problems.

Yes. CarePenguin requires the adult child or caregiver to have an iPhone in order to set up their account, view their loved one’s activity, and receive updates and notifications. The loved one does not need a smart phone. An Android version of the app will be available soon!

Yes, but it does require iOS 14+

Not yet, but we are hard at work on an Android version!

No. The CarePenguin sensor plugs into a nearby outlet near the water heater. The CarePenguin sensor has a 10 ft cord, but you might require an expansion cord if your nearest outlet is farther away than 10 ft.

How it works

The CarePenguin sensor simply takes the temperature of the hot water pipe output on a water heater. Whenever someone uses water in the house, the temperature of that pipe spikes up, indicating that someone in the house is up and active. The CarePenguin app displays this data, showing your loved one’s activity throughout the day. You can check anytime to see the last time your loved one was active and receive alerts if we detect a lack of activity, encouraging you to check in and make sure everything is okay.

No, CarePenguin detects a problem if there is a lack of activity in the house.

If we detect a lack of activity, we will send a notification to the family member or caregiver that made the account on our app encouraging them to check in on their parent.

No, CarePenguin detects a problem if there is a lack of activity in the house when there is usually activity at that time.

No. CarePenguin needs to connect to WiFi in order to collect data and alert loved ones to problems.


Absolutely! CarePenguin is simple to install. All you need to do is zip-tie our sensor to the hot water pipe output on a water heater, plug it into a nearby outlet, set up your account on our app, and connect it to WiFi using our step-by-step instructions. If you can set up a Nest product or Amazon Alexa, you can set up CarePenguin.

Our sensor should be attached on the hot water pipe output from a water heater. It should be as far from the water heater as possible, but before the pipe starts branching off into other areas of the house.

Installing CarePenguin takes a similar amount of skill as installing a Nest product or an Amazon Alexa. We recommend that you install the sensor yourself when you are visiting your elderly loved one or invite another family member to your CarePenguin account and they can install it.

No, CarePenguin does not work on water heaters with recirculation pumps. If you're not sure what a recirculation pump is, you can read our blog here to learn more.

Yes, CarePenguin works on tankless/on-demand water heaters. However, some newer models of tankless systems have a recirculation pump built in and activated. CarePenguin does not work with the recirculation pump turned on. More on tankless systems and recirculation pumps here.

Cost and billing

CarePenguin is available at the affordable price of $40 for the physical sensor and an $8.99 monthly subscription for our software service.

No. The value that CarePenguin provides is in the software. The sensor is what gathers the data and our app is what observes your loved one’s water usage patterns and alerts you if something is wrong. You will not be able to see your loved one’s activities or receive any alerts if you do not create a CarePenguin account through our app.

CarePenguin is either billed monthly or yearly automatically on your Credit Card. Contact CarePenguin if you have any questions.

CarePenguin is billed monthly or year by sensor. You can have several sensors in a house (although generally not required) or you can have sensors at different locations such as multiple parents you are keeping track of. Discounts are available for multiple sensors on the same account regardless of locations monitored.

Access to the data of your loved one’s activity as well as push notifications alerting you to abnormal behavior. You will be able to see when they started their day, how many times they’ve been active, and the last time they were active that day. You will also receive notifications if there is a lack of activity, encouraging you to check in and make sure everything is okay.

No, the CarePenguin sensor is easily installed by the buyer in a matter of minutes. However, if you need someone else to install it because you don’t live near a loved one you may have to pay a handyman to do the simple install.

Still have questions about CarePenguin? Get in touch