The air inside your home is often a factor that we spend little time considering when it comes to overall air quality, health effects, and even the specific pollutants that may be lingering within the air of your personal indoor space. Indoor air quality has become an important health concern, as research has begun to find the various hazards that can loom within the space of indoor environments, especially when it comes to airborne pollution – such as chemicals, noxious odors, particulate matter, etc. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, whether that be in a home, office, or other indoor space. Additionally, this environmental agency also concluded that based on research, indoor air pollution levels were found to be two to five times – and even occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels. Overtime, as indoor air pollution begins to accumulate in the air of an enclosed indoor environment, like a home, it can lead to significant health effects to occupants as well as a tainting to the indoor air quality in this environment.

When it comes to gaining insight into the levels of pollution in your home, and additionally the various pollutants present in the air space – it may require the use of air quality monitors to detect these various air pollution characteristics in your home’s air. Air quality monitors have become a popular addition in many people’s homes, due to their ability to give homeowners an accurate reading of their indoor air quality, including airborne pollution levels, the types of pollutants present in the air, as well as measurements of your home’s humidity levels and temperature – which can all be contributing factors to indoor air quality problems. However, when it comes to selecting the ideal air quality monitor for your home it is important to assess exactly what these air quality monitors will read in your air and the ease of use that these devices will have in your home.

In this article we are going to learn more about why you need a home air quality monitor, what airborne pollutants these devices will measure, and determine what is the ideal home air quality monitor for your personal indoor environment.  

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important

Why Is Indoor Air Quality ImportantIndoor air quality (IAQ) is an important component to any home, as it can affect various functions of the home as well as even the health of occupants in this indoor environment. The indoor air quality of a home will refer to the air quality that is present within and around the buildings and structures of the home, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the home occupants. Unknowingly pollutants will enter into the air space of an indoor environment, coming from a variety of sources – including painting, combustion fuels, tobacco, building materials and furnishings, cleaning products, and even outdoor sources (like radon, pesticides, etc.). When it comes to the impact of airborne pollution on the overall indoor air quality of a home, will solely depend on how much of a given pollutant is emitted into the air and how hazardous the emitted pollutant is to this environment.

When indoor air pollution reaches elevated levels in a home, it can lead to potential health problems for the individuals living in this indoor environment. According to the EPA, many health effects can show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposure to these airborne pollutants. They have determined these symptoms that an individual may experience from airborne pollution exposure can include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

What is an Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Did you know that more than 96% of homes have at least one indoor air quality problem present in the indoor environment? These indoor air quality problems will usually be caused by an airborne pollutant or pollutants that are present in the home’s air, and thus is having an impact on the indoor air quality of this personal indoor environment. However, when it comes to identifying the actual airborne pollutant culprit that is compromising your home’s air, the best tool that can be used for this pollutant identification process would be an indoor air quality monitor. An indoor air quality monitor can measure air pollution in your home, using specific mechanisms that will allow for the monitor to track the airborne pollution levels, along with other various air conditions (like humidity and temperature) that can compromise the indoor air quality in an indoor environment.

Typically, these air quality monitors will track the air quality levels, even tracking outdoor air quality to help provide context for your indoor readings. These measurement readings of your indoor air quality will be displayed either on a screen provided from the air quality monitor, or in some cases on your smartphone that is linked to the air quality monitor device. Many air quality monitors for the home use Bluetooth compatibility and syncing abilities that allow you to access the air quality data on your smartphone, which will help to provide an easy and effective method for identifying indoor air quality problems in your indoor environment.

Types of Air Pollution Sensors for Home

There are various air pollution sensors that can be found on the market today, all working and measuring different airborne pollutants in an indoor air space. As we discussed previously, air quality monitors, also known as air pollution sensors, will work to track the pollution levels present in the indoor air of the environment. Many of these air pollution sensors are specialized to monitor and measure certain pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals, and temperature/humidity. Ultimately, these air pollution sensors will help to serve many purposes in a home to help bring attention to pollutant problems in an indoor environment. There are various different types of air quality sensors or monitors that can be used to measure air pollution, such as; outdoor air quality monitors, in-duct air quality monitors, and interior air quality monitors.

  • Types Of Air Pollution Sensors For HomeOutdoor Air Quality Monitor: Outdoor monitors work to gather ambient air quality data by measuring common outdoor pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone. These devices are usually weather-resistant, and they must meet certain environmental tests to be certified. These outdoor monitors are widely used to study ambient pollution levels which makes it ideal for measuring outdoor air near schools, offices, and other commercial environments.
  • In-Duct Air Quality Monitor: An in-duct air quality monitor is similar to interior air quality monitors, except for that they are located within the HVAC system of the home. These types of air quality monitors are used specifically to provide air quality data and information from within the air ducts of an indoor environment. Typically, these air quality monitors are capable of measuring temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc.
  • Interior Air Quality Monitors: An interior air quality monitor is a free standing, often times portable air quality monitor that can be moved throughout the inside of the home. These monitors are easy to use and will provide immediate monitoring, which can be done through assess on a smartphone. When it comes to the capabilities of these interior air quality monitors, they are usually able to measure pollutants such as carbon dioxide, TVOCs, humidity, temperature, and even radon in some of these devices.

