Not sleeping well lately? Poor air quality in your home can negatively impact your sleep, energy levels, and cause cold symptoms like watery eyes or sniffles; not to mention other dreadful possibilities like lung disease or cancer.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
The air quality within our homes can be up to eight times worse than outdoors, and on specific occasions — say while repainting a wall — way more than that too. Our need for a more secure and confined environment has somehow contributed to this disparity in air quality indoors and outdoors.
Indoor air quality can deteriorate due to activities like cooking, which introduces smoke and other particulate matter. Cleaning and DIY hobbies can introduce Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). Home building materials and the furniture may also release these VOCs. In the process of trying to secure our homes by locking doors and keeping the windows shut, we may also inadvertently seal in carbon dioxide that we exhale. Furnaces and other wood-fueled heaters also produce the deadly gas carbon monoxide. High humidity and damp spaces breed mold.
Here are six different smart indoor air quality monitors you should consider. Each monitor may track some or most of the home air pollutants while some may also have extra-added features.
The regular smoke detector you already know is growing up. A number of options, including the Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, are bringing smart home technology to the extremely important life-saving device. The Protect detects both smoke and carbon monoxide in a home. Before the actual alarm sounds, a voice will provide an early warning. And when that happens, the information is also sent to the companion iOS or Android app. Using the app, you can also quickly and easily hush Nest Protect in the case of a false alarm, like when burning toast.
There’s no more worrying about being woken up in the middle of the night by that annoying low-battery chirp. Whenever you turn off the lights for the night, a quick green glow lets you know that the detector has been testing itself and the batteries are good. So there won’t be any rude wake-up calls. If you have more than one Protect, they will work together through a home’s wireless network. So when one alarm sounds, the other will also go off.
And instead of having to worry about running a monthly test to make sure the speaker and horn are working properly, the Protect will automatically run its own with no intervention needed.
It also works with other Nest products including the Nest Cam and Nest Thermostat. In the event of a fire, the Nest Cam will automatically begin recording the event while the smart thermostat will shut off to stop the spread of smoke and fire.
Tracking five major factors of air quality — dust, chemicals, carbon dioxide, relative humidity, and temperature — Awair is made from natural materials including 100 percent North American walnut.
The company has also teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to provide helpful tips. An Awair score, from 0 to 100 will help you quickly view the air quality at home. That color-coded score can be seen on the Awair itself and through the companion app for iOS or Android. Anyone can track and monitor environmental readings over time to see patterns and more. It also connects to other smart home devices like the Amazon Echo lineup, Nest, IFTTT, and more.
Covering both indoor and outdoor environmental conditions, the Netatmo Weather Station comes with two different units. The smaller, outdoor station tracks relative humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure, and outdoor air quality.
The IAQ monitor is built into the larger home base station. It tracks indoor temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide levels, while the Netatmo Weather Station also tracks noise levels indoors. All of the data is available in the companion iOS or Android app, including comprehensive history graphs. Thanks to compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa, a simple voice query can let you know the indoor or outdoor conditions.
While radon can be found at some level in every building, it definitely has the potential to be dangerous. Completely invisible and odorless, in higher levels, it can cause a number of health problems including lung cancer. Along with tracking that gas, the AirThings Wave will monitor temperature and humidity in your home. Using the companion iOS or Android app, you can view information about all of the data points.
There’s no need to worry about constantly charging this device as it uses Bluetooth to communicate with your phone. The two AA batteries will provide up to a year and a half of power with normal use. The detector can be installed on either a wall or ceiling with a single-screw mount plate.
Instead of needing to check your phone, color-coded LEDs on the Wave will show you the indoor air quality at a glance.
Withings Home is an indoor air quality monitor with a big twist — a high-definition video camera. Along with providing a look into what’s happening at home with a 135-degree field of view, the camera can intelligently track both movements and people. Supporting two-way audio, it can also double as a baby monitor that plays lullabies. All video is available in the cloud as a video diary accessible through a companion iOS or Android app. The magnetic base plate allows the device to stay on pretty much any surface.
When it comes to air quality monitoring, the unit will track humidity levels, temperature, and VOCs. When sensing unhealthy air conditions, a red light will appear on the unit.
An easy-to-use indoor air quality monitor, it takes just minutes to install and start receiving data from Foobot. The monitor tracks VOCs, particulate matter, relative humidity, and temperature. Using the iOS or Android app [No longer available], you can view an indoor air quality score that combines all of the metrics into a simple and comprehensive score. The app also provides real-time details for each data point. You can even tag a specific event to recall what is causing pollutants and receive tips on how to breathe better air.
Even if you don’t have a smartphone nearby, LED lights on the Foobot will let you know about the environmental conditions inside a home. Using services like IFTTT or Stringify, you can connect Foobot to other smart home devices.
These are just a few of the interesting smart indoor air quality monitors currently available on the market. Any of them should be a great addition to your home.
Which direction do you think smart air quality monitoring devices should be heading? Why not a smartphone that incorporates IAQ sensors? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Do you have an air conditioner? Then you should read our piece on AC blunders to avoid.
Post originally written by Phoon on September 30, 2014.