Review: Piera-7100 by Piera Systems

Recently, I shared an illustration that demonstrates, based on scientific research, how deep pollution particles can go into the human body.

Particulate matter (PM) are basically sneaky and invisible (to the naked eye) particles of various sizes that trigger inflammatory responses all over the human body depending on their size/origin and how deep inside us they can go. They are even able to destroy human tissue when the origin of the particles comes from the combustion of fossil fuel or biomass burning.

The smaller they get the easier it is to enter our bloodstream and affect every cell and organ in our body, even our brain. For this reason, it is very important to start monitoring the unregulated ultrafine particles aka nanoparticles or PM0.1 or UFP.

The IPS7100 by Piera Systems (a Canadian company) is a new generation low-cost laser scattering sensor capable of measuring those ultrafine particles PM0.1 but also fine particles PM0.3/PM0.5/PM1/PM2.5 and coarse particles PM5/PM10. In total, the 7100 series offers 7 output bins.

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Spring Clean Your Indoor Air Quality

During Spring (March, April, May) most people in Northern Hemisphere dedicate extra time to clean and organize their house for the warmer months. Many times we start this process unconscious of the dangerous chemicals present in cleaning products that may be released into the indoor environment. What can we do to improve indoor air quality, especially during spring when many people suffer from allergies?

Here I will conclude a few tips and steps in order to make the most out of this process and detox your house from nasty chemicals and other pollutants/allergens.

1st Tip – Bed Linen

It is important to ventilated bed linen and in case this is not an option we can always change them with clean ones. It is hard to tell how often someone should change the bedsheets but I would recommend at least 2 twice a month. Avoid synthetic textiles like Acrylic, Polyester, Nylon, etc, and invest in good cotton or silk (expensive) sheets and pillowcases as they offer the most comfortable experience, and they don’t pollute the environment once they are washed.

Dead skin and hair can build up and we don’t want to feed dust mites. According to House Dust Biology by J. Bronswijk human skin particles make up approximately 53% of household dust which leads me to the next tip.

2nd Tip – Vacuum

If your house is prone to mold avoid mopping the floor too often and vacuum instead. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, it is very important. If a vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a good HEPA filter, it releases millions of tiny particles (PM1.0/PM2.5) into the air, and we don’t want to breathe them at any cost. In experiments that I have conducted, vacuum cleaners without HEPA filters catch large particles but they release a cloud of the nastiest particles that can reach even the human brain and create many health issues.

3rd TIP – Dust

Well, don’t dust with fur-like tools, and don’t use disposable dust cloths. Instead cut old cotton clothes into pieces. Then dampen them with clean water and sweep the dust from the surfaces. You don’t need extra chemicals, and in case the surfaces have stains then use a bit of eco-friendly dishwasher gel diluted with water. Please avoid chemicals, just because they smell nice, it doesn’t mean they are healthy.

4th TIP – Ventilate

A healthy house needs to be ventilated frequently. First of all, it helps to oxygenate the air and remove CO2 and other chemicals that build up. Secondly, it regulates the humidity, for example, in the bathroom and kitchen where water is present. Sometimes when I discuss the presence of chemicals in indoor environments I refer to smells as well. If you don’t have a mechanical ventilation system like an HVAC, I will suggest ventilating your house at least twice a day by opening the windows but it always depends on the number of the occupants, the size m2/ft2 of the house, and the activities we do indoors. For example, I work out indoors in my house and I need to ventilate my house after my workout as CO2 has risen very fast and my sweat has increased the relative humidity in the room I exercise.

During the flu season or covid19 it is very important to ventilate in order to dilute the viral load in the rooms.

5th TIP – Monitor

During Spring many people suffer from pollen allergies for this reason we have to monitor the outdoor conditions for pollen alerts. Nowadays, there are special apps that can inform us on when to open windows based on pollen concentrations. Breezometer is one of them, and it is free, download it here iOS or Android.

Apart from the outdoor pollen monitoring, we have to keep an eye on the indoor air quality. For this task, we need an indoor air quality monitor. I have reviewed many of them in the blog. Make sure it is equipped with particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon dioxide (CO2), and optionally volatile organic compounds (VOC) sensors. Temperature and humidity are also important in order to avoid mold growth because mold loves high humidity environments.

It is wise to check the outdoor AQ before opening the windows.

6th TIP – Purify

An air purifier with a good HEPA (H12/H13) filter will allow us to go a step further in the process of eliminating particles from the indoor environment. Air purifiers have been demonstrated to catch all sorts of particles: dead skin, hair, mites, pollen, dust, soot, mold, and many more. They run inexpensively with an annual electrical cost in most cases of about 7 euros. People that suffer from allergic rhinitis aka hay fever rely on air purifiers and for this reason, some air cleaners come with a certificate like the Asthma Allergy Nordic, Certified Asthma and Allergy, Allergy UK Seal of Approval, Korea Asthma Allergy Foundation, etc. I have reviewed some great air purifiers like the BRISE C200, C360 and the HA500 by Healthy Air Technology.

