We’re data nerds. We’re also crazy about perfecting the air quality in our home and office. So, when we got sick of using an old fashioned digital thermometer and hygrometer we embarked on a hunt for something a little more… awesome. We thought we wanted a wifi temperature sensor, but looked into all of our options first.
We landed on the Sensor Push wireless thermometer and hygrometer, and absolutely love the thing. But, before we get to deep into the love fest – let’s cover some basics and why we even wanted to find something more robust.
First, a Disclaimer: We’re Lazy
It took a long time to accept the fact that the reason we’re always searching for something better is that, at our core, we’re kind of lazy. We want to plop something into a room and have it toil away autonomously. We don’t want to add another chore to our already busy lives.
In fact, if we weren’t a little on the lazy side we’d probably be washing our clothes by hand and hang drying them outdoors. But, lucky for us some genius created the electric washer and dryer… which allows us to free up time for more important endeavors. Like spending time with our kids or checking historical data on our home’s temperature and relative humidity.
Who cares about RH and Temp
For a huge portion of the general public an old school thermometer or thermostat “works.” That was us. For decades we relied on a janky outdoor thermometer, weather.com, and our old school thermostat to keep tabs on the world around us. We’d look outside to our clock-like thermometer, or check the forecast, to decide between light jacket or puffy coat. And, when it came to temperature indoors… we’d just give the thermostat a bump if we were a little chilly.
But, then we had a son. We spent a ton of time setting up the nursery. Finding the best crib, the best changing table, and obviously set him up with a child safe purifier. Within the first few months we noticed that he always sounded like he had a cold. A trip to the pediatrician helped us realize that it actually wasn’t a cold… he was dried out. Eazy fix, we just moved one of our test humidifiers into his room to get the relative humidity to a more ideal range. To make sure things didn’t get too humid we also enlisted the help of our favorite thermometer/hydrometer.
The digital thermometer helped us realize that our nursery temperature was pretty inconsistent and that the humidifier we were originally using wasn’t quite up to the task. Sometimes we’d go in to check the conditions and the temperature would be around 73 degrees with rH of about 35 percent. The next time we popped in to check the temp would be 65 and humidity would drop to 30 percent.
This was the moment we really, truly started to care about temperature and relative humidity. We wanted our new baby to be comfortable. And, since he can’t really tell us himself we needed to collect some data.
A Simple Digital Thermometer “Works” a Wireless Thermometer / Hygrometer is Better.
We learned a lot about our nursery from the sub $20 digital thermometer we mentioned above. But, we also realized that the data and corrections we were making were more based on anecdotal observations than on root cause analysis. For example we learned that keeping the door open for even a few minutes dropped the relative humidity significantly. We also learned that when you open the front door to the house cold air rushes in and triggers the thermostat… even though the nursery is still quite warm.
But, those tidbits of anecdotal data made us want to get a little more scientific. And, to be honest we’re lazy and wanted to keep tabs on things from our phones… instead of having to go into the nursery to check the temp/humidity manually. (Side note, we first set up an extra baby monitor camera and pointed it at the thermometer… it kind of worked.)
When we first installed the Sensor Push we set up push notifications. That way if the humidifier runs out of water, our phone lets us know that the humidity is too low. Same with the false triggering of the heating system when the front door is open. We open the door to talk to a neighbor and the heater turns on… heating the nursery to about 75-80 degrees in a matter of minutes. Our phones now let us know to open the nursery door mid nap to cool things down.
Overall, the data and warnings Sensor Push provides is miles better than monitoring the nursery manually. It seems like our son is sleeping better, that may be changes brought on by age, but we like to think he’s more comfortable.
Other uses for a Wi-Fi Thermometer / Hygrometer
Our baby is the main reason we tracked down a wireless thermometer that we could monitor from our smartphones. But, once we started using ours we started to come up with other uses (or needs).