Why Do We Need to Monitor Air Quality

Many people may be under the belief that outdoor air is the only environment that is polluted, however, that is simply not the case. As we discussed previously, it has been found that indoor air quality can be more polluted than even outdoor air, in many cases. The range of air pollution in a home or other indoor environment can range, and they can include chemicals, noxious odors, particulate matter, and other miscellaneous pollutants. Depending on the specific pollutants in the air and the concentration in which these pollutants are present, it could lead to adverse health reactions from the occupants of this environment. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to monitor the air quality in your personal indoor environments, while also adding air purification devices into this environment to try to control and mitigate indoor air problems.

Indoor air quality monitors are popular devices that many homeowners are turning to for their home, to measure pollutants such as tVOCs, temperature, humidity, and even other outdoor pollutants that can enter into the air space of a home. Below we are going to discuss how these devices measure these pollutants and how these various levels of pollutants can impact the indoor air quality of the home.

tVOC Levels

Tvoc LevelsVolatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a combination of gases and odors that are emitted from many different toxins and chemicals found in everyday products in a home, and therefore it is one of the most common pollutants in a home. When discussing tVOC levels, this will be the total level of VOCs present in a designated air space, such as a home or other indoor environment. These chemical compounds can be emitted into the air of your home from an array of everyday items such as paints, varnishes, wax, cosmetics, cleaning products, and even cooking.

Unfortunately, many indoor environments such as homes, will have limited ventilation and air flow present in the space – which will lead to an overabundance of VOCs in the air that will accumulate overtime. Total VOC levels can range from 0-250 ppb (VOC content in the air is low), 250 to 2000 ppb (average level of VOCs) and 2000 ppb or more VOCs (high VOC content – take action to mitigate). To gage and monitor the levels of VOCs in a home, the best method to use would be an indoor air quality monitor.

Temperature and Humidity Monitoring

When it comes to the indoor air quality of a home, there can be several factors that will play a factor in these air quality levels – such as airborne pollutants, humidity and temperature. The indoor temperature can have an effect on productivity, mood, and comfort levels in a home – which can be significant to a person’s health. In addition, temperature will also have an impact on sleeping patterns, as this can be a factor that you will want to correct to increase well-being.

Also, humidity can have a direct influence on indoor air quality, since too much or too little humidity can affect allergies and cold/flu symptoms significantly. When humidity levels are too high, it can exacerbate mold growth and rotting in the home. Whereas low humidity levels can cause static electricity, dry skin and hair, and increased susceptibility to colds and respiratory illnesses. Thus, being able to monitor both humidity and temperature is necessary to aid in the control and mitigation of indoor air quality problems.

Airthings Wave Mini Indoor Air Quality Sensor

Airthings Wave Mini - Air Quality Meter for VOCsAirthings Wave Mini is small in size but big in impact. This indoor air quality monitor is the first step into understanding your indoor air quality, or a great addition to your existing Airthings air quality ecosystem. Featuring TVOCs, temperature, and humidity sensors. The Total VOC sensor monitors toxins and chemicals in your air that can cause negative health effects. VOCs are emitted from everyday household items such as toys and plastic products. These unhealthy chemicals can also be emitted from cleaning products, furniture and flooring. A VOC detector is key to ensure the optimal health and comfort levels of every room.

An additional humidity sensor enables you to enjoy the best indoor humidity level for your specific home. Make sure humidity levels do not rise too high or fall too low. Optimum indoor humidity levels are between 30% to 59%. Healthy humidity levels are key to prevent mold and the spread of infectious disease.

In addition, the temperature sensor allows you to maintain not only a healthy home but a comfortable one too. Get your results straight to your smartphone, with this compact and easy-to-use companion. Or use as a complement to the Wave Plus for the complete air quality picture.

Set-Up & Installation  

Screen Shot 2019 11 14 At 3.01.43 PmSimply use the stand to place the device on a flat surface. Alternatively, you can fix the mounting bracket to the ceiling or wall using a screw. When finding a screw, make sure to use the appropriate screw for your wall type. The screw must have a low clearance height on the head for the device to attack easily to the base.

Thanks to the built-in magnet, simply snap the unit onto the mounted bracket once you have installed it to the wall.

Do not place the device close to vents or windows. Minimum 1 meter/ 3 feet distance.

When it comes to setting up your Airthings Wave Mini, simply wave it in front of your device to see a visual indication of your indoor air quality levels. To download measurement data, open the Airthings Wave app when the phone is within Bluetooth range of your device. The app will search for devices and download historical data. You will be notified if any actions are needed through the app.

The Wave Mini also includes Airthings Smartlink which works with the future Airthings Hub for live updates.

Article Sources:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Indoor Air Quality (link)
  2. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (link)
  3. Cision PR Web: AirAdvice State of Our Indoor Air Report 2007 Reveals Unhealthy Air in 9 Out of 10 American Homes: More than 96% of homes tested have at least one indoor air quality problem (link)
  4. Airthings: What are tVOCs? (link)

Airthings Wave Mini

$79.99

Three sensors – Airborne chemicals and odors (TVOCs), temperature, and humidity

Easy to use

Versatile air quality monitor designed for everyone; building managers, employers, and homeowners

Connectivity using Bluetooth 5 or Airthings Smartlink with the Airthings Hub