It can be a hassle, trying to remember when to change the air filter in your furnace. Even then, you may end up changing it earlier or later than is actually required. Toronto-based is now offering an alternative, with its "smart" Alvi furnace filter.

Alvi consists of two parts: a reusable main unit, and single-use filter cartridges.

Users insert a cartridge into the main unit, plug that unit's power cord into an electrical outlet, then insert the unit/cartridge combo into the furnace's filter slot. The unit creates a polarized electromagnetic field, which causes tiny incoming airborne particles of dust, pollen, mold, etc to clump together into larger ones. Those larger conglomerated particles are then trapped in the filter cartridge, reportedly resulting in HEPA-standard air purification.

Utilizing an integrated Wi-Fi module, Alvi continuously transmits readings from its air flow sensors and optical sensors to a cloud-based server. There, the data is analyzed by a machine-learning algorithm, which determines when the cartridge is full of crud and thus needs to be replaced. Users are subsequently alerted to that fact via an accompanying iOS/Android app. That app can additionally be set to automatically order new cartridges as needed – Alvi is also compatible with smart home systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

As an added bonus, because the furnace presumably won't ever have to be pushing air through a clogged filter, CleanAir claims that its system should significantly lower users' energy bills.

If you're interested, Alvi is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$499 will get you a set of two main units and two filter cartridges. The estimated retail price is $289 for the Alvi unit and $25 per cartridge, each of the latter being good for four to six months of use.

Potential buyers might also be interested in the lower-tech FloSmart, a clip-on air flow sensor that notifies users when a third-party furnace filter needs to be replaced.

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