Tracking air quality

Our old dishwasher caused pm10 spikes. Don’t know if any of that was problematic, but opening some windows when doing any cleaning seems like a good idea!

Flow 2 is cool, has an API as well. Have you tried correlating this data with any of your own health metrics? A lot of air that you breathe in from an airplane cabin, comes through the engines on the plane, so I’m not surprised VOC’s increase!

Thankfully, I’m never really exposed to air that’s so bad that I’d expect to see an impact on health metrics. Still seems like a good idea to reduce exposure where possible to avoid long-term issues, but that’s harder to quantify…

The one measure that could have some interesting correlations is CO2, but the Flow doesn’t track that…

If that were the case, wouldn’t VOC be high regardless of whether the plane was occupied/cleaned just prior to boarding, and whether you’re sitting in a more crowded section of the plane?

We have built a software platform that helps consolidate all of these health data points, environmental data points, and other manual entries a person would choose to log and track. Things like symptoms, moods, medications, etc.

QS inspired our nonprofit, so check out the mobile app and platform if you’re interested in learning more about your data.

We’ve spoken with Plume but they were recently acquired, hopefully we can integrate with a personal air quality provider soon. Right now, it’s community-level data for pollen and air quality insights.

If any of y’all have ideas or interest please let me know!

How many passengers there are on the plane will affect VOC’s as the cabin air system is essentially there to regulate temperature and pressure. The more passengers there is the more body heat, and the harder the system has to work. It’s a hard control system to model as there are a lot of factors. But ultimately air is recycled fairly regularly throughout the flight as the cabin has to be pressurised at a set temperature. Did you correlate this at all with eating times/when dinner was served, this is likely to cause an increase in body temperature and co2 exhaled, which would then cause an increase in the amount of air pumped into the cabin, which could have caused those peaks.

I have been using PurpleAir for several years and can recommend.

Data can be downloaded - many options for viewing data. Great company and founder that supports citizen science. They are working on a VOC sensor - there is a beta map for that.

Probably my most used tracker - especially in winter months with high air pollution from wood burning

I also have indoor trackers - kaiterra and breathe. Am thinking about buying this CO2 sensor


Also PlumeLabs was acquired by AccuWeather - I recommend listening to this audible for anybody that has or are thinking about Flow.

I didn’t write down the exact meal times, but there are no major ups or downs that line up with the approximate meal times.

Related to that: After PlumeLabs was acquired by AccuWeather they have changed their business model and will stop selling any devices to individual consumers at the end of this month. Starting in August they will only sell them to groups of at least 5 people.

Yes, so much for citizen science.

Not that I would trust AccuWeather with personal data anyway. And AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers being a Trump crony…who they even tried to place as head of NOAA.

Really a shame that french company sold out.

Finally replaced the PlumeLabs Flow with an Atmotube PRO (suggested by @Max_Eastwood). It’s too early in the season to get much use out of the particulate matter (PM) sensor – outdoor air quality is very good. However, my two Netatmo indoor stations were reporting different relative humidity values, and I figured I can use the Atmotube as a tie-breaker:

  • The Atmotube agreed with one of the two Netatmo stations that indoor humidity was at 40%. I was able to apply a fixed offset to calibrate the other Netatmo station, but that station now maxes out at 60% rather than 80% when placed right in front of our ultrasonic humidifier. Unfortunately Netatmo doesn’t let me do a two-point calibration, and their customer support is non-existent :frowning:

  • The Atmotube’s PM sensor appears to be far more sensitive than the one in the Flow, plus the values update every few seconds. The Flow worked well for wildfire smoke, but wasn’t sensitive enough to help me figure out how much to run air purifier when there is a lot of pollen in the air. We’ll find out how well the Atmotube does in that regard in a few months…

  • The Atmotube’s PM 1/2.5/10 values max out at 999 when placed in front of the humidifier, and detect a significant increase even across the room. I don’t think that’s a problem, but better make sure that the humidifier’s water tank is clean! Didn’t notice an obvious reduction in PM when using distilled water instead of tap water, but our tap water is already very “soft” (i.e. not a lot of minerals).

  • I have yet to see the Atmotube’s VOC values go over 0.29 ppm (which the app still rates “good”), even in a stuffy room with >1,000 ppm CO₂ (as reported by Netatmo). Also, I don’t get any spikes when using hand sanitizer or other cleaning solution, as I did with the Flow. Neither the Atmotube’s nor the Flow’s VOC values correlate very strongly with CO₂ levels.


The Atmotube’s VOC values are now quite useless, at least in indoor settings:

According to their support team, this is perfectly normal and explained by the fan for the PM sensor kicking in briefly every 15 minutes (and somehow clearing out accumulated VOCs)?

I’ll try running their calibration process, which involves leaving the device outside for 36 hours…