Knowing what’s in the air is a vital step in reducing personal exposure to air pollution.
Affordable sensors that monitor different pollutants are widely available, but what you choose and how you use it will make a big difference to the benefits you might see.
Accurate, reliable and durable sensors are expensive products – often costing thousands of pounds. However, you don’t need to spend this much unless you’re analysing the air professionally. For the rest of us we generally don’t need to know the exact levels of each pollutant but just a relative level – is it high, low, rising, falling, etc.
Many indoor purifiers come with basic sensors. These aim to detect high levels of either particulates or VOCs and adjust the operation of the purifier accordingly. These generally bring the advantage of keeping the purifier at an economical speed and alerting you when these specific pollutants increase. The disadvantages are that they tend to be very basic, aren’t mobile, and only usually cover one pollutant.
Personal air monitors are more flexible and tend to cover a range of pollutants. They are affordable but accuracy varies both between products and over time. Changes in temperate and humidity affect even the best and so they are best used as a guide rather than as a precise instrument.
followed up by a detailed report in plain English and simple, practical advice
Keeping track of your indoor air quality is important
At Plain Air we believe a suitable air monitor is a vital tool in achieving clean air:
- Knowing the initial level of each pollutant allows you to take action
- Seeing a reduction in pollution shows the benefits of those actions
- Ongoing readings reminds you to continue those actions and the effects of stopping
The main industrial pollutants that personal monitors can detect are nitrogen dioxide, PM₂.₅ particulates, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and ozone. For indoor environments, especially enclosed workplaces, a carbon dioxide sensor is especially valuable, and in residential locations a carbon monoxide monitor can save lives.
The only personal air monitors that we currently recommend are the uHoo Air Quality Monitor and the Flow. The uHoo detects more pollutants than any other personal monitor and displays the results either on your phone or computer, allowing you to improve the air quality around you and, importantly, help you keep it that way.
uHoo can be used as a stand-alone unit or in groups to monitor whole buildings or multiple locations. Plain Air is proud to be an authorised distributor.
The Flow, from Plumelabs is definitely the coolest portable monitor around, aimed at outdoor use, showing you the safest route to your destination and tracking different pollutants via the interactive maps and charts on the phone app.
Plain Air researches and delivers advanced air purification solutions.
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