Help identifying a mystery device


Could use some help here…

The device shown was labeled as a dishwasher… I am certain that is not the case as it runs whether I am home or not (I live alone). It seems to run somewhat regularly, approximately every 12 hours or so. And when it is on, it runs once for about 12-13 minutes.

I am stumped.


Appears like a heating device.
My refrigerator defrost comes on once to twice a day for about 10-15 minutes and runs 457 watts. Took me a few weeks and using a kill a watt to track down.


I’ve been wondering how to confirm/rule out devices that run so infrequently, especially ones that are small components of a large appliance. I can’t possibly hope to catch it on, and even if I did, I’m not sure it would make a noise or be visible.


If you have a kill a watt they are really helpful. I have it and the HS110 plugs and still have difficulty. I got four new detections today and it’s hard to find any history at all with a couple and the other two have very little from two weeks ago. I can’t remember what happened that far back. I just turn on notifications and hope to catch them.


Many folks have noted very sparse “history” for newly discovered devices, but then data fills in. Seems to be a time gap between the data their detection algorithms use and providing data thru the apps. You should see it starting to fill in in coming days.


Don’t forget about notifications. Those can help to catch those rarely running devices.


@ryanatsense, the problem is that they are infrequent and no more than a second or two. So, notifications only give a timeline, which is found elsewhere too.


I appreciate the feedback – and I am considering the purchase of a Kill-a-Watt. Independent of this, and before I start flipping off breakers to narrow the field, might anyone have suggestions here about the device? Overall, the wattage is under 500w. Starts with a small spike (motor or some sort). It runs almost every 12 hours (it does skip sometimes), but typically falls between 7 and 7:30 both AM and PM. Runs for 12-13 minutes, regardless of whether I’m home or not. It was initially noted by Sense as a dishwasher.


As I was saying above, looks like a heating element and like my fridge defrost. I e attached a pic this time for you too see the similarity.
It doesn’t look like a motor or compressor to me because it lacks the telltale spike


It does look similar, both in character and duration… I actually have an alert set and was sitting on the floor in front of the refrigerator when it last went off – my GF is getting quite the kick out of making fun of me everytime new devices pop up :slightly_smiling_face:

I did not hear anything (while Sense indicated my mystery device was running), but that really doesn’t mean anything – I should likely invest the $15 or so in a Kill-a-Watt. Anyone have a suggestion on models that are better/worse? Are there inexpensive models that will log, such that I don’t need to babysit the Kill-a-Watt too ?


That was why it was so difficult for me to identify before using the Kill-a-watt, the defrost doesn’t make noise.
My wife gives me a hard time too. I bet a lot of that are in that boat. I sense some jealousy at times with mine.
Here is the one I have


Here is a pic of my heat pump compressor so you can see what a 240 compressor looks like at startup, in case you don’t have any detected yet.
Notice the huge spike


My GF tells me this is the best gift she has ever given – watching me lose my mind is great entertainment for her.

I have no heat pump. No pool, no sauna, etc… HVAC, furnace stack and hot water heater is the extent of my main infrastructure… There does not seem to be a lot here to keep me crazy – but it seems there is far more that one might initially guess. I’m up to 5-7 separate components for my stove/oven unit and counting!


Note that you can effectively use the Kasa HS110 as a Kill-a-Watt, the display is just your phone. And you can do more things with the HS110. (I have both, but I’ve been using the HS110 more recently, as the display updates more frequently and is more precise)


Has given you a good alternative to kill-a-watt if you have an HS110. I have done the same but moving it around is a pain for having to remove, rename, uninstall and install if not keeping it in one place. I’m not a fan of HS110’s for the reason that it’s not a true “detection”.
But I have used it on an already detected device for a short period for other reasons.
You’d be amazed about how many electric components their are in even in what seems a simple home. My refrigerator alone has 12. I’m not looking for each and every individual component to ha e it’s own detection. My heat pump shows the compressor and condenser fan as one unit or detection. I wish the air handler was included but not so far.


I have, and have used for years, a Kill-a-Watt…great device at low price. I primarily use it for de-bugging, not monitoring.

I don’t know of any similar meter that actually logs, although it does keep track of total usage between resets. Have you considered using an HS-110? You can get them for similar prices (currently $15.99 at Walmart) and it does log and display on the Kasa phone app.


Yes indeed…our home has over 170 physical devices, not even counting all those buried components in modern appliances, HVAC, etc.

Of these, there are about two dozen that I believe consume most of the power and I’d love it for Sense to be able to track even those. Unfortunately, not so far.


I deleted about 10 of my 30 active devices yesterday or the day before @andy. I’m trying to get sense to detect the major ones that I really want and be accurate. Of the 20 I’ve kept they are almost all very accurate. I’ve changed my strategy a bit and instead of trying to get as many detections as possible, quality comes first.
Still waiting on a few of really like to have.


I have been looking at the Kill-a-Watt, but have a couple of minor concerns. It looks like most of the older units have that old-school liquid crystal display that can’t be easily read unless you are looking square-on at the display. Further, for devices like my refrigerator, I really don’t want to have it pulled out of its nook while I use it for identification. Related, I was hoping to leave my identification device plugged in for a few days, and then compare it’s log to the Sense log.

I owe a few HS110 units… Love them and the integration with Sense. But I have found no logging. And so, I’m left to stare at it, or bring it up quickly when I get a Sense alert – trying to avoid having to be home and “on-call” for these identification exercises. Anyone know of a Wi-Fi smart plug that offers trendable log data?


I second that this would be extremely useful. I’ve tried a couple of other smart plugs brands, they use the Smartlife App which is similar to the Kasa app: current values and total power, but no time series of results, no data donwload. (And if logging an HS110 into sense, we are shown the waveform but can’t download it or easily find detailed values at specific times)