The Insanity Of “Tech Reviews” Regarding Home Air Monitoring Products

There was a time when reviews of products actually meant something . We are all too familiar with journals and magazines promoting products that their magazine had the manufacturer as their main advertiser or sponsor. A classic example of this is hifi magazines.

Not good , not fair, however at least people writing the article had a good knowledge of the product and a deep seated interest.

Where we used to apply BS kite marked standards  to products, now it is a free for all.

With regards to Air Quality Monitoring, new low cost sensors mean that the technology suddenly becomes affordable. Cheap is one thing but reporting accurately is another.

Normally when a product is built, it is designed to meet a standard. In this case an air quality or indoor air quality standard. However we don;t have an indoor air quality standard for homes or buildings. The BS ambient atmospheres is working towards a standard but it is slow  whilst chaos around them ensues. The nearest thing we have is a mixture of part F of the building regulations looking at NO2, CO and TVOC

And now here is the rub. So in all of the reviews – no one – yes – NO ONE performs any validation testing. Either against a reference standard test gas or a secondary standard monitor.

One chap reported that ” the temperature was 6 degrees out, but other than that it worked fine” !!!! A 8 year old school could good make a device with an accuracy to 0.1 degree. So the guy was happy measuring the device against something he though might be accurate. But was clueless in understanding if :

c;lean air monitring
Air quality
Airmite mini Dust plus 1 gas
compact remote dust & gas monitor

indoor air quality

b, what a correct reading would be anyway

 

For the record i am adding some guideline values here. This is difficult to source as many organisations and countries use different reporting criteris > ie 15mins , 1 hour , 8 hours etc

NO2 150ppb – 8 hour average

CO- 90ppm      15m average

CO 10ppm        8 hour average

TVOC  300ug/m3 8 hour average

O3    100ug/m3

CO2 – 400 -1400 8 hour average

occupation limits suggest 5000 ppm  as 8 hour average

one thing we can offer is to validate your monitor against a calibrated standard

contact info@em-monitors.co.uk

http://www.airquality- monitoring.co.uk

 

 

Smart Air Quality Monitors- We are moving in the right direction but..

We currently live in a world where we are able to access a myriad of facts, all a button click away on our phones.

We then enter beautifully manicured websites promising us a utopic world where everything can be monitored and then be directly read to an app on your phone.

The good new is we are getting cost effective monitors that we can carry around with us or use in the home but…. what are they reading.

I have spent most of my life working in air monitoring. In order for a product to give you some information that you can look at and trust you need to have a set of rules to to help define what it is you are looking at.

 

For example when you buy 5 kg of potatoes in a sealed bag – you either trust your getting five kg or you don’t care you just want spuds. The 5kg comes from the fact that the potatoes have been weighed. We know the weight is correct because at some point in the day, or week a calibration weight of 5kg is placed on the scale where they are packed and the scales are adjusted to be accurate.

This applies to any measurement we take. The thermometer at your doctors, or the speed camera used by the police.

Many indicative monitors don’t have this, though some do

Professional Reference Monitoring equipment would typically cost around £100,00.00. it would use reference monitoring techniques. However it would be used as follows:

So as you see it is all quite complex. lots of checks.

Moving down below reference equipment is cell technology. It is small and compact. it is what we are seeing out on the street now and in a myriad of pretty boxes for the home. Some of these are accredited and some also have very serious algorithms to correct their functionality. These are professional use tools and cost £3,000 upwards.These are Indicative Monitors. There are also more basic home use indicative monitors

Indicative Monitors

But be careful, many of the Chinese imported products are simply garbage and will respond to anything.

What do most of the Indoor Air Quality Monitors Do well?

  • Relative Humidity (%RH)
  • Temperature
  • Air Presure
  • Carbon Dioxide

Areas where they tend to perform poorly

  • VOC’s most commercial voc monitors require regular and careful calibration, VOC’s can include anything from Formaldyde , to perfumes & deoudorant
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – product of combustion
  • Fine particulate – respirable dust PM2.5

in test we conduct with a calibrated reference the budget indoor monitor typically showed results 10 x lower PM 2.5 than an accredited calibrated tool. Other items simply did not respond

So there is a reason why tested monitors cost £1,000’s and basic ones a lot lot less. This should change with the emergence of goods British Standards.

In the meantime, rather than look for specific numbers , look for trends. That is significant changes in the air quality

https://smarthomeairquality.co.uk/