How to Maintain an Air Quality Monitor for a Longer Lifespan

How to Maintain an Air Quality Monitor

The quality of your decisions depends on the quality of air data you receive. 

So, how do you ensure that your air quality monitor provides precise and reliable data?

To start, you can maintain your device to keep it in optimal working conditions. By doing so, you’ll continuously receive quality information that will help protect you and your family from air pollution. Moreover, you’ll maximize its value by lengthening its lifespan. 

In this article, we’re sharing tips on practicing air quality monitor maintenance. 

How Long Should an Air Quality Monitor Last? 

PurpleAir air quality monitors generally last for about two years. That's because air quality monitors work by using sensors to measure pollutants in their environment. Over time, some sensors can become less sensitive or fail, resulting in inaccurate readings. However, many PurpleAir devices can last longer than two years when properly maintained.

You’ll notice the following signs when it’s time to troubleshoot an air quality monitor:  

  • Your device is reporting inaccurate data.
  • The lights of the air quality monitor aren’t turning on.
  • The device won’t turn on even if you switch power sources.
  • The monitor no longer appears on the map.

What Affects an Air Quality Monitor’s Lifespan? 

While we build our air quality monitors to be durable, they’re not indestructible. Extreme events can damage the internal components of your device and shorten its lifespan. 

Here are the most common factors that affect PurpleAir monitors:  

  • Severe Weather. Strong winds can knock your outdoor air quality monitor out of its place, damaging its parts. Torrential rain and snow can also soak into the device, causing it to short-circuit.
  • Extreme Temperatures. High temperatures can overheat and degrade the electrical components of your monitor. At the same time, extreme cold can cause it to freeze and malfunction.
  • Power Surges and Outages. Like any electrical device, frequent power fluctuations can destroy the electrical parts of your device. 
  • High Levels of Pollution. Constant exposure to high pollution events can quickly wear out the sensor of your monitor, shortening its lifespan. 

How to Take Care of an Air Quality Monitor 

Taking care of an air quality monitor is vital to ensure its accuracy and longevity. Whether you have a personal monitor at home or manage a network of devices, proper air quality monitor maintenance is key to obtaining reliable air quality data.  

Here are four air quality maintenance tips: 

Tip #1: Properly Install Your Air Quality Monitor  

How you install your air quality monitor can impact its accuracy, performance, and lifespan. If you install it in an area with high pollution levels daily, it won’t last as long.

However, if you install your air quality monitor according to expert recommendations, you’ll maximize its lifetime. This is why air quality maintenance starts the moment you receive and install your monitor. 

Tip #2: Clean Your Air Quality Monitor 

Because your air quality monitor measures particulate matter, there’s a high chance that debris and dirt can get stuck. It is also not uncommon for assorted bugs and spiders to take up residence inside the monitors. 

To clean your PurpleAir air quality monitor, you first need to unplug it. Next, use the low setting of your vacuum cleaner and place it at the bottom of your monitor for about 2 to 3 minutes. If you think there are still particles stuck in your air quality monitor, you can use compressed air to clear out your laser counter but always be careful as you can accidentally break the fans if you do this too often. Refer to this article on the PurpleAir Community for more information.   

However, we advise against regularly cleaning your PurpleAir air quality monitors as they are sensitive devices. Frequent cleaning can dislodge parts, preventing them from working. 

Tip #3: Store Properly When Not in Use 

When you don’t plan to use your air quality monitor for long periods of time, store it in a tightly sealed container. This prevents dust and insects from entering the monitor. At the same time, it helps keep moisture from accumulating inside the device, which can damage the laser counters and electrical components. 

Tip #4: Immediately Troubleshoot Any Problems 

The longer you leave the problem alone, the more damage it will do to your device. So, it’s best to try to solve any problem you encounter as soon as possible. 

Here are five common air quality monitor problems and their solutions: 

  • Laser Counter Problems. If your air quality monitor is inaccurately reporting data or if you notice that one or both of the laser counters aren’t working, you can begin by cleaning your device. If that doesn’t work, you can follow these steps to replace your laser counters.
  • WiFi Connection. If your device has been disconnected from WIFI for longer than ten minutes, it will display its network named PurpleAir-****. Simply connect to this network and reconnect the sensor to your WIFI to fix the issue. If that doesn’t work, or you can’t see the network, try the steps in this WIFI Troubleshooting article.  
  • Power Issues. If your device isn’t receiving power, the first thing you should do is plug it into another power source and try a different power cable. If those do not fix the problem, continue troubleshooting with this community article.
  • No Temperature and Humidity Records. If your air quality monitor can’t detect temperature and humidity, you can power cycle your device to restart its system.
  • Blue Flashing Light. Blue lights indicate that your device can’t read the SD card installed. To solve this, you can simply replace or reformat your SD card.  

If the problem persists, you can contact us at PurpleAir, and we’ll gladly assist you in getting your air quality monitor up and running again.

Your air quality monitor can last a long time with proper maintenance and care. In doing so, you ensure that your air quality data stays accurate and reliable so that you can continue making informed decisions about air pollution.

Worried About Air Quality? 

Monitor the Particulate Matter levels around the world with our free, real-time PurpleAir Map, or join PurpleAir’s mission to make air quality data accessible to everyone by investing in an air quality monitor for your home. Together, we can be informed and make changes in our daily habits and the community to improve air quality.