Radon is a very dangerous radioactive gas. Colorless and odorless, it is a byproduct of the naturally occurring breakdown of uranium in rocks, soil, and water, so it is found all over the country. According to the Surgeon General, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.
Radon does not get as much attention as carbon monoxide and asbestos, but it should. Norway-based tech company Airthings has picked up on that and created a device that tests for radon in real time. The Wave is a Wi-Fi enabled, battery powered indoor air quality monitor. It’s about the size of a smoke detector and is enabled with temperature, air pressure, humidity, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, and radon detection sensors.
The hub connects to approximately 50 wireless devices found within a 300-foot range and features Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Airthings SmartLink connectivity. Its surface is pocked with small holes and features an LED ring light in the center that glows different colors to indicate the air quality. Its sensors are located near the bottom edge of the device.
The device comes with two AA batteries installed, so it’s ready to go once you pull the battery tab out. A voice from the device will tell you when it’s ready to be paired with your phone. Once it’s connected, you can mount the Wave to the wall just like a smoke detector and let it run. It takes about an hour to get your first radon reading.
Compared to standard short-term kits, there are advantages and pitfalls of the Wave. The device costs around $200, so it’s definitely not as economical. A typical radon-test kit costs $15 to $35, including the lab fees. Even at the higher end, you could test up to five rooms in your home for less than you could with the Wave, according to Tech Hive.
If you live in an area that is particularly prone to high radon levels, like mountainous areas, it may be a good idea to invest in the Wave to get updates on your air quality in real time. Otherwise, it may be smart to stick with a standard radon-test kit.