Indoor air quality is becoming increasingly important. Old houses often do not have active ventilation, which means that CO2 values can quickly rise, while new houses have little natural ventilation, which means that particulate matter can collect. It is therefore wise to monitor the air quality in your home and one of the products with which this can be done is the MCO Home CO2 sensor. This has Z-Wave for connection with home automation systems.
What is MCO Home?
You can measure the air quality in your home with various devices, including the air purifiers from Dyson, Duux and Princess. You can also link a number of models to your home automation system via the cloud. This way you can use the data from the devices for further control in your home. But, what if you want to measure air quality but you don’t need a complete air purifier and don’t want to spend a large amount on it?
If you want to measure the air quality in your home, and especially want to focus on CO2, then there are very few stand-alone sensors that you can connect to your smart home controller. MCO Home is one of the few manufacturers that responds to this. The company makes all kinds of products for the smart home, including sensors, thermostats, dimmers, buttons and displays. With the sensors, MCO Home mainly focuses on the Z-Wave protocol. The products can therefore be added to hubs that support Z-Wave, including the Fibaro Home Center and the Athom Homey. Systems that work with Z-Wave sticks and modules, including Home Assistant, can also be linked to the sensors of MCO Home.
What is the MCO Home CO2 sensor?
The MCO Home CO2 sensor is an air quality sensor that can be used stand-alone (readable on the screen) or through integration with home automation systems. The device can be purchased with 12v (140 euros) or 230v power supply (190 euros). Please note that the power supply for the 12v version must be purchased separately.
The device not only measures the CO2 values in the house. The indoor temperature, air humidity and the VOC values (volatile organic compounds) are also measured. The focus is on the CO2 values and in the Netherlands a CO2 value of more than 1,200 PPM (Parts Per Million) is labeled as bad. The aim is therefore to keep the CO2 values in the house below this value. The display shows at a glance what the values are.
In terms of design, the MCO Home CO2 sensor is not a special device. It looks neatly finished and feels high-quality. The display is a simple monochrome display, with white symbols and numbers on a black background. The front has two buttons for easy adjustments.
Installation and assembly
For optimal CO2 measurements, the MCO Home CO2 sensor must hang freely at a height of approximately 1.5 meters. You are therefore not allowed to place it anywhere officially and placement near a heater, a window or in direct sunlight is also not recommended. After all, the goal is that the CO2 sensor can measure the average concentration in a room. The placement of the device is easy, provided you have the 12v version. You can simply connect this to the socket with a cable and adapter. The holes on the back make it possible to hang the sensor. If you want to have the cables hidden, the 230v version is in many cases the only option, but this device comes with a larger ‘bump’ on the back than we are used to in the Netherlands. It therefore does not fit in a flush-mounted box but must be placed on it.
Using the MCO Home CO2 sensor as a stand-alone device is quite simple. With the buttons on the front you can adjust a number of basic settings, including the brightness of the display, date and time. It is also possible to calibrate the humidity, CO2 and temperature measurement. If the data deviates, you can adjust it up or down here.
Furthermore, the device is stand-alone purely suitable for reading information. The display shows the day, time, CO2 value, temperature and humidity. The VOC score is also shown with an ascending graph and the labels ‘Poor’, ‘Average’, ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’. The device itself does not give an alarm: this is only possible when connected to a smart home controller.
The display is easy to read, even from a longer distance. However, it is continuously on: a proximity sensor is not present. However, you can adjust the brightness down or up. We have placed the sensor in a bedroom and with the standard brightness you will not be bothered by the screen. One point that does stand out negatively is that the time of the MCO Home CO2 sensor seems to run slower than that of the rest of the world. If you actively use the time, you have to advance it a few minutes every few months.
When paired with a Z-wave controller you get the most out of the CO2 sensor. We have the Athom Homey smarthomehub used. A Homey app has been developed for MCO Home equipment so that you can easily add and use a large number of the company’s equipment. To do this, you simply download the MCO Home app, select the device you want to add, put the device in ‘inclusion’ mode and within a few seconds the device will appear in the device overview.
The settings that are possible depend on the hub you use and how the integration of MCO Home devices is done exactly. The number of setting options is limited with the Homey. You can of course give the CO2 sensor its own name and place it in a specific room.
You can also indicate the CO2 notification threshold value. This is the limit value after which you will receive an alarm notification. This is a maximum of 1,200 PPM (Parts Per Million). Once that value has been reached, the device will receive a yellow exclamation mark in the device overview and you will see an icon with ‘CO2 alarm’ pulsing red on the status screen of the sensor itself. The status screen also shows real-time CO2 values, temperature and humidity. The data from all sensors is almost immediately transferred to the smart home hub, but if you want to adjust the interval, you can do this via the raw configuration parameters. However, since the MCO Home CO2 sensor has a fixed power supply, you can leave these intervals at the default values.
Once added to the hub and set a limit value, you can get started with scenarios called Homey Flows. The most obvious flow is to give a visual or audible alarm as soon as the CO2 value rises above the limit value. For this you can take as trigger ‘the CO2 alarm goes on’ or ‘the CO2 level has changed’. With the second option, you specify a value that should cause an alarm. As an action, you can then link whatever you want, such as turning your lighting red, sending a push notification or giving an audible alarm through your speakers. Of course, this all depends on the devices you have connected to your hub. You can also automate with the values of temperature and humidity. As a trigger you take that the value of one of these sensors has changed, after which you can determine what happens again as an action. Do you have a connected heating? Then you can switch it on when the temperature falls below a certain value. Do you have a coupled ventilation? Then you can activate it as soon as the humidity has exceeded a certain value. You can make it as crazy as you want. The only thing that cannot be read by the hub (any hub) is the VOC score. This is only visible on the device itself.
Finally, it is also important to report that the MCO Home CO2 sensor performs its work as an air quality monitor almost perfectly. We measured the temperature, humidity and CO2 in the same room using various sensors that we already have. The values corresponded with small deviations and with a calibrated thermometer there was even a 0.2 degrees difference. Small deviations are often not a problem as it concerns the change in the values on which you set the automation.
With a price of 140 to 190 euros, the MCO Home CO2 sensor is not a cheap sensor, but there is little competition in the field of CO2 sensors with Z-Wave. In addition, this sensor does exactly what it should do: accurately measure CO2, temperature and humidity. As a bonus you also get to see the VOC score. Installation is simple, but keep in mind that the 230v version does not fit in a Dutch flush-mounted box and that the 12v version therefore requires an adapter. The sensor is easy to connect to a Z-wave controller, after which you can go all out with flows and scenarios. Small downside is that time lags behind and we would also like to use the VOC score in scenarios. For now you can only read that score on the screen. In our opinion, the MCO Home CO2 sensor is an absolute must as a sensor in your smart home. It is a reliable device that provides accurate data with which you can make your home a lot smarter.
- Accurate and Reliable
- Easy-to-read display
- Temperature, CO2 and humidity
- Z-wave Plus
- Must have CO2 sensor for a smart home
- 230v or 12v
- 12v does not include an adapter
- 230v does not fit in a flush-mounted box
- Time is running out
- VOC score not to be used with home automation
- Not cheap
The MCO Home CO2 sensor for this review has been provided by HAshop.nl. They can supply the 12v version including adapter.