Monday, 02 January 2023 14:18

Sensibo Elements can help you breathe better and live better

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Sensibo can already make your air conditioner smart; now it can also help you keep your air pure with the new Sensible Elements smart indoor air quality monitor.

The Sensibo Elements is an indoor air quality monitor that provides real-time air quality updates and actionable insights to your mobile device.

The impact of air quality problems can’t be understated. It’s well illustrated in an Internet-famous Reddit tale from eight years ago. A user posted to the legal advice subreddit concerned somebody was breaking into his home and leaving post-it notes with ‘to do’ notes. Other perplexing things happened but the user was sure it wasn’t him, and he had no evidence of break-ins. Among the replies, one user questioned if the original poster was getting enough ventilation at night and suggested using a carbon monoxide detector. Sure enough, this was the problem and identifying it may well have saved this person’s life. It became the subject of a podcast with follow-up interviews.

Hopefully, you don't have anything so dramatic occurring in your household but here’s the thing; how can you be sure? And, if something does happen to impact your air quality how quickly can you know and react?

Here comes Sensibo Elements. It gives you real-time information on air quality with immediate alerts if something happens that you should be aware of.

This small device can mount on any surface or wall. It doesn’t require you to have any other existing Sensibo products, but if you do - such as Sensibo Sky, Sensibo Air, or Sensibo Pure - it can work with them to activate air conditioners and air purifiers when air quality is low, increasing airflow and improving health.

The air quality items it monitors are:

  • CO2 - which can cause headaches, fatigue, and loss of focus
  • Ethanol - is found in household products and can cause respiratory irritation
  • Humidity - with high levels resulting in sickness and mould growth
  • PM2.5 - identifying unhealthy large particles like dust, pollen, and smoke
  • Temperature - to help you ensure a comfortable climate
  • TVOC - which causes unpleasant odours, skin irritation, nausea and dizziness

The unit is a cinch to set up; simply fire up the Sensibo app for Android or iOS and follow the steps. It connects your smartphone to the Sensibo Elements’ temporary Wi-Fi network, allowing you to connect it to your own Wi-Fi network and the Internet, making it available in the app from then on, no matter if you are at home or away.

I have four Sensibo units already in my home; I’ve been using Sensibo products since 2017 to make my dumb air conditioners controllable by voice and app. It helps me save power by turning devices off when they’ve been left on and nobody is home, and it helps me create a comfortable home by setting temperature-related schedules, or turning on the air conditioner remotely on a hot day before I head home.

Sensibo Elements slotted in nicely; it provides a simple dashboard right in the app along with the other Sensibo devices.

SensiboElementsAllDevices

SensiboElementsOverview

Clicking on these gives more detail on specific items, as well as graphs that go back 12 hours. Further historic detail is not available so you can’t use the data to plot trends over time unless you record it manually, but you will observe trends the more you use it. For me, I’ve certainly found that the TVOC levels increase when cleaning and cooking. Thus, I now know to ensure I have ventilation flowing through the house during these times. After all, as all iTWire readers know, what gets measured gets improved - and this is what the Sensibo Elements gives you; the power of information to help you make positive changes when you may otherwise not have realised the need.

SensiboElementsGraph

There is a need to get used to the measurements. I’m sure we all know what temperature and humidity are, and even CO2 and ethanol. However, TVOC is by far the item in my home that fluctuates the most, and it was something I had little knowledge of previously.

SensiboElementsTVOC

According to the Australian Government department of climate change, energy, the environment, and water, TVOC refers to “total volatile organic compounds.” It is a grouping of a wide variety of organic chemical compounds to simplify reporting because there are so many of these that it becomes difficult to report on them individually. They generally refer to vapours of gases given off by compounds. They can enter the body by inhalation and the build-up of such items in indoor environments has been associated with “sick building syndrome” and can cause irritation, headaches, nausea, and damage to organs.

The difficulty with TVOC is it covers a large number of substances, but fortunately, as the Sensibo Elements provides real-time alerting you can begin correlating activities in your home with TVOC increase - such as cooking and cleaning in my case.

And that's the thing: by itself, the Sensibo Elements won’t tell you “hey, this specific thing in your home is causing air pollution” but it does tell you something is going on right now, and you should pay attention to it, and gives you the information and tools to identify changes in air quality that allow you to be informed, to consider what has happened in the home, and to make changes right then and there.

As iTWire readers, you know about making better decisions through data. It’s not a topic reserved for business only; it’s something you can apply to your own home and the health and well-being of you and your family.

The Sensibo Elements also supports voice control from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It does not have Apple HomeKit integration but does have a fully-featured app for iOS and Android.

The Sensibo Elements is available now for $270, down from $490.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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