We all hear about pollution and how the way we live makes the cities and towns air quality bad. In London you can see the smog on a sunny day, but how about inside? We never think about how what we do indoors changes the air we breathe for the majority of our time. A few months ago Foobot sent me an air quality monitor to do a study on how people’s homes fare on the pollution scale.
What is a Foobot?
The device is a compact tower that can sit in any room in the house. It is plugged into the mains and connects to the wifi. There is an associated app for Android and iOS users which you link to your Foobot (or Foobots if you have more than one)
How does it work?
The app connects to the device through the wifi network meaning you can access the data from the tower at any time. When you first set it up there are instructions on the app to help you connect to it. It then needs a week to “warm up”, where the sensors get used to the environment. During this time your results aren’t accurate so sit tight and wait for that week to pass. The Foobot sends you a notification when the sensors are ready then you can keep an eye on what it’s like in your home. Once everything is up and running, you can link it to your smart devices such as the Hive or Nest thermostat to make everything work together to reduce air pollution in your house.
What does it tell you?
It tells you a few different things, the temperature and humidity in the room, the amount of carbon dioxide, the measure of fine particles and the measure of volatile compounds. Yes, that all sounded like gobbledegook to me as well. Volatile compounds are the ones released from chemicals and fine particles are released from things like cooking. Too much of either can cause you things like nausea and headaches. The Foobot calculates the overall air quality based on these two ratios along with the carbon dioxide level and has either a blue light on the device shining or an orange one. Blue is good, orange is poor.
So what’s it like in practice?
After using for a few months I can safely say it has opened my eyes as to what the air is like in my house. Most of the time it’s on orange, especially after I’ve been cooking. Whether I act on it is another thing, though. It suggests that you open a window to allow the air to circulate, however, you can’t do that all the time. When the weather is bad or its cold, I don’t want to open all the windows for 20 minutes (as it suggests) so I let it just stay on orange. The app is really good and links well with the device (although some blogging friends of mine didn’t find it so easy) and it alerts you to new “events” – basically when the monitor changes from blue to orange. To be honest, don’t find I’m checking it that frequently, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
I like the monitor and what it is hoping to achieve, however, I think it is a bit gimmicky and not an essential item for every household. It is a cool feature to have in your house and it looks really stylish on your mantlepiece but at the price of £100+ I’m not sure it’s worth shelling out the big bucks. If you are really environmentally conscious then this may be great for you.
*I was sent a Foobot for the purposes of an honest review, the thoughts here are all my own.
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