Molekule Air Pro
Molekule is at it again, activating sensors in their Air Pro purifiers that customers didn’t even know were there to give them new features.
This has happened once before with WiFi chips built into Molekule’s original lineup that sat unused for quite some time before the company activated WiFi connectivity.
The Molekule team similarly future-proofed their most expensive model, the Air Pro, to include sensors that can monitor humidity, VOCs, and CO2. Now that these have been activated, users get an Air Score that they can dig into in the Molekule app.
What’s the Air Pro?
I wrote about the Air Pro when it debuted a couple of years back but here’s a quick synopsis. The Air Pro is Molekule’s most advanced home air purifier. Built for larger rooms (up to 1,000 sq. ft.), it uses the same proprietary PECO technology to trap pollutants like mold, bacteria, and viruses (yes, even Covid) and destroy them with UV light. It’s so effective that it secured FDA clearance in September of last year as a medical device. Its unique sculptural housing makes it attractive enough that it fits in with most modern decor. Important, since an air purifier shoved into a corner is less effective.
Hidden Sensors Finding Invisible Pollutants
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are messing with your indoor air quality on a regular basis. Compounds such as limonene (a common ingredient in household cleaners that gives them a citrusy smell) and, apparently, the spices in my Super Bowl chili, can trigger allergies or just make breathing difficult. How many times have you sprayed something to clean off a counter or sanitize a bathroom and had to leave the room, waiting for the odor to dissipate? That’s VOCs in action. The Molekule Air Pro has been able to detect them for a while but the company was waiting for sufficient data and testing before “turning on” the sensor for consumers.
Now, you can see what concentration of VOCs are in the air around you in the Molekule app or on the LCD of the Air Pro unit itself. Even if you don’t care about the new data, the score improves the responsiveness of the Air Pro. The purifier’s Auto Protect mode now takes VOC levels into account and will modulate the fan speed accordingly.
The update also brings humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) readings to the Air Pro. Much like the VOC sensor, these were shipped with the Air Pro and were enabled to contribute to the Air Pro’s new Air Score. The Air Pro can’t eliminate CO2 from the air (nor does it contribute CO2) and it can’t combat humidity or lack thereof but both contribute to the overall indoor air quality. So high CO2 or humidity extremes are noted by the app but don’t trigger an Auto Protect response like VOCs now do.
All that data gives you a score between 1 and 500, with 1 being the least contaminated and 500 being the most (my device reads Bad: 225 at the moment as it clears the chili smell from the air—everyone’s a critic). The Air Pro reacts to air quality changes accordingly, increasing airflow through the device in Auto Protect mode as it detects a moderate, bad, or very bad Air Score.
How Do I Update My Device?
Most Molekule Air Pro devices have already downloaded and installed the firmware update (10.1.42.3). But if yours hasn’t, you can take a few manual steps to force the download.
First, make sure your Air Pro is connected to WiFi. Without that, there’s no way for the Air Pro to download the update. Then, unplug the device for at least 15 seconds (I found more success giving it at least a minute). Plug it back in and the download should start right away.
You’ll know your Air Pro has been updated because there’ll be a new number on the LCD screen, swipe to see the initial readings from the newly activated sensors (you can also find this data in the app). It takes about an hour for the Air Pro to start using the readings as part of Auto Protect and five hours after that to fully finish initialization. After that break-in period, you can expect to see consistently accurate readings.
One thing to keep in mind when you update is that there’s an extremely slim (.05% chance according to the company) that the sensors won’t activate properly and will incorrectly read your air quality (my unit decided that my VOCs were around 38k ppb, which I’m pretty sure would be fatal to anyone in the room). Luckily, as the Molekule spokesperson that contacted me mentioned, the company has a 2 year warranty (better than most in the industry) so you can get a replacement unit if this happens to you.
With failure rates being so low, I usually wouldn’t mention it except for the fact it happened to me, at midnight, when I woke to the sound of a windstorm in my living room. Molekule was quick to replace the unit and the new one is humming right along as expected.
Where Can I Get One?
If you don’t have an Air Pro yet, you can grab one from Amazon or the Molekule site. The Air Pro is $1,195 and comes with a 6-month filter (based on average usage). Additional filters can be purchased for $198.
The Molekule Air Pro is obviously an investment but when you’re talking about being able to breathe better in your home, it’s worth it. Especially when the company continues to make improvements to the device over time.
Just maybe keep the critiques of my cooking to yourself, eh Molekule?