Paul's smart home diary week 8: There's something in the air…

Air quality in the home made smart

Paul's smart home diary week 8

There's a LOT going on at Chateaux Lamkin on the DIY front as we await the imminent arrival of baby number two. The third bedroom, which for the past couple of years has been a walk-in wardrobe for my wife, is being transformed into a nursery and, as a knock-on effect, fitted wardrobes are incoming for our bedroom.

As a result, and especially because of the paint job in the new nursery, I'm more aware than normal of the air quality in our home.

I've got Nest Protects all over the house monitoring potentially lethal smoke and carbon monoxide but, ever since I had a briefing with Elgato about its Eve Room monitor, I've been paranoid about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

You're probably familiar with VOCs with regards to new paint – the cans have to state the levels on them – but did you also know that new furniture can contain high levels of the compounds? We all release VOCs when we breathe, perspire or digest, but they are also released from everyday items such as new furniture, clothes, cleaning products and more. VOCs can cause eye irritation, headaches, tiredness and dizziness and, in the worst cases, the awful-sounding "sick building syndrome."

Guide: Air quality monitor and purifying essentials

People who know me well will tell you what a laid back guy I am, but even a cool customer such as myself will worry about VOC levels, especially when I can literally see them spiking in my home. I've had the slick looking Awair air quality monitor in my house for a couple of months now, and I've always noticed how the VOC indicator shoots up after we use cleaning products near it. Those levels always return to normal after an hour or so though, so I've never been too bothered by it.

However, ever since we started filling up the new nursery with new furniture and painting the walls with what is essentially poison (albeit the more expensive, less poisonous poison) I noticed that the VOC score wasn't coming down. It was, way, way up. Now, the weather has been good so we've been able to air the house during the day by opening the windows, but at night time the level has been rocketing back up again.

So I've set up a couple of air purifiers. Firstly the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link that, apart from heating and cooling (you got that from the name, right?) can also remove 99.95% of allergens and pollutants from the air. It also continuously monitors the VOC level (which you can see in the Dyson Link app) so it knows when to turn itself on and start purifying.

Dyson Pure Hot & Cool Link
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Amazon

For less than half the price of the Dyson though – albeit without the heating and cooling functions – there's the Xiaomi Pro Air Purifier, which can purify 60 square metres and operate virtually silently on auto-mode to maintain a good air quality. Like the Dyson, you can monitor air quality levels within the app.

In other news, I've been doing some big planning on phase two of my home network this last week – taking inspiration from the Cornflake showroom I went to a couple of weeks back. But more on that next week…

Now read week 9

Catch up with my smart home diary…

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