Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does Clair detect pollutants?  

Clair uses independently tested optical and electrochemical sensors to detect pollutants. The optical sensor looks at the infrared light reflected off particulates such as dust and smoke to estimate the size and quantity of particulate matter in the air. The electrochemical sensors have varying electrical property when in contact to their target gas. We amplify and measure the variation of these electrical property to estimate the concentration of the target gas. We then use our proprietary algorithms to clean the data and correct it before presenting the result to you.   

Q: What does Clair detect?    

Clair measures temperature, humidity, the levels of particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, and PM10) and volatile chemicals (VOCs). Particulate matter is made up of tiny particles that are small enough to penetrate deep into your lungs and even into your bloodstream; these are associated with heart disease, strokes, and even diabetes. You can read more about particulate pollution on the EPA’s website. Volatile chemicals are chemical compounds that are released from natural or man-made sources ranging from paint to carpet. These can have short and long term health consequences. You can read more about how VOCs impact indoor air quality here.

Q: How does Clair know the probable sources?    

This is one of Clair’s premium features. Clair looks at the chemical fingerprint of your air and uses our scientific expertise in atmospheric chemistry, fluid mechanics, and machine learning to reach conclusions. For example, Clair knows that a fast spike in pollution around dinnertime is caused by cooking smoking, but a slow decline in air quality is caused by a clogged filter. Clair can be wrong, but the more you correct Clair, the more she learns.  

Q: How does Clair give advice?    

This is one of Clair’s premium features. Clair bases her advice off of the source of pollution identified, and uses how your house works to give you practical advice. For example, when Clair sees a slow decline in air quality and knows that you have a central heating or cooling (HVAC) system, Clair can suggest that your air filters needs changing. When Clair knows about your house, and when she identifies a probable sources of pollutant, she will try to address the source (such as changing detergent brand) and address venting (such as opening a window, running your HVAC fan and your range hood).  

Q: Where should I keep Clair?     

For best results, we recommend placing Clair where you or your loved ones spend the most time. Most of the time, this is a bedroom or playroom. Of course, an even better solution is to place multiple devices throughout your house!  

Q: I have trouble breathing, can Clair help me?      

If you have trouble breathing, you should always consult with your medical specialist first. If you are diagnosed with a condition that is made worse by your environment, such as allergies, asthma and COPD, Clair may help you identify and reduce your triggers. This is a premium feature of Clair. Clair can let you log your symptoms when they occur and will try to identify what is responsible in your home environment. Clair’s companion app will also tell you about environmental triggers outside your home. Clair uses machine learning to understand the relationship between the environment and your symptoms and reminds you to take your rescue inhaler on bad days.  

Q: Do I get access to my historical data?        

Clair has an on-board memory chip that stores up to 10 years of data to give you a clear view of your air over time. No 24 hour limit nonsense!  

Q: Dust mites give me allergies. Can Clair detect them?      

Clair cannot distinguish between types of dust. If you keep the device in your bedroom and tell Clair when you have allergy symptoms due to dust mites, Clair will try to predict your symptoms and recommend remediations to limit your allergies, such as changing your mattress cover and remind you when to wash your sheets.

Q: How does Clair automatically solve my air quality issues?      

 Clair can connect through our servers with your smart home automation if you register your smart home devices with us. This feature is currently under development.  

Q: Does Clair work unplugged?   

No, Clair does not include a battery and needs to be powered through its micro-USB port to work. We do not recommend using Clair outside or on the move because wind can alter her measurements.  

Q: Can I move Clair around in my house?     

You can move Clair around in your house but this will reduce its effectiveness at giving you practical solutions. To have the best possible recommendations, tell Clair the room that she is in and leave her undisturbed for a week or longer.  

Q: Are Clair’s sensors calibrated?      

Clair’s sensors are initially calibrated against a reference during assembly but may drift over time due to normal usage. Our algorithm tries to compensate for bias but physical calibration may be necessary over time. This does not affect Clair’s ability to give advice and make predictions over time as Clair looks for variation in air quality. We offer a yearly calibration plan where you can send your devices back to us for cleaning and calibration.  

Q: Can Clair detect radon?  

Clair cannot detect radon.   

Q: Can Clair detect mold?  

Clair can detect the conditions that are suitable for mold, but cannot accurately distinguish between mold and other airborne particulates. Clair monitors for the likelihood of mold presence based on particulate count, humidity, and ventilation effectiveness. Clair can recommend mold inspection services for you if there is a high probability that you have that problem.  

Q: How precise are Clair’s sensors?  

Clair’s sensors can detect particulate matter levels with high accuracy (R2>0.9) when compared with a reference instrument in controlled conditions. We note that over time, Clair’s sensors can become imprecise, so for the most accurate results, we recommend our yearly calibration plan. Clair also cannot always distinguish between different types of volatile gases. For example, Clair can confuse alcohol vapor from a spilled glass of wine with something more dangerous, like formaldehyde off-gassing from

 new particleboard furniture. We strongly believe that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the air that you breathe, so Clair will always try to improve your air.  


2018, Troposphere Monitoring Inc.