How to keep your home's air clean and odor-free with HomeKit
Poor air quality in your home can stink up the joint or exacerbate allergies — and it can be hard to tell at a glance when its a problem. But, HomeKit peripherals can keep your home's air clean with minimal aggravation, and it won't cost as much as you think.
In my home that hosts two dogs, two rabbits, and a cat, maintaining air quality is crucial to stopping both allergies, to say nothing of the smell. Compound all this with exterior air quality issues, and things can get out of control, quickly.
Having an air purifier that kicks on in the kitchen while cooking can also be a lifesaver — especially in an apartment with temperamental smoke detectors.
An ideal solution would be to utilize a HomeKit-enabled air purifier. This would be a single device that could monitor air quality, automate itself, as well as respond to other automation rules and triggers from the Home app. It would also respond to Siri commands.
Unfortunately, as can be gleaned from the list of HomeKit accessories on Apple's site, the number of HomeKit-certified purifiers is quite limited.
We are going to walk through turning a "dumb" purifier into a smart purifier, and how to automate it using HomeKit to live a healthier life in your home.
We are going to walk through a few different levels of automation. From the bare essentials to the more intelligent. To get things going, you will need a minimum of a basic air purifier and a HomeKit smart plug.
When looking for your own, you want a two-stage filter. You want a larger pre-filter that takes out the bigger stuff like pet hair, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for the smaller particles like tobacco smoke, pet dander, and the like.
We did a lot of research into air purifiers and chose the Blue Pure 211+ for a multitude of reasons. It looks great and has a modern, unassuming design. It also has replaceable exterior covers that can be washed and come in a variety of colors.
It is easy to use and puts all of its efforts into cleaning and removing odors from the air rather than half-baked "smart" technology. This makes it ideally suited for our own needs.
We've been running the Blue Pure 211+ for quite a while now and find it to be amazingly effective and key to keeping our home clean and good-smelling.
For a smart plug, we use the iDevices Switch. We like this because it is easy to use, monitors electricity consumption, works over Wi-Fi, and has a colorful nightlight that can also be controlled via HomeKit.
By connecting the Blue Pure 211+ to the Switch, you can easily toggle the purifier on and off within the Home app, or by using Siri.
Once the purifier can be effectively controlled from HomeKit, the next step is to add some automation and reduce the dependence on manual control. There are multiple ways to do this, including based on when you come back from work at a certain hour, or leave based on geofencing.
We'd recommend that you turn the purifier on whenever last person leaves the home and turns off when the first person arrives to keep it running regularly.
Alternatively, the purifier could run at night while you're in bed. If the purifier is in a common room, at night you likely won't be in that room and it can run freely without making too much noise disrupt your sleep.
To do this, perhaps include in a "good night" scene so that Siri turns off the lights, closes the blinds, shuts the garage door, adjusts the thermostat, locks the door and turns on the purifier.
Beyond basic automation, the purifier can be controlled reactively based on the air quality in the room by being coupled with a HomeKit air quality monitor. There are several HomeKit air quality monitors out there — we'd recommend the Eve Room 2 or even the OneLink Safe & Sound.
An automation rule can be configured that whenever the air quality in the room drops below a certain threshold, the purifier kicks in. This has the highest level of financial investment, but it is the most hands-off and can keep your air at whichever level you prefer.
Home clean home
It is unfortunate that there aren't many HomeKit purifiers out there, and while an aftermarket plug and monitor solution isn't as easy as an out of box solution, it is certainly effective.
Going this route has its own benefits however, including monitoring the energy usage of the purifier, a handy nightlight that could be enabled based on a motion sensor, and Siri control for otherwise "dumb" but extremely capable purifiers. The Eve Room also has a display and other perks over an integrated air quality monitor, further justifying the investment.
Air quality isn't the most obvious smart home application, but it can make a profound difference with just a small amount of effort.
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