7th TIP – Ditch Wood Stoves

It is time to consider removing the wood stove or fireplace from your house. They are responsible for the deterioration of indoor air quality as they emit a huge amount of particles PM1.0/PM2.5. According to a recent scientific study in the UK, the daily average indoor PM concentrations when a stove was used were higher for PM2.5 by 196% and PM1 by 227% than those of the non-use control group.

Podcast Ep1: See The Air | Real Life Stories

I am very happy to announce that I am launching a new series of Podcast episodes where people from all around the world will be able to share their experience with air pollution and how it affects their lives.

The episodes will be available in all big Podcast distributional channels like Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Spreaker.

Episode 1 : London, UK – Traffic Pollution and LTNs

In the first episode, we will hear Ediz from London, UK. Ediz is a clean air campaigner and he and his family members have to breathe lots of traffic-related air pollution as his neighborhood is jammed by hundreds of cars every day.

Episode 1: London, UK – Traffic Pollution and LTNs See The Air | Real Life Stories

In the first episode, we will hear Ediz from London, UK. Ediz is a clean air campaigner and he and his family members have to breathe lots of traffic-related air pollution as his neighborhood is jammed by hundreds of cars every day. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ediz1975 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/669253910351389/ Website: https://linktr.ee/stopenfieldltns
  1. Episode 1: London, UK – Traffic Pollution and LTNs
  2. See The Air – Trailer

If you believe that your story is worth hearing, please feel free to contact me.

Please consider subscribing, rating and sharing the episode.

Smoggie-PM + Thank you

Choosing the 5 volunteers was a very difficult task because I had to take into consideration many factors. I wish I had as many monitors as the people (+150) that emailed me. The finalists are from Belgium, Uganda, Azerbaijan, the USA, and Spain.

The second Call for Volunteers was even more successful than the first one and I had the chance to learn from you a little more about the problems of air pollution around the globe and the situation each one of you faces. From Nepal, Poland, Netherlands, Australia, Azerbaijan, India, Romania, Italy, France, Kenya, Belgium, Greece, Denmark, UK, the USA, Finland, Serbia, Mexico, Spain, Israel, Ireland, and many many other places.

I want to THANK YOU all, it really means a lot your offer to raise awareness on such an important problem. I will follow closely the measurements from all 5 locations in order to understand better the impact air pollution has in the communities.

Remember, you can always purchase the inexpensive Smoggie-PM here.

Guide: How to Install your Smoggie-PM

You have two options, use two small screws to mount the Smoggie on a wall or use one or two Zip Ties to tie it around a tube. Either way is easy.

Once you have placed everything correctly and the device is plugged into the power adapter, follow the next steps.

Wait for a few seconds and open the WiFi settings on your computer or tablet or phone and search for the SSID uRADMonitor-XX, where XX are the last two digits of the device ID number. The password of the SSID is the same as the ID number (aka Serial Number). Please let me know if you need any further assistance.

Now, open you favourite web browser and type into the URL 192.168.4.1

The above page must appear once you type the URL and hit enter. Click on the CONFIG. 

Inside the Connect to WIFI add the information of your router WiFi, the SSID and the password and click Save. Disconnect your computer or tablet or phone from the uRADMonitor-XX SSID and you are ready. 

Congratulations your air quality monitor is up and running.

Review: XT Mini by Ethera Labs

Managing air quality monitors (AQM) in buildings is not always an easy task especially if you have deployed a lot of them. When there are many rooms that you have to take into consideration it can become very costly, very fast to equip all those rooms. Is there a way to monitor rooms without an AQM?

Well, it turns out there is a way to monitor the environmental and air quality conditions in rooms that do not have physical monitors nowadays. How?

Ethera Labs, which is a French company, with over 10 years of experience in professional IAQ solutions has integrated powerful Machine Learning (ML) algorithms that predict the conditions in rooms where air quality monitors are not installed, yes that’s right, you have read correctly. They have trained special neural networks by taking a lot of parameters into consideration in order to predict accurately the conditions and alerts users in case they need to take actions or even address an AQ/Environmental incident automatically.

By connecting the station to BMS, they manage to achieve energy efficiency while directly managing the ventilation system, as well as portable air purifiers or giving building operator the right information in advance so they can take action at the right time. They achieve two goals, great air quality and energy efficiency.

Hardware-wise Ethera Labs offers an arrange of monitors that can address different building specifications and needs. In this article, I will review the Mini XT Basic (MX-KIT020) and the NEMo Cloud/Supervision Cloud platforms.

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Review: Aether Air HA30 an in-Vehicle Air Purifier

Commuting to work is proved to contribute the biggest daily exposure to air pollutants according to the University of California. Car filters are not very good at filtering out PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 particles from vehicle emissions as they were originally designed to catch large particles like dust and pollen. Gas filtration is non-existence even today in any vehicle, as a result, drivers and vehicle passengers breathe notorious toxic fumes.

Although I believe that if you live in a city and you work in the same city, you should find a better way to commute, for some people this is not an option. Consequently, they need to find a way to protect themselves and mitigate their exposure to air pollution.

