The Eyedro Wireless Home Electricity Monitor is a device that lets you monitor your electricity use by the minute from a web page. There’s also a wired version of the Eyedro Home Electricity Monitor should you wish to save $60 that appears to be the same equipment and service, and they have a version more suited to businesses, but I’m reviewing the wireless flavor.
You can access the info on any device with a modern browser, and if you have an Echo you can ask Alexa what your energy usage is. There doesn’t appear to be a Google Home version of this yet, but hopefully in time.
Installation should be able to be done by most in a very short amount of time. I looked at the service lines coming into my electrical panel and realized that I simply wasn’t going to be able to do it due to how close all the wiring was. I called an electrician buddy of mine who disconnected the lines and moved the wiring to where the Eyedro clamps could be clamped on.
On any house built post-1970 I don’t expect this to be an electrician-requiring event. Mine was built in 1940 and I believe the main panel was updated in the early 80’s. It’s not pretty, but other than replacing a couple of blown breakers over the years it’s been fine I’ve never had reason to want to invest in updating it. Insurance is happy, my electrician says it’s safe, looks terrible though.
What should have been a five minute install took about 25 minutes with an electrician who wasn’t going for a speed record. The clamps were on, the base unit was plugged into an outlet near the electrical panel, the WiFi connection between the base unit and the WiFi unit (plugged into my network,) just worked, and I was on the Eyedro site and seeing my electrical usage pretty quickly.
The base unit is in my basement a floor down and 20 feet vertical distance from the WiFi receiver box. Signal is good.
Setup for monitoring
The hardest part of setting up the monitoring was finding out what my electric company actually charges per kilowatt hour. In under 10 minutes I was seeing how much power I was drawing, how much it was costing, estimates for the dollar usage for the day.
Monthly usage reports are emailed that you can compare with your electric bill. I believe it’s about on track although in the four months of use so far I’ve never had a meter reading when I’d expected it, which is the electric company’s issue, not Eyedro’s.
Hunting down The Beast
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before on the site that there’s an energy drain I haven’t been able to pinpoint for the last two years. While other people in similar houses are looking at electric bills of $120 I’ve been surfing along at $219. I replaced all the lightbulbs in the house with LEDs, tacked my Kill-A-Watt on every single device it could potentially be. I’ve replaced my Honeywell programmable thermostat with the Nest and ran only gas heat this winter in an attempt to rule out the central’s compressor (it’s not it).
I’ve stood outside and watched the electric meter for hours just attempting to get a handle on where the electricity/money is going and I never see it. I’d started to suspect a faulty meter, but the Eyedro Wireless Home Electricity Monitor showed me that nope, it’s right.
I’ve now stood outside and watched the Eyedro and the digital meter and they’re always pretty much in sync. So I trust the results I’m getting at least to within a couple percent. And the Eyedro backed up that during when I’ve been looking there was no particularly egregious draw.
My problem was I wasn’t in shorts with a flashlight at somewhere between 1 and 4am watching the outside meter to see the massive energy draw that was happening while I was asleep. Well, massive might be an overstatement, it’s over a dollar used in four hours that we’re not doing anything, about $40 a month if I’m doing the guesstimating right. Not the $99 I’m looking for but at least I know where a chunk of it is now.
I checked a bit, made sure nobody was using my outdoor plugs for anything, nope. Checked against when the Nest turned the AC fan on and AH HAH! Not it. Darn.
I turned everything off to verify the electric draw was near 0 and it was. No weird wall wiring weirdness.
What I’ve been forced to conclude based on the timeframe is the following – at least half of my increased bill is the water heater. The rising energy costs over the past two years have been because I added two munchkins to the family who need bathed regularly. They’re also increased due to going from a instant-heat water heater that didn’t use any juice except when heating to a 50 gallon tank which keeps the water heated. Instaheater decided to go boom and need $400 in parts. $299 water heater called me and said “buy me”.
The other huge increase has been laundry related. While I have energy efficient everything, it costs somewhere around $1-1.50 a load to wash and dry. Laundry has gone up 500% since the introduction of kids.
Still hunting for about $50 missing that’s coming on at odd hours, but this has given me some useful insights into my usage and that kids cost a crapton more than I expected.
Turn those lights off do you think I’m made of money?
So far the insights have been valuable. I know basically what my bill will be based on average usage, and I know what I’ve run up so far for the month in an instant. Having tracked the time that I’m seeing spikes down at least alleviated my fears that people were running up and charging electric cars at my house.
The Eyedro Wireless Home Electricity Monitor Interface
Should you want to see a read-only real-time electric usage at my house go ahead and click here. That’s the primary desktop interface, may be the mobile as well but I’ll have to check after posting this. You can see most of the configuration options, although you shouldn’t be able to change anything.
You can see an updating wattage meter showing approximately what you’re currently spending per hour, averages, expected cost for the day, etc.
There are more configuration options than the average home user needs, and enough for most businesses including billing based on peak times.
From what I’m told – they’re Canadian in an area where everyone calls the power “hydro,” (hydroelectric) and this is a device to keep an eye on the power thus EYEdro.
Sensor clamps are a little difficult to get on in tight spaces which is why I had an electrician come.
Monitoring service is free, so potentially if Eyedro went under you’d have a piece of plastic that does nothing.
Doesn’t appear to be a way to assign a static IP to the wireless to wired interface. Not a huge deal as you can force that in your router, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to not be slave to DHCP.
Google Home integration?
Should I get it?
Yes. This or similar. Knowing where your juice is going and being aware when you have an absurd day (before 20+ more absurd days happen,) will pay for itself eventually.
If you don’t need the WiFi you can pick it up at Amazon for $129.99. I’d advise skipping the Amazon Expert Installation priced at $1,270.09 as any electrician will do it for less. Hell, I paid $50 for the install and some consultation on a project. You’ll need to run some CAT 5 wiring to reach your network.
If like me you need WiFi, the WiFi Eyedro can be obtained for $199.99. There is not thousand dollar plus install listed here.
Feel free to ask any questions. If I can’t answer them I bet I can get answers.