Published on December 3rd, 2017 |
by Kyle Field
December 3rd, 2017 by Kyle Field
The Awair Glow is a tiny, night light–sized appliance that brings smart air quality monitoring to your home. It doesn’t stop there, as it is also able to trigger actions to correct the issues. Awair sent us over a unit to review, so we took it for a spin over the course of a couple of weeks.
The Glow arrives in a small box with a very simple set of instructions that. After plugging the unit in, it just takes a few short minutes to have it all connected up to WiFi and the smartphone app. It’s a very Apple experience and I’m sure Steve Jobs would be impressed by the ease of setup, the simple yet functional appearance, and effectiveness of the device.
What The Awair Glow Does
The Awair Glow is about the size of a small nightlight that you’d plug into a bathroom outlet and, in fact, it does have a built-in nightlight that can be triggered by tapping the top of the device, via the integrated motion sensor, or by using the smartphone app. It’s primary function, however, is much different and offers a unique perspective on what’s really happening in your home. Specifically, the Awair Glow monitors the quality of the air in your home or business across several key metrics and takes that air quality very seriously. It doesn’t just talk about poor air quality — it stimulates and allows you to act on it as well.
The Glow measures the quality of the air in your space across several parameters. It measures the parts per million (ppm) of CO2, the temperature, humidity, and the ambiguously labeled “chemicals” in your air. Awair breaks down what chemicals it’s looking out for in the support section of its website as follows:
“Glow’s Chemical sensor focuses on tracking the levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in your air. Common VOCs include Methane, Ammonia, Ethanol, Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen gas, Hydrogen sulfide, Toluene, and more. The Chemicals score reported on your Awair app will be a combination of any and all VOCs that have been detected.”
If one of these metrics moves out of the ideal range, the LED indicator on top of the device changes color to indicate that something is amiss. These scores are also aggregated into an air quality indicator that captures the overall air quality in the house.
We put our test unit at counter height between our kitchen and our TV room right next to a sliding door, which allowed us to play with some fun scenarios. It was interesting watching the CO2 levels rise when we start cooking on our gas stove, prompting us to open the sliding door for ventilation. After several minutes, it would inevitably prod us again that the temperature was now too low.
One warm afternoon, we left the sliding door open all night. When the morning fog settled in, the high humidity alarm kicked on. High humidity is attributable to mold growth and other unpleasantries.
The Glow Enables Smart Responses To Changes In Air Quality
Small as it may be, the Glow has a pass-through electrical outlet on the front that it can activate or deactivate in response to detected levels. Temperature above 80°F (27°C)? Plug your air conditioner into the Awair Glow and set it up to activate at this trigger point. CO2 levels rising? Plug in a fan to pull in some fresh air and setup a trigger to activate it.
Beyond just the basic functions enabled by the Glow, it can also be set up to trigger actions digitally through web wonder application If This Then That. This is helpful since the single outlet on the Glow can be limiting when there are so many causes, effects, and possible reactions to the metrics monitored by the Glow.
In addition to dynamic responses to air quality triggers, the Glow can be programmed to turn the attached device on and off based on a schedule or when the integrated motion sensor detects motion.
The Awair Glow is also a smart home device and connects with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Doing so allows for voice controls over the device plugged in and the nightlight function of the device. In my home, it’s “Alexa, turn on the TV Room Glow Light” to activate (or deactivate) the nightlight or “Alexa, turn on the TV Room” to turn on (or off) the integrated switch.
Being able to control the plug power with your voice has numerous uses far beyond that of the core air quality function of the Awair Glow and already has my mind buzzing over the possibilities. Because each device gets its own name and more than one device can be on the network and connected to Alexa or Google, the possibilities are immense. Of course, this could also be extremely functional with an air conditioner or other air quality management device plugged in, with a command like: “Alexa, turn on the air conditioner.”
Just Tell Me What To Do!
The team at Awair seems to know that most of us don’t know what to do about air quality issues, so it partnered with the Mayo Clinic to identify recommendations to improve air quality that you can trust. These suggestions are included in the push notifications as well as in the log of air quality metrics over time.
These recommendations are proven to improve your air quality and make it that much easier to take action. For me, it was interesting learning more about the air quality in our house and just how much it changes based on internal factors (the stove) and external factors (the weather, fog, windows, etc). We have made changes to the way we think about air in our house as a result of using the device and my only question is: what is the best way to integrate it with the rest of our growing collection of smart home devices, like the Nest thermostat, to most intelligently manage the air quality in our home.
What Could Be Improved?
The Awair Glow was built with a small form factor. Because of that, it is only able to control a single device through its single outlet. It would be awesome to have another smart plug or Awair device that could control more devices as air quality is not, as simple as turning on a fan to fix any issue. Air conditioners (or integration with a smart thermostat like Nest), heaters, fans, air filtration systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and the like could all be tied into the Awair network and utilized … but that’s just not possible with a single plug.
Building on that, for homes that have central air conditioning and heating, it makes no sense to add a smaller device just to respond to the Awair’s triggers. Integration with smart thermostats would extend the functionality of the Glow significantly and make it a much more valuable part of a smart home setup … perhaps even an invaluable part.
When I first received the Awair Glow, I wasn’t sure how useful it would be. Since then, I have been more and more impressed the more I have learned about it. It does a good job of monitoring air quality if you’re interested in the metrics it can check for and can even react to unwanted levels of certain pollutants or indoor air quality levels, albeit with only the single plug. If more air quality management devices were required or desired, more Glows could be need to be added to the mix.
It’s flexible, connected, intelligent, and easy to use. For around $100, it’s not cheap, but depending on how much customers want to know about their air quality or are in need of a smart plug that can be controlled via Alexa or Google Home, it could be a great value.
For more information about the Awair Glow, head over to the official product website or head directly over to Amazon to purchase one for yourself. The Glow and its big brother, the Awair, are both currently on sale for the holidays at a $20 discount, so head on over now if you’re looking to purchase one.
Images by Awair and Kyle Field | CleanTechnica
This article is not sponsored or paid for but the Awair Glow was sent to us at no cost to review.