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What to look for in an Indoor Air Quality Monitor

What Is an IAQ Monitor?

Monitoring indoor air quality is important for comfort and health reasons, both at home and in the workplace. People spend over 90% of their time indoors, repeatedly breathing the same recycled air, so keeping that air as clean as possible is in everyone’s best interest. Pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and more can negatively impact the quality of indoor air and even lead to disease when not properly managed.

One way to keep tabs on the quality of the indoor air in your home or workplace is by installing an indoor air quality, or IAQ, monitor.

IAQ monitors are consumer-friendly devices manufactured by a variety of brands, and typically cost between $150 and $250. They are usually easy to set up and can be freely moved around the home or workplace to monitor air quality. Base models of IAQ monitors measure two things:

  • PM2.5, which refers to particulate matter 2.5 microns and below. These are pieces of matter small enough to inhale and pass through our lungs to the bloodstream.
  • VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. These are usually chemicals that you can smell, like cleaning products.

Some IAQ monitors provide additional reporting on items like temperature and humidity, carbon monoxide levels, carbon dioxide levels, and more. The more sensitive the sensors, the higher the price of the IAQ monitor.

The idea is that owners of IAQ monitors can use the information they receive to make adjustments in their homes or workplaces to improve indoor air quality. Pairing an indoor air quality monitor with an efficient air conditioning unit and filters that are regularly changed can vastly improve the quality of the air in confined spaces.

Who Needs an IAQ Monitor?

Anyone can benefit from monitoring air quality indoors, but people who suffer from asthma and allergies are especially good candidates for these products. The readings on an IAQ monitor can better inform what items you keep inside the home or workplace – from furniture to carpet to paint on the walls.

What Are Some of the Top-Rated IAQ Monitors?

So which IAQ monitor should you buy? Of course, preference for what is measured will lead the decision, but which units receive the highest ratings? We expect units will improve over time but for now, here are some top picks in the marketplace:

  • Dylos: The “pro” version of this unit implements a laser particle sensor that measures down to PM 0.5 — particulates that small are presumed culprits for issues like illness and disease.
  • Foobot: With an array of sensor and calibration features, Foobot has a lot of options that other IAQ units do not yet offer. This is a good pick for anyone who wants variety within readings. A mobile app pairs with the monitor, and users can set alerts when pollutants and other irritants spike indoors.
  • NetAtMo: This weather station offers outdoor and indoor units in the same device. Carbon dioxide monitoring is a feature of the indoor mode, while outdoor mode items include temperature and humidity. This unit also offers a mobile app and designated website where users can monitor air pollutants and see a timeline for comparison.

Using an IAQ monitor is just the first step in improving overall air quality. Once quality is determined, it’s up to you to identify what needs to be done in order to improve and maintain air quality — the first step is typically to make sure you’re using a properly maintained, energy-efficient HVAC system.

Used in conjunction with the right HVAC system, air quality monitors can be a smart addition to your home. For questions about indoor air quality, air quality monitors, or HVAC systems, reach out to the professionals at Bob Jenson today.

How HVAC is Getting Smarter

Technology is Changing HVAC

In the not-too-distant future, you may rarely have to touch your home HVAC unit. With cloud technology becoming more involved in how we heat and cool our homes, smart HVAC systems are already making thousands of Americans more comfortable – while saving them money.

Driven by the boom in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, today’s thermostats not only sense the changing temperatures outside, but they can also align with your schedule. This creates the ideal solution for your needs, whether you’re out of the house or at home entertaining guests.

Read on to learn more about how smart HVAC is changing the home heating and cooling landscape, and what we can expect to see in the near future.

How IoT and Smart HVAC Work

If you’re unfamiliar with IoT, think of it as devices connected to the internet via sensors. The sensors themselves are not machines; rather the sensors exist to collect data for evaluation. After the information is analyzed, the devices connected to the sensors (such as your thermostat) can react accordingly.

A smart HVAC system can be controlled remotely, and advanced sensors in thermostats can adjust the system automatically to run efficiently in different conditions. What’s more, smart systems can alert you when they need routine maintenance or repairs. Ultimately, the main goal of IoT-connected HVAC units is to save you cash by controlling your home’s climate more efficiently and with minimal input from you.

Special Features of Smart HVAC Systems

A smart home HVAC system tackles problems your standard heating and cooling unit simply cannot.

For example, smart sensors monitor external conditions and adjust to maximize your home’s energy use for heating and cooling. Each degree your thermostat is off by can make up as much as 3% of your annual energy bill, which means accurate, self-adjusting HVAC units can save you plenty in money and energy.

Changing the temperature of your home couldn’t be easier with a smart system. You can preheat or cool down your home remotely before you return, or adjust it for sudden changes in your temperature needs. Each area or room in your smart HVAC-regulated home can be individually adjusted by IoT sensors, receiving more or less cold or hot air as needed.

The collection of real-time data, stored on the cloud, means your system’s performance is followed very closely. With more accuracy and attention focused on your HVAC, your system lasts longer, which helping you save even more over time.

The Future of Smart HVAC

Some experts estimate that by the year 2020, more than 20 billion devices will be connected through an IoT solution – and smart HVACs of the future will boast even more advanced features.

Thermostats are just now becoming available which have the ability to detect any room’s humidity level and how many occupants are inside. It’s only a matter of time before other variables will be added to the list of IoT-connected HVAC capabilities.

Other IoT-controlled units will now automatically sync with your calendar on your phone or through the cloud. This gives units the ability to constantly adjust temperatures without you even having to touch a button. Whether you’re away on vacation or at a quick doctor’s appointment, your home will be smart enough to change its climate as needed.

Future HVAC units will also be better equipped to handle power or internet outages as these systems become the norm. Fallback plans and backup systems will have to become more sophisticated and seamless, so that the loss of power or WiFi doesn’t disrupt a smart HVAC system.

Regardless of where technology is moving HVAC in the future, industry professionals can help you start saving money today. Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating for more information on the ideal smart HVAC solution for your home.

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