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Review: Airthings Wave Plus – Indoor Air monitoring made easy

This IAQ monitors Radon, temperature, air pressure, humidity, TVOCs, and CO2.

airtame wave plus radon detector
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

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With the new addition to the family, I’ve been thinking about safety in all aspects of our life. We’ve got all the bumper guards and socket covers to help keep the little one safe, but what about the things we can’t see?

Air quality is a big deal, especially in our ever-increasingly crowded cities. With the U.S. signaling its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, it’s never been more important for us to monitor our own environment.

Silent killers

It’s National Radon Action Month right now, which makes this review especially relevant. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths for non-smokers in the U.S., with 21,000 lives claimed yearly. It’s an invisible, tasteless killer that you won’t know about until it’s too late. It’s naturally occurring, found in the soil and rocks that your homes are built on.

Nearly 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. has radon levels that could be hazardous, and with radon levels fluctuating due to environmental factors, regular testing is the only way to ensure you are safe.

Airthings makes radon and other air quality sensors for commercial and home use. The unit we’re looking at today is their top of the line home model, the Wave Plus, which retails at $269.

airtame wave plus radon detector

Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

This sensor unit is about the same size as a smoke detector and mounts on your wall or ceiling in the same way. One screw fixes the mounting plate, then the sensor attaches itself to this magnetically. It continually measures radon throughout the day, sending readings to the app on your smart device via Bluetooth. Radon isn’t the only thing it can detect though, it also monitors Carbon Dioxide, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), humidity, temperature, and atmospheric pressure.

With enclosed living spaces, carbon dioxide can build up pretty quickly. It’s a good indicator of how well ventilated your home is, with a host of potential health issues at higher concentrations. The effects of TVOCs range from throat irritation to organ damage, so it’s pretty clear to me why I should be monitoring these too, especially with a sensitive baby in the house.

More about the additional sensors with Airthings

The rest of the environmental sensors are just nice to have, humidity levels are great to know, especially in the winter, average temperatures gives you the ability to make sure your thermostat is working correctly, and atmospheric pressure is measured to ensure that all the gas and particulate sensors are reading correctly.

All the readings are laid out in the easy to read Airthings app, which links to the device via Bluetooth. As you can see, when I first started using the Wave Plus, my interior air quality had some issues. Since then, I’ve been ensuring I open windows to let fresh air in, which seems to have done the trick.

airtame app

Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

You can also see all your Airthings sensors on an online dashboard, which also gives you an Air Quality rating for your neighborhood, as well as historical reading data from your devices.

I like the amount of data given, although I’m left to my own devices to act on the readings. Perhaps some in-app advice for further action could be added.

So should I buy one?

When smoke detectors and CO detectors first came on the market they were expensive. With time and mass adoption, those costs plummeted down to today’s levels. You wouldn’t think about having a home without either, so why wouldn’t you want to monitor the other potential hazards floating around in your air? The Airthings Wave Plus helps you keep your home, and your family, safer than without it. If it alerts you to an issue, all of the particulates that it can detect have mitigation equipment or techniques.

I’d like to see Airthings expand on this, either with in-app recommendations for reducing the amounts in the air or if there’s an issue – even to trusted tradespeople in your local area who could install the various mitigation systems.

A sample unit was provided to KnowTechie for the purpose of this review.

What do you think? Is this something you’d like in your home? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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