Oct 2020

Add air quality data to your system with AirLink

AirLink air quality sensors are being deployed all over the world – and this is just the beginning. As we start to see the WeatherLink.com map populate with air quality data from new AirLink installations, we are excited to see what an important resource this little sensor is to those who understand the importance of knowing what you breathe.

We checked in with a few “early adopters” to see what they are doing with their AirLinks.

AirLink and the Busy Baker

First, there is the aptly named Josey Baker. Josey is the founder of Josey Baker Bread, the “bread baking” part of The Mill, a coffee and bread bakery/café in San Francisco.

Josey Baker's Airlink lets him know when to take steps to keep his workers and customers safe.

A few weeks ago, when San Francisco was blanketed in an eerie orange glow of a wildfire-smoke-polluted atmosphere, Josey worried about the safety of his employees and his customers.

“I installed an AirLink in the bakery,” he told us, “and what I discovered is that the air inside the bakery is essentially the same air quality as outside. While normally this is pretty irrelevant, during poor air quality events, we knew to take extra steps to protect ourselves and our customers, including wearing N95 masks while working, and even, on a few occasions, closing the café early.”

AirLink in Wildfire-Impacted Pacific Northwest

Seattle resident Corey Clarke is an avid weather watcher who has become concerned about the poor air quality Seattle has seen due to wildfires in the Cascades in Oregon and in the wine country of California. He did his research, and then was one of the first to get an AirLink.

Corey Clarke added an AirLink to his Vantage Pro2 system after wildfires affected the air quality in Seattle.

“I even paid for expedited shipping,” he told us.

Because he already has a Vantage Pro2 system installed on his roof, Corey understands the importance of hyper-local weather data. Living on a hill, Corey’s home weather data is often quite a bit different from that reported from downtown Seattle, which is about at sea level.

Corey's Vantage Pro2 is on his roof. No need to climb up there. He took this portrait with his drone.

“I know how important the microclimate is,” Corey told us. “We live in a narrow area of weather events, a convergence zone where systems from the north and south meet. It’s really important to understand local weather.”

"And, I love data,” he told us. “I am tech person, professionally and privately!”

Over the last few years Corey has seen the need for knowing hyper-local air quality in addition to weather data.

“In the past, air quality has not been a huge problem, thanks to our marine layer. But recently we’ve seen so many wildfires. We once left the bedroom window open and woke up to ash on our bed. I want to know what we are breathing. In fact, everybody should be scared about what poor air quality can do to you. On days when the smoke was so bad we couldn’t even see the end of our block, we knew we needed to stay inside. But was that enough? And what about the days when it looks fine outside, but we know the air quality is spiking?”

Corey got his AirLink mounted outside on his deck in time to register some alarming numbers, up in the 200s. It has already provided some insight into the behavior of poor air quality.

Corey's AirLink is mounted to his deck railing.

“I like comparing what I see on my hyperlocal data with what other air quality sensors are showing. The closest one to me is about ¾ of a mile away and I am seeing differences due to elevation. It seems to me that air quality is like fog – it settles.” (Corey’s observations are spot-on. Cold air tends to drain downhill at night and settle into low lying valleys. That cold air can strengthen an existing surface inversion and carry pollutants downhill. The effect is worse when winds are low and during colder months.)

The AirLink is very sensitive, he told us. “I can see when my neighbor burns trash – there’s a spike in the air quality before I can smell the smoke. I make sure our windows are closed.”

For now, the smoke near Corey’s home has cleared and the AQI has settled into some nice low numbers, which is reassuring to his family and to the community group with whom he shares his data. You can see Corey’s air quality on his Rainier View station on WeatherLink.com.

Two AirLink Allow Comparing Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality

Then there is Lawrence right here in the East Bay.

“That orange day was a wake-up call for us,” he said. “I started paying attention to the regional air quality reports, and faithfully closed all our windows and doors on bad days. But during a hot spell, working from home became miserable, so I installed a new air filter on my intake vent, then turned on the whole-house fan to get the air moving.”

“Then my AirLink arrived,” he told us. “I installed it outside and let it run awhile. The AQI was not good. Then, I moved it inside, let it run. The AQI improved somewhat, but surprisingly not as much as I would have hoped. THEN I turned on the whole house fan. Yikes! That little line in the graph went up, up, up. It was a really valuable lesson about the nature of my home – the fan is NOT a good idea on poor air quality days.”

Since then, Lawrence has added a second AirLink so he can have one inside and one outside.

“I get a real kick out of seeing and comparing the readings. I bought an room air filter, and love seeing the indoor AQI drop when I turn it on, while the outside remains high. The AirLink is near the kitchen, and one night my wife was cooking tortillas and, um, charring them a bit. It was fun to show her what her culinary efforts did to our indoor air quality. Another time, I patched some drywall and as I sanded it smooth, I wondered about the dust I was creating, and checked my WeatherLink app. What I saw made me glad I had put on an N95 mask.”

Since he installed the second AirLink, the air quality in the Bay Area has been quite a bit better. “It almost, just a little, makes me look forward to a bad air quality day,” Lawrence admitted. “But not really. Seeing those low numbers after last month’s crazy high ones is really nice.”

AirLink is the first home air quality sensor that gives you instant access to your data on your phone. It can be used inside and outside – and it comes with the Davis reputation for rugged quality and great customer support. Don’t wait for a murky orange day to add one to your system – know what you and your family are breathing every day.

 
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