Aether Air HA30 is an in-vehicle air purifier capable of filtering particulate matter and eliminating nitrogen dioxide (NO2) among other chemicals.

It uses the same technology as the HA500 domestic purifier but in a smaller package. The D-Orbital Nano Oxide (DNO) filter, which is an innovative filtration system invented by the founding CTO of Oxford Catalyst plc (a leader in novel industrial catalysts)” and a HEPA 13 filter.

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uRADMonitor SMOGGIE-PM | Call for Volunteers Take 2 [Ended]

Back in 2019 uRADMonitor and I organized a “Call for Volunteers” where we gave away 10 monitors all around the world.

Once more we are looking for five volunteers who want to receive a Smoggie-PM monitor. The new version comes with new transparent icy look case and visual indication of the pollution concentration thanks to the LED light.

Volunteers all around the world who are willing to install an Air Quality Monitor in their backyard or balcony or window or any other outdoor environment in order to build a better air quality network and to help you raise awareness in your neighborhood/community.

The only requirement from your side is to have a good Wi-Fi internet connection 24/7 and keep the device on constantly in order to broadcast the measurements to an open map. The WiFi signal must reach the monitor outdoors.

Just email or tweet or DM me on any social media platform, tell me where are you planning to install the monitor and why should I choose you.

What is SMOGGIE-PM?

Smoggie-PM is an ultra low-cost high performance Air Quality Monitor, with Wi-Fi connectivity and a laser scattering sensor (Plantower PMS5003) that measures Particulate Matter PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 and makes it available on your phone or laptop in real time. Also, it is equipped with a Temperature/Humidity/Pressure sensor (Bosch BME280).

Smoggie is an automated, fixed, Air Quality monitoring station. It has WiFi connectivity to send the air quality measurements to the uRADMonitor Cloud in real time. It needs 5V to run, powered by a standard micro-USB cable (the same your smartphone uses in order to charge it). The new versions have a color LED light that reflect the pollution levels in real-time.

Let’s talk: IoT Wireless Network Protocols for Air Quality Monitors

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of electronic devices (air quality monitors, purifiers, motion detectors, cameras, etc.) that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices over the Internet.

In this article, I am going to describe some of the available networks and physical layers that are used by Air Quality Monitors (AQM), mainly for consumer-based products, and discuss which technologies make more sense in 2021+ for Smart Homes/Buildings and Businesses.

Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11

IEEE 802.11 is part of the IEEE 802 set of local area network (LAN) protocols and specifies the set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) protocols for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) Wi-Fi computer communication in various frequencies including 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6GHz.

IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n

This standard wireless network protocol is among the most common protocols for communication between the devices and the internet/cloud. Most devices even today use the ~20 years old 802.11b or 802.11g with a linkrate between 1 to 54 Mbit/s and a frequency of 2.4 GHz for power conservation reasons and good wall penetration. The 802.11n transmits the highest data throughput, but at the cost of high-power consumption at 5GHz.

IoT AQMs do not need a high-speed data throughput because the information they transfer is very little and in the range of a few kilobytes. So protocols like the IEEE 802.11ac and IEEE 802.11ax don’t make a lot of sense because they demand energy and they don’t offer good wall penetration in order to cover an entry house/apartment.

IEEE 802.11ax aka WiFi 6 or 6e

There are some claims that IoT devices will adopt the new WiFi 6e (e stands for enhanced) but I don’t think we will see that happening as bandwidth isn’t relevant for AQMs but the range is more essential and the WiFi 6e is designed to cover approximately 30m/98ft indoors. The 6e operates at 6Ghz, as a result, the highest the frequency the shortest the distance a signal can travel within walls. A positive feature of this protocol is that it supports a Low Power Indoor (LPI) mode. In the multi-user scenario, the WiFi 6 module consumes only one-third of that of the Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) module and they achieve that by shortening wake-up time.

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Review: HA500 Air Purifier by Healthy Air Technology

It is not always an easy task to keep indoor air free from pollutants, especially, when Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is present in indoor environments. In most cases, there is little you can do to eliminate NO2 and other gases like Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Formaldehyde (TVOC), or even pathogens like H1N1 Influenza A virus (pandemic flu), and Staphylococcus aureus (or similar bacteria).

Here comes the HA500 Air Purifier by Healthy Air Technology which is able to eliminate all of these pollutants/pathogens from indoor environments. It does that thanks to the triple-layered system with a primary filter, HEPA 13 filter, and Pollution Eraser DNO filter. DNO means D-Orbital Nano Oxide which is made of two parts. 

1st part: The Carrier – Activated charcoal. The material that is used in military gas masks, and captures pollutants within the pores of the charcoal.
2nd part: The Transition metal oxides – Transition metal oxides are coated in the activated charcoal to form catalysts, and these catalysts break down pollutants and toxic gases into harmless chemicals and then release these harmless materials back into the atmosphere like water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc. The DNO is invented by the founding CTO of Oxford Catalyst plc (a leader in novel industrial catalysts).

HA500 Control Panel and Display
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