Our Wine Fridge is a Liar
We’re not crazy serious wine snobs by any stretch, but we do care enough to protect our investment in a cheap-ish wine fridge. For years we’ve set the dual zone wine fridge to temperatures recommended by publications like Wine Spectator. To our untrained pallets… everything seemed fine. Maybe a little on the cold side, but not refrigerator cold.
Well, sensor push told is in a matter of minutes that our wine fridge is a liar. Not only was the dual zone more of a single zone… 55 degrees is more like 43 degrees. If you’re casual wine drinkers like us, it’s probably a good idea to verify the temperature with some kind of thermometer. But, if you have thousands of dollars stored away in a cellar… a Sensor Push is cheap insurance and provides piece of mind that your hundred dollar bottles are safe and comfy.
Humidors are a Pain to Maintain
We have a humidor, but only enjoy a cigar or two every few months. If you read the first section you can probably guess what happens every time we decide… “hey a cigar would be nice.” If you cannot lets just say they’re typically a bit on the dry side. And, if you’re not a cigar smoker you might not realize that a single cigar can cost anywhere between $8 and $40… or more if you’re really into cigars.
Our old humidification device required that we fill it from time to time with distilled water. Unfortunately that method doesn’t always last as long as we would like. Fortunately, with a device like sensorpush we will be able to get a notification when the cigars begin to get thirsty for a bit of humidity. We’re going to give Bodeva packs a try alongside our Sensor Push. Hopefully the longer lasting humidification (3-6 months) coupled with a smart sensor will provide us with a larger margin of error.
In our Garage Freezer
A few years ago we had a GFCI trip in the garage. A week or so later we had a bunch of thawed, formerly frozen, meals and meat from a recent trip to Costco. Long story short… a sensor push would have saved us a couple hundred dollars by sending us a push notification to our phone.
Tracking humidity in a Boat or RV
We own neither a boat nor an RV, so this is purely speculative and based on experiences of friends and family.
In more humid climates moisture can wreak havoc on a stored vehicle. A wireless thermometer would definitely help give you an idea of what’s going on in that stored RV or boat, and then give you a good starting point for adding counter measures. We would probably use it to keep an eye on the amount of desiccant dehumidification required… that is if we were lucky enough to have a sweet boat or Airstream stored away somewhere.
In a cooler or RV Fridge
Speaking of RV’s and boats…. a sensor push would be a great way to keep tabs on the temperature inside a cooler or fridge while camping. We just need to figure out how to set it up so the sensor push gives us a heads up when the kids are melting ice while snooping around in the cooler.
Wi-Fi Thermometers and Hygrometers
We should point out that the Sensor Push isn’t technically a Wi-Fi device. The individual sensors transmit via Bluetooth. We had no problems with data transmission while using our sensor push. But, it would be nice to have a true Wi-Fi wireless thermometer for times when we’re away from home.
The good news is that the makers of Sensor Push have a solution. It costs about twice as much as a single sensor, but their Wi-Fi gateway will give you all of the functionality you could possible want. By the way… for the price of a sensor and gateway you’re spending about the same as you would on a true Wi-Fi wireless temperature sensor. The benefit is that you can expand your network of Sensorpush sensors on the cheap… compared to actual Wi-Fi devices.
The other benefit of grabbing a Wi-Fi gateway, is that Bluetooth will kill the battery in your smartphone. With your sensor push app running it goes looking for an update from the sensor(s) every 60 seconds. A Wi-Fi setup would presumably help with battery drain since it’s more efficient than Bluetooth.
We’re really impressed with Sensor Push. It provides a lot of insight and data for a pretty low price. We also think it will help with some of our reviews by providing more data points. It will also pick up some of the workload required while conducting a longer-term review on something like a dehumidifier.
If you at all curious or interested in perfecting the conditions inside your home or office, we highly recommend picking up a Sensor Push or similar product to keep tabs on temperature and moisture.
Now let’s hope someone builds a Wi-Fi odor and dust sensor.