There’s a saying: Your home is your castle. Part of making your castle is to figure out what you have to do to make it comfortable. You can take the guesswork out of how to make it comfortable by using tech to do so. In my case, I will be using the Netatmo Healthy Home Coach figure out how healthy my condo is. Here’s what it looks like.
If you’ve seen my review of the Netatmo Welcome camera, it looks similar to the Welcome. But it isn’t a camera. It contains sensors to measure temperature, humidity, noise and air quality in the form of CO2 and connects to your smartphone or tablet via WiFi. The ideal is that by measuring these, it can help you have a healthier home. That sounds great in theory. Let’s see how it works in practise.
Setup was almost trivial. You plug it in, download the Home Coach app which is available for iOS and Android, and follow the on screen instructions. That’s where I ran into a few snags. First, the app uses the whatever WiFi network your smartphone is on. In my case, I had my iPhone on a 5Ghz WiFi network. However the device didn’t see my 5Ghz WiFi network. Instead, I had to pick my 2.4Ghz network from a list of networks that it saw. That wasn’t a big deal. But what was a big deal was the fact that when I tried to set it up with Apple Homekit, I ran into problems. First, when it tried to set it up in HomeKit, it gave an error about not being able to sync to the cloud. I didn’t really understand what the error was until I decided to open the HomeKit app, which in turn made me turn on iCloud KeyChain. Once I did that, I was able to get past that problem. That led me to the next problem which was that once I gave a name for my condo (which I unimaginatively called it “My Home”) and gave it a name for the room that the Healthy Home Coach was located in (which was the “Bedroom”), it asked me to turn the Heathy Home Coach over to scan a 2D bar code after click next. But nothing happened when I clicked on next. That confused me for a bit until I closed the HomeKit app. Once I did that, I was able to scan the bar code. From there I had to choose to set it up for an asthmatic, a baby, or for the whole family (I chose the whole family). That completed the setup. But clearly there’s some bugs on the iOS app that they need to iron out.
Once it’s set up, here’s what the app looks like:
If you click on each item, you see something like this which explains what the item is, why it is important, and what you can do to improve things:
So it looks like I am good on the CO2 front. You can track historical data as well. That way you can see when something changes and perhaps that would give you a clue as to why it changed. The app also supports multiple Healthy Home Coach units so that you can put one in each room in your home and get a holistic view of your home.
So that you’re not constantly checking the app, The Healthy Home Coach and receive notifications when any of the different measurements aren’t at the right level. That gives you the ability to tweak things in your home to make things better. Because I was testing this on an iPhone, I utilized the fact that The Healthy Home Coach is HomeKit compatible. Thus you can use the HomeKit app to see the status of whatever room The Healthy Home Coach is in:
It also allowed me to ask Siri questions:
But why HomeKit compatibility really matters is that beyond cool Siri party tricks is that you can use The Healthy Home Coach to drive the behavior of other HomeKit compatible devices such as thermostats and fans. That way a reading of high CO2 will trigger the fans to come on. Or a radical change in temperature will result in the thermostat adjusting the temperature accordingly.
The big question is, did it do anything to help to make my condo more comfortable. Well, it did reveal is the bedroom could be better on the humidity front. Thanks to the data from using this for a few days, it’s convinced my wife and I that maybe we need to look at a humidifier for that room. We’re also going to see what we can do about ventilation as CO2 levels in the bedroom hovered below 900 ppm which while still good, is a bit higher than we’d like it. We did lower the temperature by a degree as it was as high as 23.5 Celsius which is outside of where it should be. By doing those things, maybe it will help to give my wife and I a better nights sleep.
The Netatmo Healthy Home Coach is $119 CDN. Check it out if you want to gain insight into how healthy your home is and how you can improve your comfort in it.