Monitoring Runtime of a Device (Blower in this case)


Just ordered my Vera 2 today… due to arrive tomorrow. I have a Trane thermostat already and will add some other modules soon (lamps, door sensor and the like).

I definitely want to monitor and manage my thermostat and it sounds like that will be no problem. What’s on the other end of that thermostat is a little less standard: a Heatmor 200CSS outdoor wood furnace. It’s a simple therm setup (single stage, no cooling… just on/off based on temp settings). When the room temp drops below the set point, it calls the pumps on the wood furnace (about 65 feet from the house) and begins circulating hot water through our radiators. The house warms up, the set point is reached and the therm turns the pumps back off.

The furnace keeps its water hot using its own internal aquastat. When it drop below 160, it fires up an internal blower that fans the flames and re-heats the water to 180. Once reached, the blower turns off and the fire is banked until the next time it needs to be stoked.

I point this out to explain that the thermostat is related to inside room temp and simply controls the circulation of the hot water into the house and back to the furnace. The furnace blower runs entirely on its own and I have no knowledge of its runtimes except if I happen to be out there to witness it running (though it’s safe to assume it will run when the thermostat calls since the cooled water in the house dumps into the furnace and drops its temp).

ANYWAY - is there a z-wave or other vera compatible device I can use for monitoring the blower? I’d like to record when it comes on and when it goes off, basically compiling its runtimes. Correlating those with the thermostat calls, too, yields interesting data for me about the efficiency of the furnace in various kinds of weather.

The blower runs on a regular 20 amp, 120V circuit that is wired into the electrical feed from the house to the furnace. So I’d need something I could put inline on that circuit that tells me when it is under load, I suppose. Since the pumps and the blower are on the same circuit, it’d be best if I could test for load (or however I’d do this) in the circuit BETWEEN the pumps and the blower (inside the furnace wiring, basically) so I’m I’ve isolated the activity of the blower.

Any devices anyone can suggest? Possibly a different approach I’ve not yet considered? Or am I trying to do something totally stupid? :slight_smile:


  • Aaron

Im jealous. It sounds like you have a sweet heating setup there!

As far as monitoring goes, you might do well to look into the various power monitoring devices out there such as this one:

I’m not sure how much space you have to work with on your wiring. These devices are designed to clip on to the wires of a breaker panel and monitor either the mains (for “whole house”) or the individual circuits. You’ll need to be able to separate your HOT and NEUTRAL wires running to each component that you want to monitor, but otherwise this should work pretty well.

I’ll have to allow others to comment on their actual experiences with this device however. I’ve read that it’s Vera support has been lacking to this point. You could also look at the “TED” device which integrates with google’s power monitoring service, outside of vera.

There are also some plug in relay modules that feature power monitoring capabilities, but I don’t believe any of them are rated at 20A… Here is a 15A model:

Good luck!