Date: June 19, 2018
Author(s): Tom Roeder
Most of us don’t think too much about our air quality. As long as we can breathe, why think about it? Poor indoor air quality can have some pretty significant effects on you, ranging from poor sleeping, fatigue, and even focus. Monitoring your air quality can be just as easy as it is important, thanks to modern technology.
Air quality: the most exciting topic of the day? No, but a very important one. Believe it or not, indoor air pollution can be worse than outdoor, but what does that mean? Should you open a window, or is it time to invest in a HEPA air filter?
These questions aren’t easily answered without knowing what your indoor air quality looks like.
Today we are taking a look at an Indoor Air Quality Monitor from Foobot. The Foobot promises being able to track indoor air quality, the airborne pollutants that impact your health, and alert you when air pollution spikes, to better aid your strategy in knowing what is affecting your indoor air quality.
The Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor’s appearance is very nondescript, as I think it should be. It is about the size of a pint can of beer, and is all white, with some slats on the side and top.
It is USB powered and comes with its own power supply. The Foobot is 100% app-enabled, so all there is to do it plug it in and download the app.
The app is available for iOS and Android, and is available for no charge.
Once downloaded, the app installs itself and the setup is quite easy. The Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor takes a few days for the sensors to calibrate before the unit’s ready for use, so be prepared to wait a few days after getting the Foobot home.
Once it is set up, it will send you a push notification letting you know the sensors have been calibrated, and is ready to go. I had these notifications enabled at first, but I really do hate getting notifications on my phone (I let almost no apps send them). The notifications I saw were when the air quality had moved a significant amount, good or bad. Foobot will send you a notification telling you this, and asking if you would like to label the event. The few times I let the notifications come through, I had no idea what it was talking about, so I never labeled the events.
There are certain events you will have in your house that will affect air quality, such as cooking, possibly running the vacuum cleaner, etc. Foobot not only can notify you via push notifications about your air quality, but also with the LED indicators on the device itself. Blue means good air quality, orange means bad. The LEDs are hidden behind a baffle, so you don’t ever actually see the direct light, just the glow from them. This brightness can be adjusted via the app, or you can choose to turn the lighting off altogether.
In the app, you can see the local outdoor air quality, from a station that Foobot pulls data from in your area, although the closest one for me is about 15 miles away. This data isn’t very precise, it doesn’t give you any details as to why the air quality is scored the way it is, but at least gives you a good reference point to help you decide (depending on weather) if it would be better or worse for you to open your windows and let some of that fresh air in, or not!
The indoor air quality section breaks things down more for you, letting you know in a little more granular detail where your air quality stands. You get a reading for your indoor humidity and temperature, as well as volatile compounds, carbon dioxide, and fine particles. You can also see historical trends for your contaminants levels, broken down by minutes, hours, days, and even weeks, to help you identify trends.
The app will also automatically email you a monthly report of how your air quality was.
The only real problem I saw with this app, is the lack of information. You get readings on volatile compounds, but what is that? What does it mean? It’s not hard to go online and research for yourself, but I feel like some accompanying information in the app would go a long way.
Overall, I like the Foobot Air Quality Monitor. If you are asthmatic, or have someone in your house that is, this can be a great tool in identifying trends in your air quality, and see if maybe you should or need to add some household plants to scrub out some of the CO2. The Foobot can be found on Amazon currently for $199.00 USD.
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