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Using the Awair App to Diagnose and Improve Your Air Quality

According to the EPA, most Americans spend roughly 90% of their time indoors where air can often be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Understanding your Awair Score, and using the Trend Graph, you can determine what might be causing pollution or otherwise decreasing your air quality and take steps to make improvements.

 

How do I read my Awair Score? What can the Trend Graph view tell me about my air quality?

Your Awair Score

The Awair score is a simple, quick way to give you a basic overview of your current air quality. Based on a scale of 0 (extremely poor air quality) to 100 (excellent air quality). This score is calculated from a combination of air quality standards from the EPA and the preferences you set in the Awair app.  

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Beneath your Awair Score you’ll find a bar graph showing each of Awair’s sensors index values, ranging from 1-5 dots each. This graph includes: temperature, relative humidity, CO₂, chemicals (VOCs) and dust (Awair only). For each value, one green dot means that the air is optimal. More dots ranging ranging from green to yellow, orange and finally red means that the air quality could be improved. For example, 1 green dot in the CO₂ category means that there’s a low concentration of CO₂. In this case, the air probably feels fresh and clean. 5 dots would mean that there’s a very high concentration of CO₂. Instead of fresh and clean, the air would feel stale and stuffy. You might feel foggy and tired. You may get a headache or even feel nauseous. The better your air quality, the higher your Awair score will be and the fewer dots you’ll see in the graph.

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Your Trend Graph view

Tapping on the trend button in the Awair app will pull up the Trend Graph view. The Trend Graph is a timeline that lets you review your air quality for the past 4 weeks. In Trend Graph view you can select Awair Score, Temperature, Humidity, CO₂, Chemicals or Dust (Awair only). This lets you view and track trends in your overall air quality, as well as individual aspects of your air.

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By examining at the history of your air, you can start to identify patterns in how your air quality relates to your life. You can figure out what’s impacting your air quality and in turn determine how your air is affecting you.

Example: Over the past two weeks you’ve had a number of very severe allergy attacks in the late afternoon while at home. Between attacks, while at home you’ve had minor but consistent allergy problems. Consulting your Awair app you notice that your Awair score is in the yellow range. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. Looking at the dots below the Awair score you see that you have 4 dots in the Dust category and 1-2 dots in all other categories. Looking at your Awair Score Trend graph you see that in those late afternoons when you had the attacks you had a decrease in overall air quality. Looking at the individual graphs you notice two things:

  • Your Dust levels for the last 2 weeks have been generally high, with an additional slight elevation on the afternoons when you experienced the severe allergy attacks.
  • On those same afternoons the humidity was dropping significantly.

You understand that the elevated dust concentrations will trigger allergy problems. Low humidity causes pollen, dust, dust mites and other allergens to dry up, making it easier for them to become airborne. Armed with a better understanding of what’s happening in the air around you, you take action.

  • First you vacuum your floors, drapes and cloth furniture to get rid of any dust and dander build up.
  • Next you take a damp cloth and wipe down all the hard surfaces in your home to get rid of all the dust. You do not use a duster as that would simply kick most of the dust up into the air where you’ll then breath it in.
  • Finally, you buy a humidifier with a timer and schedule it to turn on shortly before the early afternoon starts each day.

Afterward you notice an immediate change. You go about your days able to breath easier. You generally feel better and there’s no more early afternoon allergy attacks.

Identifying correlations in your health, the quality of your air, and what was happening to decrease your air quality allowed you take action to improve the situation.

 

When should I expect spikes in pollution in my daily life?

There are times when the things we do as we go about our lives will inevitably cause a temporary decrease in air quality. Here are some examples of common activities that might cause spikes in pollution, and thus changes in your Awair score:

  • Cleaning - Cleaning products are a common source of VOCs. Vacuuming can cause an increase in VOC off-gassing from carpets, and disturb dormant dust in your carpet.
  • Cooking - Many cooking products release VOCs, especially as they are heated.
  • Gathering with company - People (and pets) expel CO₂ into the air as they breathe out.
  • Repairing or repainting your home- - Many construction materials such as paint, adhesives like caulk, and wallboard can produce VOCs. These materials should be stored outside or in a garage when they’re not being used. In addition to VOCs, repairs will often produce or kick up a lot of dust.
  • Arts and Crafts - Similarly, many arts and crafts materials produce VOCs.

In cases similar to these, you’ll likely see changes in your air quality. To make sure you’ve got the best air quality, it’s a good idea to ventilate during such activities. Simply opening a few windows can make an substantial difference.

 

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