Is your rarely looked at little air quality, temp, etc monitor working? Probably not.

Yesterday was what I call battery day. I changed out 20 batteries in 10 devices (window sensors,) and two devices unrelated to the near decade-old batteries I replaced. I figured if one window sensor failed at 10+ years, it was probably time to replace all the batteries, and Amazon just happened to have a 20 pack on sale so yeah.

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TL;DR – if you haven’t looked at it lately it’s probably dead and not going to alert you of anything.

While I was replacing these I noticed a temperature sensor I had hanging in one of my kid’s rooms. I’d put it there when I was having a lot of trouble getting the room temperatures right and it would warn me if it got too hot or cold in there (we were re-venting the house, suddenly there was airflow to this room and a kiddo who occasionally woke up freezing.) I realized I had not gotten a notification in a while, which I’d initially put down to getting the airflow right.

I popped into the app and discovered it had been deactivated, signed out, and the batteries in the sensor were dead. Not a huge deal, but I never noticed a notification that the control app was being deactivated. This was something I was in every now and then for other reasons. The batteries had evidently died sometime after the app deactivated. Oh well.

I checked a few other things and noticed my Airthings Wave (didn’t review this, just own it,) this is the old Bluetooth one not the newer WiFi connected ones, had not checked in for the past week and a half. I use the Airthings app quite a bit because we use it for work as well. My phone sits in the same room as the Wave and as such that old Wave is one of the BT devices I don’t particularly hate. But there had been no heads up from the app that my radon detector had not checked in in a while.

I started poking around and one of my hygrometers was offline as well. The app was running but there was no notification that the hygrometer had not checked in.

With all the IoT stuff we use in our daily lives you’d think that all of it would have the simple logic of “if not checked in in X days send alert once a day until situation resolved.” Most of these control apps loke Govee Home, Mi Home, etc have all your information so sending a server-side alert to your email or texting you shouldn’t be that big of a deal if your app hasn’t checked in.

This becomes a real problem when you’re relying on any of this stuff. Did I know my WiFi thermometer’s app was disabled? No. Did I know my account that received a lot of temp data was signed out and then frozen after an auto app update? Also no. Would me not knowing that there’s a flood and extreme high humidity in my basement potentially be a problem? Yup.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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