Review: Canāree by Piera Systems

This is a quick review of the Canāree. An indoor air quality monitor that you can carry around thanks to its compact size.

Specifications

  • 7-Bin Optical Particle Counter Sensor (PM1.0/PM2.5/PM10)
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Humidity Sensor
  • Air Pressure Sensor
  • USB-A
  • WiFi Module
  • RGB LED AQ Indicator
Read More »

Review: Aranet4 HOME – CO2 Monitor [EN/ES/GR]

(Scroll down for the Spanish or Greek version of the review/Desplácese hacia abajo para la versión en español o Griega/ Μετακινηθείτε προς τα κάτω για την ισπανική ή την ελληνική έκδοση της αξιολόγησης)

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It is not a coincidence that everywhere you look nowadays you see a small, square, and white monitor with a screen in the middle that displays some numbers! Well, this is Aranet4 which was developed by a Latvian company.

Aranet4 is a small and mighty CO2 monitor that surprise people for two reasons. First of all, it is very comprehensive, and secondly, most people are intrigued by the technology of the display as it uses an e-ink display and, to the untrained eye, looks like a simple sticker.

The commonly found AA batteries can operate the monitor for up to 2 years so you don’t have to worry about them. It uses a single channel non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor technology for accurate CO₂ measurements, read more here.

Specifications

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) NDIR
  • Temperature (ºC/ºF)
  • Relative Humidity
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • e-ink Display
  • Bluetooth
  • Buzzer (Alarm)
  • AA Battery Operated (up to 2 years)
Read More »

Shopping Guide: Air Quality Monitors

As you already know, I receive messages from readers of my blog almost every day. Their most common question is which air quality monitor should they choose. Most of the time in their message, they tell me that they go through Amazon to find a product, but they are confused from their reviews.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Monitors are a big hit nowadays due to the pandemic and because they are great tools at helping us understand indoor ventilation in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. Many new CO2 monitors pop up every day like mushrooms. Are they good, well …. you have to be careful!

No offense to Amazon or AliExpress or Facebook but most of their products are garbage for two reasons. Firstly, they are cheap products that come from China but without any quality control. Apple products come from China too, but Apple controls the quality of the shipping products. I have reviewed some cheap air quality monitors here on the blog just to justify their low price tag. Secondly, companies that sell these products don’t offer any kind of support nor updates. If the product has a small bug, you will stick with it forever. Many times the language they come with is badly translated or they come in Chinese if you are not careful enough during the purchase process.

Read More »

AQ Monitors meet Apple HomeKit

I really like to have all AQ Monitors and other devices connected to one place in order to make my life easier when I try to figure out what is going on in my house. I am an iOS user which means this post doesn’t concern Android users, however, I will advise you to stick around and read the benefits of having Apple HomeKit.

Not all AQ Monitor manufacturers support HomeKit and here comes HomeBridge which is a platform to bring non-supported devices to Apple’s ecosystem. There are only a few AQM manufacturers that officially support HomeKit, like Kaiterra, Eve and QingPing.

The community of the HomeBridge has allowed others to take advantage of the platform and make the user experience even better by porting many more AQMs into HomeKit.

Which AQMs support HomeBridge?

  • Airthings
  • PurpleAir
  • Awair
  • Sensor Community (aka Luftdaten)

How to set up HomeBridge?

Read More »

Review: Kaiterra Sensedge Mini for Business and Green Buildings

There is a demand for Green Buildings lately, which focus on the comfort and health of the building’s occupants. Energy efficiency was the original target for most of the green buildings certifications programs, but they have evolved, and they now focus on many more aspects of the indoor environments. Indoor Air Quality has become the number one priority for many green building certifications, and in order to be certified, there are strict rules for ventilation and AQ monitoring.

Here comes Kaiterra Sensedge Mini, which is a RESET certified indoor air quality monitor. The Sensedge Mini is a calibrated real-time monitor that has to be placed in buildings that wish to obtain a Green Buildings certification.

The Sensedge Mini uses two removable sensor modules to replace the traditional, costly calibration processes for long-term accuracy with minimal maintenance.

Read More »

Review: KAMU Spirometer (Asthma)

I have been talking about air quality monitors and air purifiers in this blog for a long time. They help us see the air we breathe and mitigate pollution. However, is there a way to measure the impact of pollution on our lungs?

Well yes, thanks to technological advances and spirometry, which measures lung function, doctors can use these data in assessing breathing patterns that identify conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD.

In this review, I am going to present to you the KAMU Spiro. It is a handheld bluetooth device that helps us test our lung function at home with a hospital-grade mobile spirometer.

With a single test, we can get FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF values. The spirometry results are saved in KAMU Spiro’s memory until we upload them to our KAMU Asthma app, where we can view them at any time.

What is FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF?

Read More »

Fitness Air Quality Monitor, is that possible?

Over the years, I have spoken with many companies in the field of air quality and once in a while, companies will tell me that they want athletes to purchase their devices in order to improve performance. I am always skeptical about this because I haven’t seen any integration of fitness data with the AQ monitors so far that could give some possible adverts or ways for the athlete to improve their performance. You don’t expect people to make assumptions you have to give them results and guide them in the right direction.

