Pellet Stove Detection

Has anyone had any success with Sense detecting all or most of the components of a pellet stove? Its basically two fans, an auger motor and igniter heating element.

I’ve had the pellet stove running most days since November but so far only the igniter has been detected. The stove does run for a few hours at a time, but it does turn on and off a handful of times a day. It shouldn’t be considered “always on” but I have a feeling this is accounting for a lot of my always on or other usage and I would really like to be able to identify how much electricity the pellet stove is using.

I know I can put it on a smart plug and I may do that temporarily just to see but I feel like Sense is generally good at finding fans and motors, so I’m just surprised its not shown up yet.


You are thinking about this the right way.

But a lot depends on a couple things:

  • AC or DC motor ? Sense is good with AC motors, not so good with DC motors.
  • Motor / fan size - are the on/off transitions big enough to be spotted by Sense, distinctive, and matched ?

You might want to put the pellet stove on a smart plug just to see what those transitions look like. Alternately, you can look at the Power Meter in the phone/tablet app to see if Sense identifies and flags any of the on or off transitions with power numbers. That power “tag” means that the transition is likely in Sense’s range of interest for detection.

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1.Auger motor It is a 120V AC motor using 13W and clicks on/off very frequently as its feeding pellets. I’ll see if I can identify it in power meter.
2. I believe the fans are both AC motors as well and one of them is 170W. Having a hard time finding specs on the other. I’m not sure if this is considered big enough to be spotted or distinctive and matched.

I’ll see what the smart plug reveals. Thanks!

Try taking a look in the phone/table app as well. The presence or absence of the power “tags” when the fans and auger switch one and off should give you an idea of what might be happening.

But even if the individual transitions fit the Sense classical 1/2 second detection model, they also have to be matching, distinct on/off pairs.

Here are a bunch of auger motor transitions that are being detected.

Here is the pellet stove as a whole (via smart plug). The taller detections would be the igniter and the shorter detections would be auger + fans.

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Thanks for the details. It looks like the top view from the main Power Meter is from the front edge of the auger + fans part of the smart plug waveform. My 2c is that there is enough variability in those +/- 12-16W on and off transitions, perhaps mixed with others, such that Sense isn’t seeing a distinct on/off signature cluster. Small wattage with 30% variability.

The larger waveforms with notches in the in the auger + fan might also pose issues when it comes to matching on transitions with off transitions.

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Well, that’s disappointing.

Its amazing that Sense can detect every element of my kitchen fridge including the water dispenser which only uses like 30W but can’t detect this.

Just educated guessing on my part, knowing a bit about how the classic native Sense detections are done. Progressive detection will operate differently, but the classic Sense “instant detection”, where the bubble appears immediately, only has a 1/2 second on-transition to go on when making a call on a detection. The auger + fan part of the waveform is fairly messy when viewed through that “filter”.

What is progressive detection? Is that coming soon?

Don’t know how it is going to get rolled out, but I know that it’s a big thing affecting every part of Sense’s product. Sense started hinting at it back in Feb 2021, and in Nov 2021 the Sense monitor firmware was updated to begin to enable. Here’s the video back in Feb 2021

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You are very lucky that Sense can detect your fridge, after multiple years it’s found NONE of mine. It’s a relatively recent LG, with variable speed operation, but you’d think Sense could at least find the defroster and ice maker.

Does the Pellet Stove have a separate circuit & breaker?

Asking because I’m really concerned about my oil boiler as a whole in terms of correlating the boiler electrical activity with the thermostat data (Nest) and weather data (local Heating Degree Days), along with oil consumption, so I can analyze and project solar/geothermal/heat-pump usage when the boiler is migrated in a year or three. That concern prompted me to use a Flex CT on the boiler circuit. Ideally I would also have the individual components (burner fan + water pumps) on smart plugs so I could separate out that raw data but so far there is very good correlation between the Nest & Sense & my logged oil consumption.

We know from what Sense folks have told us that the smart plugs don’t yet directly improve detection but my hope is that ground truth CTs on known devices and device groups may eventually assist with detection. In the meantime what I really care about is ROBUST tracking of the boiler circuit so I prefer the CTs over smart plugs. I’ve learnt that in a house under renovation (mine) you need to keep things simple when it comes to data analysis and (crucially) you want to start capturing data as quickly as possible. The seasonal variation with oil consumption is obviously dramatic enough that YEARS of data are more significant than months.

Pellet stove is not on a separate breaker, but I’m going to run it on a smart plug for a while and see how it does. I am a bit concerned with this approach as pellet stoves have very sensitive electronics so dont want to add too much to the mix.

My oil boiler (steam) was actually detected pretty early on and sense does a good job of capturing it. Its not even on its own circuit though it really should be.

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