Indoor air quality is a major influence on the health and comfort of your home. With 90% of our time spent indoors, determining the quality of the air that surrounds us is important. Most people don’t know that air quality in their homes can be up to five times worse than outdoors.
The concentration of CO2 (carbon dioxide) has long been used as an indicator for indoor air quality and can be measured by low-cost sensors. However, there is more than CO2 that should be measured to determine whether or not the air quality in your home is suitable.
Indoor air quality can deteriorate with activities such as cooking, cleaning and painting to name a few. These activities can introduce Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). Home building materials and furniture may also release these particles. In the process of trying to secure your home by locking doors and keeping the windows shut, you may also inadvertently seal in unhealthy air.
Luckily, there is an increasing range of connected devices that allow you to monitor your home for air quality and alert you to take action when necessary. This is our overview of such devices.
The French company Netatmo sells a fully featured weather station that also monitors the quality of the air inside your home. The weather station consists of an indoor and an outdoor module but you can also add up to 3 additional indoor modules, a rain gauge and a wind gauge. The outdoor module measures temperature and humidity, and also downloads air quality settings from the nearest weather station.
The indoor module measures your comfort and alerts you when its time to air out your home to bring down its pollution levels. It does this by measuring temperature, humidity, air quality and CO2. There is also a sound metre to detect the level of noise. All of your data is recorded online and made permanently accessible to you, on your smartphone, tablet or PC.
Foobot is an indoor air quality monitor designed to help you take control of your closest environment. With a first reading on the device your will be able to know in an instant if your air is polluted or not.
By scanning 24/7 your environment and learning from your habits, Foobot will provide you warnings and actionable advice to keep fresh air at home. On the mobile app, you will be able to: access to your historical data and tag pollution peaks; get notified when crossing a threshold (as defined by the World Health Organisation); and get warned from future pollution peaks.
Pollutants detected include: Volatile Organic Compounds (Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene, Toluene etc.), PM2.5: Particulate Matter, Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.
Air Mentor Pro is an intelligent air quality monitoring device. With built-in industrial grade sensors, it can detect concentrations of CO2, VOC together with CO, PM2.5 and PM10, Temperature, and Relative Humidity.
The sensor can record 3 days of measurements and syncs automatically via bluetooth with your smartphone. The app shows air quality changes via hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly charts. It also analyzes air quality patterns in your home and provides suggestions to help you improve the quality of air.
The Awair Smart Air Quality Monitor keeps track of the air around you, measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, toxic chemicals, and dust. You tell the app what’s important to you — allergy concerns, sleep quality, or productivity— and the app will make recommendations based on its readings and learn your preferences as you interact. The LED display offers a quick snapshot of your current air quality and can be set to multiple modes, including an optional clock feature.
Awair’s TrueSense technology uses dedicated monitoring and complex analytics to achieve greater accuracy and control. TrueSense analyzes data from sensors integrated into the device to individually measure temperature/humidity, dust, VOC levels, and CO2. The Awair Score (0 to 100 scale) and colors communicate like a stop light. Green is for Good, yellow for Fair and red for Poor.
Eve Room goes beyond CO2 by analyzing substances that directly affect a user’s well-being by employing MEMS, humidity and temperature sensors. The MEMS sensor detects and measures VOCs such as alcohol, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, amines, as well as aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Organic compounds are not only byproducts of human metabolism, but high concentrations of VOCs can be found in everyday objects and remain hidden to CO2 sensors.
Using Eve Room, the measured gas concentration of VOCs is converted into equivalent CO2 concentration that is easy to read and understand. The Eve app displays current and historical measurements in ppm. Values are displayed in different colors and divided into “Excellent” (450-700 ppm), “Good” (700-1100 ppm), “Acceptable“ (1100-1600 ppm), “Moderate” (1600-2100 ppm), and “Poor” (above 2100 ppm).
Eve connects directly to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth Smart technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge. The device is HomeKit enabled and works with Siri.
Blueair Aware checks your environment for carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature, total VOC’s (including benzene and formaldehyde), and airborne particles such as dust, organic compounds, metals, mold, smoke, and pollen. The device works seamlessly with your smart phone and the Blue Friend App.
Air quality data is collected in real-time, sending updates every 5 minutes via Wi-Fi. The data is summarized under five measures: PM 2.5 (airborne particles), VOC (gases), CO2 (carbon dioxide), temperature, and humidity. Aware operates silently and is equipped with a glowing LED to alert you of issues with your air quality.
Koto Air are small two-inch wireless cube shaped devices that continuously monitor temperature, humidity, air quality (VOC), dust (PO), noise, light, and send all that data via Wi-Fi to the cloudserver so you can access it anywhere. Apart from these, the device sends you alerts when temperature is getting too high or too low, when its time to turn on the lights, aerate and more.
Koto Air syncs with your smartphone through Bluetooth. You can then use the iOS and Android Koto app to see how healthy the room is, what you can do to improve it, or explore the room’s history. Set your own criteria to trigger an alert, such as the air becoming too polluted or the temperature getting to high or low.
Powered by a rechargeable battery and streaming data wirelessly, the cubes themselves are completely self-contained and portable. Multiple cubes can also act as a network and data can be kept private or shared with groups. For remote access, you can add a CubeSensors Base that syncs all measurements into the cloud in real-time.
The device is still not up for sale, but you can pre-order to be first in line when they start shipping.
Birdi is a smoke alarm and CO detector with some additional interesting features. The device is packed with sensors which monitor dust, soot, pollen, temperature, humidity, air staleness, pollution, and particulates, so you get a comprehensive picture of the air in your home.
Birdi then sends all of this information directly to your phone. In case of emergency, the device flashes its lights, sounds the alarm and sends alerts directly to the phones of anyone who needs to know. Rather conveniently, you can silence the alarm from your smartphone.
The company raised funds for Birdi on Indiegogo. It is just now, more than a year past the originally specified delivery date, that it has started shipping the device to backers.
Atmotube is another crowdfunded device. We were one of the first ones to receive and test the product, and can say that this is one of those rare crowdfunded projects that has delivered on nearly everything it promised.
So what exactly is Atmotube?
Well, this is a portable air pollution monitor. The device was created to raise awareness about both indoor and outdoor air quality, so you can make the right choices every day and live healthier. It is especially helpful to asthmatics and lung disease sufferers, but is also useful for parents of young children and the elderly.
The device goes with you wherever you go, and monitors VOC, carbon monoxide, humidity and temperature. At the moment, the device takes reading every second which means the battery life is about 6-7 hours. A future firmware update will extend this to up to two weeks by taking readings less often.
All real-time measurements are accessible from the app on your mobile phone – together with your personal Air Score that motivates you to avoid the most polluted places and live healthier. The app also displays a map with all your readings and readings from other Atmotube users around the world.
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