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Air monitor detecting problems at home? Here's how to improve the air you breathe

5 tips that can impact the air inside your home by addressing concerns including humidity, temperature, particulates, VOCs and also carbon dioxide.

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Many smart air monitors can detect more than just the temperature and humidity. They're able to read particles in the air, chemicals and even spikes in CO2. If you're seeing issues that can't be tackled by just turning down your thermostat, here are some tips that may help make the space inside your home more comfortable.

uHoo air monitor The uHoo air monitor can work with IFTTT to turn on air conditioning if temperature readings indicate it's too warmGearBrain

Temperature

Any decent air monitor will be able to tell you the temperature inside your home. This is done through simple sensors which pick up fluctuations of the climate inside. But this ability can also be handled by a smart thermostat, which can also then regulate your inside space by bringing in more heat or cooling things down.

uHoo Indoor Air Quality Sensor - 9 in 1 Smart Air Monitor to Boost Productivity & Health - Breathe Easy Climate Control Meter with CO2 Monitor, Thermometer, Humidity Gauge, Dust, VOC & Allergen Sensor



You can link certain air monitors to a smart thermostat as well, including uHoo and Awair. UHoo, which we've tested, even has an IFTTT Nest thermostat recipe which triggers the heat to come on or air conditioning if the monitor detects the temperature is not to your liking. Be aware, though, that certain IFTTT recipes with Nest may not work if you've migrated your account to Google.

Awair, which GearBrain has tested, can link to both the Ecobee Thermostat and the Sensi Smart Thermostat, which is easily handled in the Awair mobile app. You just need to click on either option, and then follow the instruction to connect to one of the devices.

Air humidifier during work. A smart humidifier can help increase humidity levels Getty Images/iStockphoto

Humidity

The humidity in a room can rise and fall with the weather as well as heating and cooling. Air conditioners and heaters can help make the air feel more comfortable in terms of temperature, but they can also draw out moisture.

Humidity, basically the level of water in the air, is an important metric. Too high, and It's hard for the skin to cool self down. Too low, and we can start to feel truly uncomfortable in our skin, developing chapped lips and even bloody noses.

When air monitors can pick up on too little humidity in the air, you can combat this with a humidifier, which can add moisture back into a room. There are a number of smart home humidifiers on the market today. For example, you can tap into an IFTTT recipe that activates a Wemo humidifier if a uHoo air monitor determines a room is too dry.

We haven't tested any of the smart humidifiers available today. But likely using any of these devices, smart or not, can be extremely helpful. Do remember, though, it's very important with humidifiers to clean filters regularly.


Awair air monitor Link an Awair air monitor to IFTTT to get fans to start circulating through a smart thermostatGearBrain

VOC

VOC stands for volatile air compounds, which can come from paints, dry-cleaned clothes and even air fresheners, according to the EPA. Running a humidifier or the heater is likely not going to affect the level of VOCs in the air.

One of the first suggestions on the EPA's own web site on how to reduce VOC exposure is to increase the ventilation in a space, especially if you're using anything that can release these into the air. But if your air monitor is detecting them, you can start by opening a window. Turning on a fan — one that ventilates outside ideally — is also a good option. Typically many homes have heating systems or just air conditioning units that can also tap into a fan.

Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor, 6.06 x 1.8 x 3.33 inches, White/Gray


There are also IFTTT recipes that will work to just turn the fan on via a smart thermostat. There's even one that will start circulating the air through an ecobee smart thermostat if an Awair air monitor specifically picks up that VOC levels are too high, if you own both of these devices.

Coway air purifier The Coway air purifier can help remove some elements from the air inside a spaceGearBrain

Particulates and dust

Particles in the air from dust to smoke can certainly affect the quality of the air we breathe. Inside our home they can come from cooking on a stove top, to the dust that comes in from opening a window. Here's a situation where relieving one concern may create another.

One of the best ways to clean the air inside a space is through an air purifier. There are a number of smart air purifiers on the market from Molekule and Coway, a brand which GearBrain recently reviewed, to Blueair, which we've also tested as well.

Coway Airmega AP-1512HHS (AP-1519P) Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Air Purifier, 16.8 x 18.3 x 9.6, Black



You can also ask a smart thermostat, like ecobee, to turn on a fan if particulates are detected at a high level, or connect Awair to a Samsung air purifier through IFTTT. And the Blueair Classic air purifier also has a nice IFTTT option which works the uHoo air monitor.

Hand opening window with flower decoration Opening the window may be the best way to lower CO2 levels Getty Images/iStockphoto

CO2

Carbon dioxide — not carbon monoxide — is part of what we breathe out through normal respiration. But there are other ways CO2 can collect inside, including through dry ice — a little fact I discovered after testing an Awair air monitor when I had a frozen box of food delivered to my home, and left the package sitting under the device.

CO2 is heavier than oxygen, and can collect inside a space. We know plants can actually take in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, which they use with sunlight to turn into food they need to grow.

Having plants in your home is great — but that's not going to likely help immediately lower a CO2 level that's spiking in your space. Really, one of the best ways to release CO2 is, again, to just bring in some outside air. Yes, we know you may be letting other elements we've mentioned above in too. Plus, if it's winter, you could be lowering pr raising the humidity in your home depending on where you live, and the same in the summer months. But sometimes the smartest thing you can do is just walk over and open a window.

While these tips may help reduce levels picked up by a home air monitor, please remember that these are not intended to serve as medical or health advice. Anyone experiencing medical and health problems should consult a medical and health professional.


Kaiterra Laser Egg+ CO2: Indoor Air Quality Monitor (Tracks PM2.5, Fine Dust, CO2, Temperature, and Humidity)




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