During covid-19 lockdown, I worked out at home and as I have access to a lot of data (fitness and air quality) I decided to make some experiments and see how my body reacts to poor indoor air quality and good indoor air quality and if the whole hypothesis works.

Smartwatches are very common these day and all of them feature a heart rate monitor and many more sensors. Recently, Apple and Fitbit released pulse oximeter sensors in their latest wearables. These new sensors in the smartwatches could unlock many more potentials and provide us with data that could save lives.

Let’s continue with the argument of what current AQMs could do if they combine fitness data. First of all, there is a possible problem. In case the monitor is stationary then it won’t be able to tell if the user was near the device or not during the workout session but this could be addressed as most times fitness data come along with GPS coordinates. By allowing the device to access the location data only when the user is in the same location as the AQM (home, gym, etc.) we solve the issue. Another possible solution is if the monitor comes with a Bluetooth/Ultra Wideband chip then it can easily sense the presence of the athlete/individual.Read More »

Air Quality Monitors – Comparison List 2020 Q4

It has been a while since the last time I updated the list with all the air quality monitors in the market. Just to be clear, there are a lot more Chinese knockouts that I haven’t included because they don’t have any support from the companies either they offer something unique.

This time the list includes some Pro-level indoor AQMs like the elichens
Indoor Air Quality PRO Station
and the NEMo XT – Indoor.

  • Prices may vary during time.
  • Some Companies don’t specify on their data sheet if their devices are capable to measure PM2.5 or PM10 and they just mention the word dust.
  • Some other companies say: Our product goes beyond CO₂ by analyzing substances that directly affect your well-being by measuring VOCs. They aren’t clear if their devices have CO₂ sensor.
  • Some of the devices are AQI Monitors and Air Purifiers Combo. On this list you can only read the features as an AQI monitor.

Review: SPARROW W500

We have discussed a lot of times how air pollution can affect human health in the long-term. However, there is one pollutant that can have a severe impact on our health even in small concentrations in the short-term: Carbon Monoxide (CO).

Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless toxic gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of fatal air poisoning in many countries around the world because it is hard to detect with our senses and it is classified as highly toxic.

About half of the carbon monoxide in Earth’s atmosphere is anthropogenic from the burning of fossil fuels (diesel and gasoline), oil, paraffin, propane, natural gas, trash, and biomass.

Here comes SPARROW W500 Air Quality Monitor by ECO SENSORS, a small portable monitor that can follow you anywhere. It is designed to alert you when high CO concentrations are present.

Hardware

  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor by SPEC Sensors
  • Humidity Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Alarm (audible buzzer)
  • Multicolour LED Light
  • Bluetooth Connection
  • Micro-USB port

SPARROW is super small  5.6cm x 3.3cm x 1cm and super light as it weighs 18g/0.03 lbs. You can pair it with a smartphone (iOS and Android) but also it can operate on its own as the buzzer and the Yellow/Red/Purple LED light can notify you when there are significant CO concentrations around. When the CO concentrations are safe the Green LED light will always flash once per second, except when charging, after all it can inform you about the CO concentrations without the need to launch the app or take your phone into your hands.

The battery will last 2 plus weeks, which is great for those who don’t want to charge one more device every day or so. I have set it with a 1 minute data log rate. The device has a button that you need to press every-time you want to connect it with the phone, that way the Bluetooth connection is established at the moment, otherwise the SPARROW would have to be in a mode where it was always broadcasting for Bluetooth signal, which is a huge power drain for both devices, phone and the air quality monitor.

Fortunately, my house is CO free as I don’t burn anything but we all travel and for those with a garage it is a mandatory device to have. In the picture below you can see the device inside a closed jar with smoke from a burning match as I wanted to stimulate the sensor and simulate the CO concentrations. I must say the CO sensor is a lot more stable and cross-sensitivity proof which means other gases won’t affect the measurements.

SPARROW_Jar CO

SPARROW comes with a carabiner clip but there is an option to attach it on the back of a phone case with a special mount system the case maker OtterBox has developed and they support many cases for iOS, Android phone, and tablets.

SPARROW Animation Case

The App

Visually, the app is not pretty but it does the job. There are a lot of options to tweak and to adjust the app and device to your needs but it lacks a better user experience UX though a better user interface UI. Of course, this is something that can be fixed with future app updates.

You can share the measurements (data Log file) via email which is a neat feature but they go a step further and you can connect the device with the micro-USB cable to your computer and enable direct communication, however, this is an advanced feature.

The app allows you to select different data log rates between 1 second / 10 seconds / 1 minute / 10 minutes / 1 hour / 1 day. There is another cool option to enable if you want  the device not to keep low CO concentrations in the log file, that way you don’t have a huge  amount of data entries to process later on, like in my case.

Literally, you can customise the device to your needs even by changing the Sensitivity mode for different thresholds. You can measure in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m³). You can set up emergency messaging by allowing SPARROW app to send messages to emergency contacts when very high concentrations are detected.

Premium mobile phone screen mockup template

 

Conclusion

Breathing CO can cause a series of health issues. Unknowingly, exposure to moderate levels of CO over long periods of time has also been linked with an increased risk of heart disease. If your environment is surrounded by vehicles (suitable for #VanLife) or other sources of burning fossil fuels then having such a device that can guard your health is worth investing in. SPARROW W500 is one of them.