Could an Air Quality Monitor save your life when it is paired with a Smart Light bulb?

Have you ever wondered how to use the RGB LED bulb you have purchased in a more productive way? Sure, you can control the lights via your phone but this is not “smart” plus if you manage your lights with your phone it may take longer to turn off and on a light fixture than just by hitting the switch.

The obvious is to set up a visual (light) indicator each time the air quality is poor in your house, for example, when PM2.5 is high, then the lights flash twice with orange colour. However, the ultimate way to give real value to a smart light bulb is when the combination of an AQ monitor and a light bulb can save your life in a real-life threatening situation. How?

Theory

Smoke particles act as a filter for sunlight or artificial light by scattering shorter wavelengths like green and blue and leaving longer wavelengths of the light spectrum behind. This allows more orange and red colours to pass through and reach your eyes. 1920px-EM_spectrum.svg.png

As a result, by having red colour lights inside a room and near an exit door when a fire emerges, it will allow you to see better and consecutively find your way out faster.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) among other pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM2.5/10) can be a great indicator of a fire inside a house. Typically, a poorly ventilated room will reach ~2,000ppm in an everyday scenario, so we can safely choose a value above 6,000ppm in order to avoid unnecessary alarms. A fire could easily surpass that value. FYI, most CO2 sensors can measure up to 10,000ppm.

Lifx High CO2
Living-Room light bulb

Setup

You need two things, an air quality monitor equipped with a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) or a Carbon Monoxide (CO) or Particulate Matter (PM) sensor and at least one Smart Light bulb near the exit of a house/apartment. Both the air quality monitor and the smart light bulb need to support IFTTT or HomeKit/Google Home.

For my setup, I connected Airthings Wave Plus + Hub with a LIFX light bulb (1st generation) via IFTTT, which is a free service. A comment here, the older iOS version of IFTTT used to be much more intuitive and easy to use.

airthings LIFX IFTTT
Screenshot: Airthings Wave Plus & IFTTT app and how to set up the applet

In the screenshot above you can see how I set up the IFTTT applet for my Wave Plus monitor. First, I chose a very high CO2 concentration 6,000ppm, and then I chose all my smart bulbs to Turn ON with 100% Brightness and the colour RED. Super easy!

The same logic applies for other AQ monitors, so I have prepared the same applet for different AQ monitors (Awair & uHoo), see screenshots below. You may need to change some parameters like the name of your AQ device and the light bulb manufacture you use, Philips Hue, Lutron, Sengled, Magic Light, etc. I think, IFTTT allows 3rd parties to search for these applets via the smartphone app.

 

uhoo LIFX IFTTT.jpg
Screenshot: uHoo & IFTTT app and how to set up the applet
AWAIR LIFX IFTTT
Screenshot: Awair 2nd Edition & IFTTT app and how to set up the applet

3 thoughts on “Could an Air Quality Monitor save your life when it is paired with a Smart Light bulb?

  1. This is a great idea, Sotirios. But I will use it differently.

    I will set up the Smart Light Bulb to turn green, yellow and red depending on the PM2.5 levels found outside of our home as measured by the Purple Air sensor on our balcony.

    This way my partner and our babysitter will easily know when they can safely open the windows, or when it is safe to take the child outside, without having to look at the purple air website (which they don’t do because they are not really IT-oriented people, unfortunately). The 3-coloured light setup will be really easy to understand and use for them and will actually lift the responsibility to take care of the air quality inside our home off of my shoulders only…

    Thanks for the hint!

    Andrea

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes absolutely, this is a great idea and a twitter follower suggested the same thing. Another follower suggested the Home Assistant app and hardware as it runs local on your house with the help of a Raspberry Pi, without latency.

      Like

  2. That’s a cool idea to have the lights turn on as soon as the air quality sensor goes off. I could see how that would be a good way to wake you up at night if you are asleep. Hopefully, that could be a good way to alert you while you’re awake as well, so I should consider getting an air quality sensor that could do that.

    Liked by 1 person

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