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Review Airthings Wave Plus Radon & Air Quality Detector – Why is Radon Dangerous?


hey everybody it’s lanzibe and we’re taking a look today at the air things wave plus this is a radon detector we’ll talk about what radon is in a minute but this also detects other things in your home’s air and it gives you a close to real-time readout about your air quality in your home and we’re going to take a closer look at this in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this radon detector is all about now i paid 229 for the wave plus the price goes up and down depending on sales and whatnot now this version the wave plus as i mentioned at the outset detects radon but it also detects other things in the air so what it will be doing is constantly monitoring for the radon levels and we’ll talk about radon in a second but it also looks for volatile organic

compounds carbon dioxide in the air humidity temperature and the barometric pressure so you get a good overview of all the different things that are impacting your air quality in the home now there are a few other products that they make and i think it’s important initially to step through what the differences are so if you don’t need the connectivity to the internet they have a device that just detects home radon they call it the air things corinthium and this device will sit anywhere you put it and give you a readout both for the real time as well as a long term average they also have a lower cost device that’s similar to the one we’re looking at today but it only detects radon humidity and temperatures if you don’t need those other measurements you can get a similar product that can detect radon for less money and that will connect up with your phone so you can get notifications and have a prettier interface now they also sell a hub product that will allow you to monitor these things when you’re not at home because without the hub this will only communicate with your phone over bluetooth so you have to be in your house close to this thing to get

readouts from it i found in my experience so far that the app will link up throughout most of my house with this but if i leave if i’m maybe gone for a week i’m not going to get any data from this device unless i’ve got the hub and if you’re looking to spend the most amount of money they have a device that integrates all the sensors called the view or the view plus along with the hub and you get a screen on the front of the viewer as well so this is kind of the deluxe version that integrates all the different products we just talked about but if you’re just trying to get a radon level over a month or so i think you could probably do well with just the sensor and link your phone up with it when you are in the house now these are powered by double a batteries depending on which one you get will determine how many batteries there will be inside of it this one has two double a batteries that it comes with airthings says you’ll get about a year to a year and a half out of the battery and the app that connects up with this will report on the battery life as far as placement is concerned you can mount it on a wall or you can just have it sit flat on a table and that’s what i’ve been doing with my unit since i got it it might be a little bit hard to see on camera but there

is a light here around the center part of the unit and if you wave your hand over it it will give you a indicator as to what your air quality is looking like so as i wave my hand over here you can see that it’s green which tells me that none of the measurements it’s taking are out of bounds for what is safe in my home and if something were out of bounds and i’ll show you what the limits are in a few minutes i will light up a different color so that you know to go and check the app to see what’s going on now let’s take a minute and talk about radon gas in a nutshell it is a radioactive gas that seeps in through your foundation or the slab that your home is sitting on and it accumulates in your home and because it’s radioactive it can damage your lungs when you breathe it in so it is something that if you have in your home can dramatically increase your risk of lung cancer in fact next to smoking it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the u.s and if you’re a smoker your risk of lung cancer goes up significantly if you have high radon levels in your home the epa has a lot of information about radon and what it’s all about

you can’t see it you can’t smell it you have to detect it and then take action to mitigate it if you have a lot of radon in your home a lot of people are not aware of the fact that there are parts of the u.s including the place that i live that are higher risk than others and the epa has a map to give you an idea as to what your risk level might be and which areas of the country see the most radon but you should know that you could very well be in a low risk area yet you might have some vein of uranium under the ground that is giving off this gas and locally you might have more radon than your neighbor might in my town we’ve got numbers that are all over the place some in the double digits as you’ll see in a minute as far as the measurement levels are concerned and others that are much less and so it’s really important regardless of where you live to do a radon test and see what your level of risk is now radon is measured in pico curries and the number that the epa recommends you take some action on is when you get to a level of four pico curries and at that level if you’ve never smoked before about seven people out of a thousand who’ve never smoked will develop lung cancer as a result of radon in the home and that compares to your risk level of dying in a car crash so by mitigating you can reduce your risk pretty significantly and i’ve seen in my town some homes above the level of 20.

