I’ve become a little obsessed with the air quality in my house lately. Mostly down to the fact we got the house insulated recently and there’s hayfever and a couple of other allergies in the house. Last year I invested in some filters for around the house and some basic thermostats and humidity sensors, but I was looking for something that would give me a bit more information about the actual air quality in my home as opposed to how hot and humid it can get. That’s where the View Plus from Airthings comes in.
What is it and how do you use it:
The View Plus by Airthings is a sleek, if slightly bulky, suite of air quality sensors. Personally, I find it a good looking device that won’t stand out no matter where you put it (and that’s a good thing). On the front of the View Plus is an eInk Screen. This is a great option for a device like this. It doesn’t emit any light (so won’t be distracting when it’s updating) and uses almost no power when it’s showing the air quality information. Using the app you can define what sensor information appears on the display. I found it really easy and clear to read, even at a distance.
On either side of the View Plus you’ll find air intake vents. Every now and then it will spin up a very quiet fan to pull in the air to measure its quality. On the back is the battery compartment and USBc connector. You can either run the View Plus in Batteries and it will last up to 2 years (depending on other variable settings) and will update every 5-10 mins. If you plug it into the USBc port, it will update much more frequently. I’ve left mine on batteries as I have it located where there are no plugs.
The View Plus connects to your home wifi network so you can access the information from anywhere in the world (some other sensors are Bluetooth only so you can only get the information when you are within range, which isn’t ideal). I haven’t experienced any connectivity issues with the View Plus and it’s been rock solid in reporting the information to the included app.
Once you are all set up you can then set up alerts to let you know when certain thresholds have been breached across the various air quality sensors in the View Plus (more on that below). And really that’s it. At first, I found myself checking the app alot to see what the quality was like, and I found out some interesting things about my own home.
For example, I have a damper plate on the fireplace in my sitting room downstairs (my sensor is located at the top of my stairs). When the damper downstairs was closed, the CO2 in the house started to really build up. I could clear it by opening the windows upstairs, but that’s not ideal on a cold morning, but when I leave the damper open in my fireplace it seems to really balance out the CO2 in my home. Honestly, I’m not sure how that all works, but before I installed the View Plus, I didn’t realize that was happening. Now that things have settled and I have a better idea how to manage the airflow and quality I find myself checking the app a couple of times a week now just to make sure everything is under control.
In terms of consumer air quality monitors, it’s one of the more comprehensive options on the market.
On top of the expected temperature and humidity sensors, the View Plus also packs sensors for PM1, PM2.5, CO2, VOC’s, Air Pressure and most importantly, Radon. The Radon sensor is the real hero sensor in the View Plus. I’m not a scientist, but at its most basic description, Radon is a naturally occurring gas that’s prevalent in homes around Ireland. In high enough quantities it can lead to some serious illnesses. Airthings even have a separate site where you can find out the levels of Radon in your area – https://radonmap.com/ . If you want to find out more about Radon, I encourage you to speak to a professional.
After an initial setup and calibration period of 7 days (for all but the Radon sensor, that needs 1 month for its initial calibration), the View Plus is ready to actively monitor the air quality in your home.
Initially the radon levels were reporting quite high, and it was very hot and sunny outside, but as the month progressed and the sensors continued to calibrate, I noticed a trend on the Radon side of things. When it rained, the Radon levels dropped and when it dried out and was sunny, they went back up, but thankfully not to a level so high that I would have to install something to take care of high radon levels.
I also found when the air filters in the house were off (I run them for about 12 hours a day) the PM1, PM2.5 and VOCs all went up, so It’s good to see the filters I have are working as expected.
The app has been great, but is a bit flawed. While it is great to see the data over time, it can be hard to nail down exact times when certain sensors were reporting high, but thankfully, there’s a ‘Web Dashboard’ included that you can access from within the app that gives you more granular data and is something you should definitely check out. You can view the data in various time windows ranging from 12 hours, 48 hours all the way up to a yearly view. I’ll definitely be monitoring these trends over time to see if I can identify triggers in my home that have adverse effects on the air quality
The Airthings View Plus isn’t cheap. It retails for 299euro, but to me personally, it’s absolutely worth it. Just knowing now how I can manage the CO2 in my home (and we can feel it as well, the air isn’t a ‘heavy) as well as keep an eye on particulate matter in the air, but most importantly Radon its just another weight off my mind, especially with a new baby on the way in my home and with other allergies already there, we prefer to avoid using medicine to control the symptoms and the Air Things View Plus has genuinely helped us do that.
My wife hasn’t been able to use antihistamines the last few months, but she also hasn’t needed to as I’ve been able to keep the air quality in the house good enough that they haven’t been required. You can find out more, and purchase the View Plus here: https://www.airthings.com/en-gb/view-plus
REVIEW: Airthings View Plus
The Airthings View Plus is an incredible home air quality sensor and one of only a handful that can also monitor for Radon. If you’re looking to monitor, and ultimately, improve the air quality in your home, while it is expensive, it is a worthwhile investment to improve your quality of life in the place you spend the most time.