Safety First With Sean’s Hot Sensor

22 Jun 2018 | 09.46 am

Safety First With Sean’s Hot Sensor

Cork entrepreneur has created Firemole, a heat monitor for plugs and power adapters

22 Jun 2018 | 09.46 am

A close call involving a household fire sparked a business idea in Sean Ó Tuama. The Cork entrepreneur launched Firemole in September 2017, which sells battery-powered heat monitors that can be attached to electrical devices. Firemole sounds an alarm when the temperature of the device, plug or adapter reaches dangerous levels.

Ó Tuama (29) is an electrician who moved to Australia to work in the solar industry. He returned to Ireland in 2015 with plans to sell and install PV panels. However, the cost of setting up such a business dissuaded him, while a fuse-board fire in his parents’ home got him thinking about other business ideas.

“After the fire, I looked for an easy-to-use product that could warn me when a surface was getting too hot, but I couldn’t find anything suitable. That is when Firemole began,” he recalls.

The small, disc-shaped gadget sticks to plugs, devices or adapters, and triggers an alarm when it detects temperatures of 54C. Ó Tuama (pictured) explains that Firemole’s replaceable battery should last for 18 months. The device costs €13 and is sold via Firemole’s website and through Amazon.

Firemole is also gearing up for a launch in 30 stores with an Irish retailer this summer. “People aren’t searching online for a device like this, as they don’t know it exists, so optimising ads and making an ROI on ad spend is a constant challenge,” says Ó Tuama.

The Firemole housing is manufactured in Cork and the electronics come from China, and the product is assembled and shipped from a facility in the Czech Republic. Ó Tuama funded the business himself, with help from Enterprise Ireland and Cork City LEO.

“We have numerous trademarks pending internationally. It’s very expensive and time-consuming, and you have to get accustomed to a new language called ‘patentese’.”

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