Can Smart Homes Help Prevent Mold?

Many of us have heard about the harmful effects of mold. We have family members, friends, or colleagues who suffer from allergic or respiratory problems that are related to mold. Can smart home products help minimize mold and positively impact people’s health?

Mold spores are present in most indoor spaces. They are found in household dust. At low concentrations, these mold spores do not cause issues for most people. However, when combined with certain environmental conditions, those mold spores can grow. And when large quantities of mold spores are present, people are susceptible to the harmful effects of mold.

Some homeowners were recently surprised when Ecovent — a smart vent manufacturer — reached out to warn them that specific rooms in their home had the environmental conditions that are conducive to the growth of mold. These customers did not expect their smart vent manufacturer to do this. It was not a capability they purchased, or a capability that Ecovent promised to deliver. However, because these people had certain sensors in their home, and because the folks at Ecovent took advantage of data science, they were able to have this unexpected benefit.

Ecovent is a smart home product that provides room-by-room zoning for heating and air conditioning. Many people purchase Ecovent to address situations where some rooms are distinctly colder or warmer than others. It helps homeowners get their desired temperature in every room of their home. In order to provide this room-by-room zoning, Ecovent places temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors in each room. These sensors are the key to Ecovent being able to detect the environmental conditions that are conducive to mold growth.

After reaching out, one homeowner responded by saying “…thank you so much for reaching out… the diagnosis of the system makes sense to me…” Another responded by indicating “…I am not surprised… it is surprisingly nice to hear there is a report dealing with humidity.” Another responded by asking for help locating someone in Miami who provides mold remediation services.

This recent outreach was not the first time that Ecovent helped identify mold for its customers. In Ecovent’s early days, a system check on a new customer revealed that some vents were getting less air than others (because of pressure sensors in the vents). After investigation, they discovered duct issues that were causing cool air to escape inside the walls, leading to condensation to form in the walls and mold growth. Thankfully, the homeowner could address the issue before it became more serious. They wrote Ecovent to say “this journey may have saved my life… I’ve been through the black mold thing before, with guys in Hazmat suits and massive insurance claims, and now I’m looking at the same thing again — but I found it and have been able to mitigate it because of Ecovent.”

The smart device market is exploding. Many homes are adding smart thermostats, smart security systems, smart door bells, smart assistants, and more. Several of these smart devices are deploying sensors around the home. When we can leverage these sensors and apply data science, the outcome can be both unexpected and beneficial to the homeowner.

Conor O’Mahony is head of product at ConnectM Technologies. Contact us if you are interested in using the Aurai platform to apply data science to indoor climate and air quality sensors.