As winter (finally) begins to melt away into spring, I, like many others, am getting excited for warmer weather, being outdoors, spending my weekends hiking, and my evenings around a bonfire. Nothing can ruin the perfect warm evening outside… aside from all those pesky mosquitoes.
As somebody who loves the outdoors, I have certainly used my fair share of mosquito repellents from sprays to candles to wristbands. However, despite my best efforts, I always seem to walk away from an enjoyable summer’s night with at least a couple itchy mosquito bites.
I was therefore very excited when I got the opportunity to try Thermacell’s LIV Mosquito Repellent System. After looking into the company, I was surprised that I had never heard of Thermacell before as they offer several solutions to the common mosquito problem that I found rather innovative.
The LIV system is designed to protect certain areas of the user’s home from mosquitoes with as little effort from the user as possible.
The system has a main hub that attaches, typically, to the side of the user’s house, and a few repellers that are installed around the perimeter of the protected area. After that, the hub connects to the user’s smartphone, and the user has several options to decide how and when to turn on the repellers to begin their mosquito-free living!
As I am writing this review, it is only March, and the mosquitoes are (thankfully) not out yet. Thus, this review will be based around my experiences setting up and testing the system. I hope to provide an update a little later in the year to be able to speak to the effectiveness of the system’s mosquito-repelling abilities.
The kit that I received came with the hub, three repellers, three thirty-foot cables, two different types of mounts, and four repellent capsules.
The hub plugs in to a standard electrical outlet and acts as the control center for the repellers. It looks like a large Alexa and is about the size of an electrical meter. Two screws come with the hub so that it can be mounted to the external side of your house. There are also two lights on the hub that indicate when the hub is powered on and if the hub is connected to Wi-Fi.
The repellers look very similar to path lights that I have seen that border the sidewalks leading up to people’s houses. I was surprised to find out that they were made of metal (not plastic) and that they looked very sleek. They are about the size of a one-liter bottle with lights along the midsection and a gap at the top to let out the repellent.
I received two options for the base of the repellers: a spike and a round base. The spike sticks into the ground to be completely hidden and the round base is much wider and allows the repeller to simply sit on the ground. Each repeller has input and output cables coming out of the bottom. The repellent cartridges sit inside of the top of the repeller. The repellent capsules look like multi-colored ping pong balls. My set came with four capsules, and each capsule should last for forty hours of mosquito protection.
When I opened the large box that arrived at my door, I really liked how neatly packaged all the components of the system were inside. Everything was very well-labeled, and I was amused by the terrible reviews that the mosquitoes gave the product written on the insides of the components for each box.
The setup was very straightforward, and everything was very well organized. Before I talk about my experiences setting up the system, I would like to note that it is a weatherproof system. Thus, you only need to set it up one time, and then it can be left outside all year long.
The repellers came in two parts, which were very easy to assemble and connect to the bases. It was also very straightforward to figure out how the connection cables attach each of the repellers to each other, and one of the repellers to the hub.
When I plugged in the hub to give the system power, I realized that the system could not be controlled without the LIV+ app. This did not turn out to be a problem, but I had not realized that the system could not be controlled without it. After downloading the app and forgetting my Wi-Fi password a few times, it was very easy to connect the hub to my cell phone. Now from my device, I turned the system on to give it a test run without any repellent.
When I turned the system on, the ring of lights on each of the repellers turned to yellow. From learning about the product before I received it, I knew that this meant the repellers were warming up. However, I do not know that I would have known this if I had not learned that the repellers had to warm up before I got the system. After about five minutes, the repellers turned on and the ring of lights on each repeller changed from yellow to blue which meant that they would be actively repelling mosquitoes.
Once I knew how the system worked, I wanted to do a test before I inserted the repellent capsules. I wanted to see if the hub would be able to communicate with the repellers over a distance longer than thirty feet of cable. This is because the area which I planned on protecting was greater than thirty feet from my house.
Sure enough, by simply connecting two of the thirty-foot cables together, the hub was able to activate the repellers from sixty feet away which left me very pleased.
Consequently, I also found out that if you happen to connect a repeller to another while the first repeller is already on, the second repeller does not turn on. I don’t know if this would ever happen as a user would normally only install the system once and then turn it on and off whenever they needed it, but I thought it was interesting.
When I went to get the repellent capsules from the box they came in, I found out that it is very important to store the capsules right side up. A little bit of repellent had spilled into the packaging during shipping, and as I tilted one of the capsules to take a picture, even more repellent spilled out into the box. However, once I removed the lid on the capsules, they were very easy to insert into the repellers.
Overall, the setup was very easy, and only took me about thirty minutes. It doesn’t take a special set of skills to install this system. If you can set up an Alexa, you should be able to put together this system very easily.
I am very happy with the way this system looks in my yard. The repellers are not ugly or bulky, and the fact that they have lights makes them look very sharp (you can even change the color of the lights in the app).
If I were to see these repellers in a friend’s yard I would have simply thought that they were nice-looking decorative lights which, to me, makes it even cooler to repel mosquitoes as well. The hub is also small enough that it doesn’t look like a large eyesore on the external wall of your house.
My only aesthetic advice before installing this system is to make sure you have a plan to hide the cords. The repellers must be connected by cords and should be spaced out far so you need a plan for how to keep the cords from laying in the yard. It would be very easy to cover with mulch or to run along the bottom edge of a house or patio, though. I’ve even buried cords the same size if that’s the route you want to go, but if aesthetics is important to you, don’t let them lay.
The LIV+ App works very well with this system. It took me no time at all to figure out how to connect the hub to my device.
Once the hub was connected, I was able to give the system a name in case I had multiple hubs (I named mine “Firepit”). Then, not only was I able to turn the system on and off just through my phone, but I was also able to set timers and schedules to tell the system when to turn on and off so that I wouldn’t even have to think about it.
I was also able to change the color of the lights to match my style and the app also kept track of how much life I had left in my repellent cartridges. I also believe that you can connect the app to a smart home device so that you can turn the system on and off with a voice command, but I was not able to try out this feature.
Spring and Summer Performance
After having the Thermacell LIV+ Mosquito Repellent system glowing beautifully by my fire pit for a few months, I was almost excited when, while sitting in my yard, I felt the first mosquito of the summer land on my arm.
Immediately, I whipped out my phone and opened the LIV+ app. I selected my system and turned on the repellers without getting up from my chair.
I am happy to report that with just two repellers, the firepit was able to have a relatively mosquito-free night (except for only a couple stowaways, who were quickly squashed).
The system does take a little while to get going, so if you’re looking to completely minimize the number of mosquitoes you see, I would recommend turning on the system about 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to be outside.
Doing so is made very easy with the LIV+ app as you can turn on the system from anywhere and you can even make schedules so that your repellers will start working at certain times throughout the week without you even having to think about it.
With this system installed, for me, applying copious amounts of bug spray to enjoy an evening in my yard will be a thing of the past.
I was very impressed by my first impressions of the Thermacell LIV Mosquito Repellent System. It was very easy to install and to learn how to use.
The system itself looks very nice and you won’t have to tuck it in a back corner of your yard if you can find a way to hide the cords. It’s great that Thermacell has one app specifically for the LIV system, as that makes it simple and very straightforward.