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measuring air quality

Measuring Air Quality in Your Home 

By Joy WoodRise Writer
Jan 26, 2018

So you’ve carefully selected zero VOC paints and carpets, thoughtfully chosen furniture free from the more noxious substances, and even installed an HRV to help with indoor air quality. You’re feeling pretty good about your choices as you nestle into your non-toxic mattress between organic sheets. But, what could be lurking in the air that you aren’t aware of? Apparently, plenty.

While we can exert some control over indoor air quality by educating ourselves and making smart, sustainable choices in everything from flooring to bedding, there’s always an element beyond our control. And with poor air quality is being linked to things like cancer and stroke, it’s something you want to keep an eye on. This highlights the main issue: you can’t see it. When it comes to your indoor air quality, there’s only one way to measure it, and it doesn’t include any of the human senses.

Thankfully, there’s a monitor for that! This wave of technology takes the worry out of the ‘what ifs’ – by registering levels of pollutants in the air and instantly providing you with a variety of granular data, from details of the amount of noise and movement in the house to a simple reading on temperature, fine particulates, chemicals and any other nasties that may be lurking about, largely unnoticed.

And when it comes to shopping for air quality monitors, you’ll find that there’s quite a selection to choose from – here are five popular models:

awair 2


Tracking temperature, humidity, C02, chemicals, and dust, Awair displays these 5 readings using a color-coded system, so you’ll know at a glance if something is off.  And let’s face it, it’s always nice to be reassured by a glance as well. For added simplicity, Awair connects to an app and makes recommendations for improving the indoor air quality based on the data it collects. On point with the mid-century modern look, the ‘wood and white’ unit is constructed with walnut wood and deemed to be ‘100% toxin-free’.

air visual pro

AirVisual Pro

In a friendly, ‘light and bright’ design replete with cheerful icons and colors, the AirVisual Procommunicates communicate with outdoor air quality stations to give users a complete picture of indoor and outdoor air quality in terms of temperature, humidity, C02, and particulates.  It also communicates with smart homes and other devices, even providing an alert system and a forecast feature to keep you a few days ahead of the outdoor air quality.



Coming in a minimalist, techie’s dream design, this tall, narrow monitor relies on a color code system to give an immediate visual cue to the indoor air quality. Blue for ‘breath easy,’ red for ‘open a window, stat.’ The unit tracks the usual particulate matter suspects, chemical pollutants, like VOCs, temperature, and humidity. It also stores all of the data and provides charts of various pollutants over time, giving owners the ability to ascertain the source of problematic air quality and make changes.

speck air monitor


With its (very) clever name and simplified purpose, the Speck monitor tracks only fine particulate matter. Providing an easy to decipher, bright touch screen that instantly shows you how certain actions impact your air quality, you can have fun playing ‘what happens if I’: burn a candle, vacuum, open the window, etc.



The Dylos units (there are several models) track large and small particulates and store the information for up to 30 days. It uses true laser technology and seems to be less advanced in terms of the display unit and can communicate with other types of technology than its counterparts listed here.

The days when only people with fairly severe allergies or asthma were concerned with indoor air quality are over. People are now aware and informed about the different types of airborne contaminants that can exist indoors and the dangers associated with them. To that end, making conscious choices about building materials, finishes, and furniture is only part of the solution. An indoor air quality monitor is the most effective route to really get a feel for the air quality in your particular space.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-11-26T16:40:04+0000
Joy Wood

Article by:

Joy Wood

Joy grew up in the natural beauty of the North Okanagan, nestled near the foot of the Monashee Mountains. Hailing from a family of home builders, both the environment and home construction became closely intertwined in her youth. Today, she and her builder hubby are raising their family in Vancouver, where she avidly follows the current sustainable construction trends as the city aims for the title of ‘Greenest City’ by 2020.