In fact the guy that did my radon installation said they once encountered a level in the triple digits and the owner had no idea that their radon level was that bad now if you’re a smoker the risk level is significantly higher so that same number for picocuries 62 people out of a thousand who smoke are at risk for lung cancer which is five times the risk of dying in a car crash so you can see how radon plus smoking can be a significant factor now what prompted me to look into this radon thing is that my town gave away some free radon tests now these are different than the product we’re looking at today most of the time a radon test means you get a little test kit in the mail it’s got charcoal in it you open it up you leave it exposed to the air for a couple of days and you mail it to a lab and the lab comes back with a report so on my report here i got a number of three which surprised me because when i bought my home i had a radon mitigation system installed because this home had a number of about five or six when i purchased it but i’ve done some work on the house since i installed the system i finished the basement here so things have changed inside the home and so what i did is i had my radon guy come in and he looked around and said you know what you should really do is get this air things wave to test your radon levels over a longer period of time because the test that i ran was done when it was raining outside and apparently radon gas is more prevalent in the home when there’s low atmospheric pressure like when there’s a rainstorm so you have to look at it over a longer period of time to figure out exactly where you are because it’s very difficult when you get down into three and two to mitigate much lower without significant expense now mitigation is done through a few different methods the one that i had installed in this house is the pretty common one and basically it involves putting in some vacuum

system to draw air out from underneath the foundation of the home and exhaust it out the back outside and that will keep the radon levels from increasing inside the home and when i had that system installed initially my reading of 5.2 or whatever it was came down to about 1.5 or 1.8 or so the systems are very effective they’re not all that expensive but it does require digging into your foundation essentially or at least trenching underneath it to get that airflow going you do have to check the vacuum level on the system from time to time just to make sure it’s functioning correctly but mine has been running 24 7 since 2007 and it’s been running perfectly throughout that period of time and it was just inspected and we’re going to keep running with it until it dies and he said it might die at some point in the near future so we’ll have to be ready to replace it and keep an eye on that vacuum reading now on the epa’s website they have a really neat calculator where you can look at your annual dose of radiation from all different sources in the environment and radiation is pretty normal this background radiation that we’re exposed to all the time and our skin is designed to protect you from a lot of that but again when you’re breathing in something there’s less protection against radiation which is why radon is such a serious thing to be thinking about now in this calculation based on what i inputted into it my estimated yearly dose of

radiation without radon is 92 milligrams annually but check it out with radon it is 452 milligrams and that is at the level that my home is currently at so you can see just how much radiation exposure i get just from the radon which is why mitigating it and keeping track of where your levels are is really important so that brings us to the air things device here and what it has been looking at over the last week or so so right out of the gate here we have our radon reading and at the moment my level is 2.5 which is at the level where you might try to do some mitigation but you’re likely not going to get it much lower and if i dive into the number here i can get a an average over a period of time so i’ve been running it now for about a week that’s the number that i have up right now i am going to let this run throughout at least the next month or so to get a monthly average of where things are at but you can see just the variation in readings here so it went down as low as about a level of 2 at one point and then as high as 3.8 or 3.9 so it is fluctuating based on weather and atmospheric conditions which is exactly what the radon guys said would happen here so it’s really a matter of getting an idea as to what’s our monthly average looking like and then we can kind of decide whether or not we need to go and do further

mitigation the nice thing is is that it looks as though the reading i am getting from this is in line with what i got from the lab test so i think from the standpoint of determining whether or not to take further action i’m fairly confident at the moment given that we have such a recent lab test that’s aligning closely with what i’m getting out of this that i think were in good shape here from an accuracy standpoint now as i mentioned this will look at other things including volatile organic compounds and volatile organic compounds are a whole bunch of different things so they can include everything from chemicals in the air to exhaust from your stove and you will get some idea as to what that air quality is like and you’ll see variations based on what you’re doing in your home at different times and you can see even things like fragrances or cooking fumes can cause the numbers to fluctuate now unfortunately like other products that detect volatile organic compounds you don’t know exactly what chemical it is detecting just that there is one in the air so it’s on you to kind of troubleshoot things but they do give you here at the bottom of their explanation a range of numbers and where you should be concerned uh so right now in my unit here we are at 56 which is the average over the last 48 hours and if i go up to the real time

