Sense identified a device where 41% of Sense users identified it as an ice maker. I am having trouble confirming this. I don’t know much about ice makers and when the device turns on it only runs about 5 seconds at around 40w before it turns off. I set it up to alert me when on/off but it is too quick for me to track anything down. Do ice makers (or a part of an ice maker) typically get a short burst of electricity to start the cycle
@whalleye I’ve learned so much about appliances in my time at Sense, and discovering the Fridges have several different components inside them that use energy was a big surprise.
Below is a deep-dive we did into multi-component devices - I copied over the section about refrigerators that shows the different components Sense may detect inside a single fridge.
The full blog is here: What is that Unnamed Device? - Sense Blog
A typical refrigerator has four key components that consume energy: motors that drive the compressor for the refrigerator and freezer, a fan, a heater that de-ices the freezer, and a light. If your refrigerator has an ice-maker, then it contains an extra heater and motor (that may or may not be detected by Sense.) These devices may be detected individually or together, and Sense is most likely detecting a compressor motor when there has only been partial detection of a refrigerator.
Refrigerators are one of the only 120V, multi-component devices found in your home. Depending on the amperage and location (against a wall, built-in), a refrigerator can be a great option for tracking with a Kasa smart plug (you can learn more about our smart plug integration here). We do not recommend WEMO Insight smart plugs for refrigerators, as they default to ‘OFF’ in the event of a power outage.
Sense does not usually detect the fan in the freezer separately. The fan and compressor turn on at the same time, so fan consumption is typically grouped with the compressor.
Some models of more expensive fridges might have one compressor but two different evaporators (the part that gets cold), and each will have a fan. Those fans might run at different times, for different reasons, and at different speeds and may result in more potential unknown devices detected by Sense than listed below. Other models of more high-end fridges may contain two individual compressors (for the freezer and refrigerator), along with separate fans for the freezers and touch-screen components.
What it does: The motor inside the compressor adds pressure to the circulating gas, called refrigerant.
When it’s on: An average refrigerator compressor cycles on and off in 30-minute intervals, but this can vary depending on variables including temperature, contents, and how many times it’s opened.
What it does: A defroster heats the cooling element (evaporator coil) for a short period of time and melts the frost that has formed on it.
When it’s on: Depending on the defroster type, most defroster heating elements will run either once or twice a day for 25 to 45 minutes.
What it does: An icemaker contains a heating element, which warms the mold to soften the edges of the ice cubes.
When it’s on: Depending on the settings and refrigerator type, an icemaker typically cycles for 1-2 hours while on.
What it does: Illuminates the inside of the refrigerator. Many modern refrigerators use LED bulbs, which operate at a very low wattage and may not be detected by Sense.
When it’s on: When the refrigerator door is open.
Refrigerators (particularly more modern or high-end) have a handful of different components, and an ice maker actually has three power consumers…both short and low power. The first is the “heater”, which cycles briefly before the ice dumps to loosen the ice from the tray. The second is the small motor that rotates the tray dumping the ice and back into position to be re-filled. The third is a solenoid that turns on the water to refill the tray.
In my Kenmore side by side Sense never successfully found any of these but apparently lots of folks do get the heater detected. This is very short and unless you sit in front of the fridge for hours listening for the cycle and watching the Sense power meter you are unlikely to catch it…hardly seems worth it. I gave up and installed a Kasa smart plug, which does a great job of monitoring the whole fridge.
Updated my overview above with your comment - thanks for the thorough breakdown of the different components in a modern ice maker!