Instruments: Stove Use Monitoring System (SUMS)

Figure 1
Figure 1. Maxim iButtons are approximately the size of a thumbprint and can accommodate most stoves, traditional and improved.

The Stove Use Monitoring System (SUMS), developed along with the Kirk R. Smith Research Group at the University of California-Berkeley, provides objective information on stove use and adoption of cooking technologies. SUMS is based on low-cost, commercially available temperature loggers coupled with our PICA software or the OneWire Viewer for instrument management. Raw SUMS data can be analyzed in the open source application, SUMSARIZER. By recording stove temperature over time, SUMS quantifies the number of stove uses (cooking events) and the time of use, providing valuable insights into use patterns and stove stacking (the use of multiple stoves by a household).

Stove Use Monitors (SUMs) now allow stove developers, researchers, and program evaluators to better understand stove use and adoption, to help link laboratory tests to actual field performance, and to provide actionable data to respond to household needs and preferences regarding traditional and new cooking technologies.

The temperature-logging sensors in the SUMS are Maxim iButtons. The iButtons connect to a computer or hand-held device via a probe and USB adapter for launching and downloading data.

Figure 2
Figure 2. Labeling cooking events in SUMSARIZER.

SUMS Parts and Accessories

A full SUMS “kit” consists of iButtons, a probe, USB adapter, PICA or OneWire software, heat resistant tape, and an instruction manual. Please contact us for pricing information.

Item Function Image
Probe Connects the iButton to the USB adapter. Probe
USB adapter Connects the probe to a computer for instrument management. USB adapter
PICA or OneWire Software options for instrument management. Maxim
Heat resistant tape and/or silicone insulators Heat insulators for iButtons. The high temperature silicone insulator can be used in conjunction with the high temperature tape, which adheres the iButton to the stove. Insulation can be modified depending on the maximum temperature of the stove, which should be determined before placing the instrument. Silicone insulator Heat resistant tape
Instruction manual An instrument management and placement guide.

Types of iButtons

There are several types of iButtons that can be used on stoves, each with a different operating temperature range and memory (as shown below). The 8192 data point capacity of the DS1922L and DS1922T iButtons translates to logging temperature readings every ten minutes for 57 days, while the DS1921G iButton can log temperature data every ten minutes for 14 days. Note that iButtons will fail and become unusable if the stove temperature exceeds the iButton’s operating temperature range. We can help you select the model that will work best for your application and price point.

iButton Model Temperature Range Accuracy Resolution Memory (data points) Logging Rate
DS1921G -40°C to +85°C ± 1°C: -30°C to +70°C
± 1.3°C outside this range
0.5°C 2048 1 to 255 min
DS1922L -40°C to +85°C ± 0.5°C: -10°C to +65°C 0.5°C – 8 bit /
0.0625°C – 11 bit
8192 – 8 bit /
4096 – 16 bit
1 sec to 273 hrs
DS1922T 0°C to +125°C ± 0.5°C: +20°C to +75°C 0.5°C – 8 bit /
0.0625°C – 11 bit
8192 – 8 bit /
4096 – 16 bit
1 sec to 273 hrs

For more detailed information on specifications of the iButtons see the DS1921G Data Sheet (414 kB) or the DS1922T and DS1922L Data Sheet (505 kB).

References on SUMS development and performance

The following references describe the development of SUMS:

Ruiz-Mercado, I.; Lam, N.L.; Canuz, E.; Davila, G.; Smith, K.R. Low-cost temperature loggers as stove use monitors (SUMS). Boil. Point 2008, 55, 16–18.

Ruiz-Mercado, I.; Masera, O.; Zamora, H.; Smith, K.R. Adoption and sustained use of improved cookstoves. Energy Policy 2011, 39, 7557–7566.

Ruiz-Mercado, I.; Canuz, E.; Smith, K.R. Temperature dataloggers as stove use monitors (SUMS): Field methods and signal analysis. Biomass Bioenergy 2012, 47, 459–468.

iButtons have been used in household energy studies throughout the developing world, including in India, Nepal, China, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, Sudan, Cambodia, Lao, and Mongolia by researchers, NGOs, and governmental agencies. The following is a list of publications and reports that have utilized SUMs, which are available at Kirk Smith’s Household Energy, Climate, and Health Research Group website.

Mukhopadhyay, R.; Sambandam, S.; Pillarisetti, A.; Jack, D.; Mukhopadhyay, K.; Balakrishnan, K.; Vaswani, M.; Bates, M.N.; Kinney, P.L.; Arora, N.; et al. Cooking practices, air quality, and the acceptability of advanced cookstoves in Haryana, India: An exploratory study to inform large-scale interventions. Glob. Health Action 2012, 5, 1–13.

Ruiz-Mercado, I.; Canuz, E.; Walker, J.L.; Smith, K.R. Quantitative metrics of stove adoption using stove use monitors (SUMS). Biomass Bioenergy 2013, 57, 136–148.

Pillarisetti, A.; Vaswani, M.; Jack, D.; Balakrishnan, K.; Bates, M.N.; Arora, N.K.; Smith, K.R. Patterns of stove usage after introduction of an advanced cookstove: The long-term application of household sensors. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, 48, 14525–14533.

Greene, L.; Turner, J.; Edwards, R.D.; Cutler, N.; Duthie, M.; Rostapshova, O. Impact Evaluation Results of the MCA Mongolia Energy and Environment Project Energy-Efficient Stove Subsidy Program. 2014. Available online:

Ruiz-Mercado, I.; Masera, O. Patterns of stove use in the context of fuel-device stacking: Rationale and implications. Ecohealth 2015, 12, 42–56.

Hill, L.D.; Delapena, S.; Garland, C.; Jagoe, K.; Koetting, P.; Pelletreau, A.; Boatman, M.R.; Pennise, D.; Smith, K.R. Air Pollution and Impact Analysis of a Pilot Stove Intervention: Report to the Ministry of Health and Inter-Ministerial Clean Stove Initiative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 2015. Available online:

Liao, J.; Zimmermann Jin, A.; Chafe, Z.A.; Pillarisetti, A.; Yu, T.; Shan, M.; Yang, X.; Li, H.; Liu, G.; Smith, K.R. The impact of household cooking and heating with solid fuels on ambient PM2.5 in peri-urban Beijing. Atmos. Environ. 2017, 165, 62–72.

Gould, C.J.K.; Moreno, A.; Verastegui, A.; Pilco, V.; Garcia, J.; Forte, A.; Johnson, M.A. Patterns of use, maintenance, repair, and access to post-acquisition services for biomass stoves in Peru. Energy Policy 2017. under review.

Partial list of Berkeley Air’s customers

  • Alternative Solutions
  • Burn Design Lab
  • Centre For Research In Energy And Energy Conservation (CREEC)
  • Chemonics International
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Engineers Without Borders, Germany
  • Envirofit International
  • George Washington University
  • HED Consulting
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Imperial College
  • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
  • International Clean Energy Solutions, Ltd.
  • International Primary Care Respiratory Group
  • Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • McGill University
  • Portland State University
  • Practical Action Consulting, Eastern Africa
  • Public Health Institute
  • Rebel International
  • RTI International
  • SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
  • Social Impact
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Chicago, Dept. of Medicine
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Illinois, Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
  • Valparaiso University
  • Washington University in St Louis
  • Winrock International
  • WZB Berlin Social Science Center