count here it’s around 153 so all is good there the next item is the co2 detector and it might be hard to see on screen here because it’s right at the edge but you’ll notice that my chart here for carbon dioxide is going up significantly and that’s because the detector is sitting in front of me and my hot air is of course spewing carbon dioxide all over the place so it’s picking me up speaking as i’m sitting next to it and so you will see if you have guests over those co2 numbers increasing just like the other option here on the vocs you can click on the little question mark here and get an idea as to what causes co2 in the home and what you can do from a ventilation standpoint for example to mitigate high levels of co2 and while this is not technically a fresh air detector it can give you an idea as to whether or not you’ve got proper ventilation in a room and as we’ve experienced over the last couple of years with viruses the more fresh air you have in a room the less likely you’re going to see viruses spread so these numbers i think can actually give you some good idea as to whether or not you need to do something about your home or office ventilation and they also give you some numbers here to see what the thresholds are you also go back a notch here have a humidity detector and of course you can have areas where you have too little humidity and too much and it will tell you if you have fallen

into the too much or too little area i’m kind of on the edge here i’ve got my little heater system down here that dries out the air pretty decently in this office and then you also of course have temperature and your barometric pressure and so you get a good amount of data here for figuring out not only what the conditions are in your home but also how barometric pressure temperature and humidity might impact those things now the app doesn’t give you a very good way to compare this data but they do have a web version of this that gives you some flexibility for looking at the data and comparing values let’s have a look at that so here is the dashboard for my air things devices now the home screen here you can customize so you can move things around if you want you can also add tiles to the mix so for example i can move the radon level below the atmospheric pressure here i can add additional sensor readouts so i could say give me a three column humidity sensor here and i’ll add that tile to the mix and it brings it down there and i can move it up here and get it all situated the way that i want i can also dive into each device and get all of its readings here and just like on the app on the phone i can look at it by month by year or within the last 12 hours so you can really poke around here and see what your data is looking like the other thing you can do is export the data to a csv file and

there is an api so if you wanted to hand code some way to integrate your sensor data you have the ability to do that as well now the app will synchronize quite frequently with the air things sensor from what i can tell it is also doing that synchronization in the background every time i pop open the app it’s usually pretty much up to date you can also force an update by going into the settings and clicking on sync now and if your sensors are in range it will download the latest data from it you can also go into the sync info section here to troubleshoot and i found that the updates to the website are about every 30 minutes or so so you’re not going to get as up-to-date information on the web dashboard as you will on the app itself you can configure notifications here and what these will do is trigger at certain thresholds so right now i just have the radon one enabled so if i ever go above four the app will push a notification to my phone and to my watch as well and you can see here all of the red zones where those notifications will fire off in the case of humidity you’ll get it above 70 or below 25 and on the temperature you’ll get one above 77 and one that goes below 64 degrees

fahrenheit although i think i would like to see one that goes below freezing i haven’t figured out a way to customize these notifications just yet one thing that you can also do with this is link it up with the amazon echo devices and google home devices but it’s not very well integrated you don’t get notifications through those devices for example you can ask those devices to give you the current reading but i found they’re not all that useful because it’s just so much easier to pick up the phone and look at it as opposed to asking for a specific readout i would really like for there to be a verbal notification to tell me there’s something that i need to be worried about all right one last thing to mention and that is their app tries to track your activity across other companies apps and websites we typically see this notice come up with social media stuff and free apps and whatnot but it’s not something i would expect out of a product like this that you paid money for so hopefully they turn off that tracking i certainly hope they’re not selling your data to third parties anonymous or not there is no reason for this app to be doing that so i asked the app not to track me which is a feature of the iphone but android phones do not have that feature as far as i know at the moment so just be aware of that a little gotcha on the data tracking but overall i found this to be a decent radon detector what i’m getting out of it is very close to what my lab test gave me and it’s going to give me some additional peace of mind to determine whether or not i have

a problem here that requires further mitigation so i’m going to let this run for the next month or two see what the averages are looking like i’m going to call my radon guy back and see if maybe we need a stronger fan on the system to get more vacuum flow or maybe put in something else or maybe not do anything at all depending on what is feasible from a mitigation standpoint so it’s something i am comfortable recommending my radon guy was comfortable recommending it to me so if you do have a radon problem definitely look into something like this that said before you do anything i would do one of the lab tests first because that is going to be the least cost entry into this radon adventure that you’ll find yourself on and if your levels are low you’re fine you can maybe do another test in a couple of years to make sure nothing’s changed but if you’re in a situation like mine where you’re kind of borderline this is where i think having this really helps because if my radon levels keep creeping up i’m going to want to do something about it that is going to do it for this look at the air things wave plus and until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by supporters including gold level supporters jim tannis and tom albrecht hot sauce and video games and eric’s variety channel brian parker and frank goldman the brown and matt zagaya and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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