Y’all know I have been writing about indoor air quality for years, with a particular focus on air purifiers, air quality monitors, and even HVAC systems. And I’m looking forward to bringing air quality data into the smart home as part of the Matter standard (or some standard) so we can tie monitors, purifiers, and HVAC systems together.
Ultimately, however, most of the existing systems available are piecemeal, which means an air quality monitor will signal poor air, leaving the homeowners to decide if they want to tote in a purifier (if they have one), change their HVAC filter, run the HVAC, or simply open a window. With that in mind, Winston Mok, a former Google employee, decided to combine a smart thermostat, a sensor-filled filter, and a proprietary air quality monitor to create a whole-home filtering system called Woosh.
The company is launching its first products on Kickstarter and said it raised a $1.3 million funding round. The Woosh air quality monitor and HVAC filter work with a Nest or Ecobee smart thermostat as a system designed to keep indoor air clean. When the monitor detects particulates or whatnot it can signal to the thermostat to recirculate indoor air using the HVAC, which will run the air through the filter.
The filter itself is composed of a reusable filter frame and filters that are delivered via mail. New deliveries will arrive based on the sensors inside the filter frame detecting dirt. When certain levels are reached, Woosh will either let the user know via the app or automatically send a replacement filter, or both. The filters’ sensors also measure differential pressure, which can signal dirt and even potential issues with an HVAC.
The monitor and filter setup will have a suggested price of $249, with MERV-13 rated filters costing about $20 per filter. Lower-rated filters are also available. Right now the Kickstarter pricing starts at $149 for the monitor and filter kit, but it won’t ship until January 2023.
A long list of companies are getting in on the indoor air quality market at the moment, inspired by some of the same factors that have inspired Woosh founder Mok. Mok became frustrated during California’s wildfires and the pandemic and found himself focusing on indoor air quality. He’s not the only one. In the last year alone, we’ve seen Amazon enter the market with a new air quality monitor, Wyze launch a combo air purifier and monitor, and updates to existing air quality products from 3M, Airthings, Awair, and Xiaomi.
While I currently have combo air purifier and monitoring devices that I think work just fine, I like the more holistic approach here. If I hadn’t yet spent hundred of dollars buying air purifiers, this solution certainly seems more economical, although I do wonder how quickly it can clean problem air and how well it can keep up during fire season.
But I also like the fact that the dirty filters get tossed while the electronics in the filter frame stick around. One issue I have with 3M’s smart Filtrete filters is that the sensor and Bluetooth chip inside the filter get tossed in the trash. Additionally, having to replace dirty filters seems to offer an opportunity for a recurring revenue model that will keep investors happy. And it’s already a product consumers are used to replacing.
Woosh provides a good twist on the indoor air quality problem by adding in HVAC to the sensing and purification problem. I would like to test it out when it’s available next year.