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    How to Monitor Air Quality at Home

    How to Monitor Air Quality at Home

    You may be thinking that while Indoor Air Quality may be a topic of concern in some households, there is no way that there would ever be an issue with your own. Even if you have read that poor indoor air quality may lead to negative personal health effects, it always feels more remote to not worry about it. However, the quality of air that an individual breathes is more important than you may realize. 

    For example, a case study has shown that the accumulation of CO2 can lead to negative health effects for students in pertaining to classroom applications. The study states, “Recent research suggests that a school’s physical environment can also play a major role in occupant and student academia performance. Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can increase absence due to respiratory infection, allergic diseases, biological contaminants, or adverse reactions to chemicals used in schools.” However, on the contrary it has been shown that by monitoring overall indoor carbon dioxide levels, in a home or classroom setting, you can actually increase your focus and productivity.

    When we look at the effects of monitoring air quality at home, not only are there positive effects on personal health with proper monitoring, yet there are also clear benefits in energy consumption.

    A key study from the Ashrae Journal says “Buildings that have properly installed carbon dioxide-based demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) systems, can reduce over-ventilation, saving money on energy costs.” The demand for environmentally friendly and HVAC ventilated CO2 monitors is even more on the rise than ever before. Customers now are taking a stand to reduce unnecessary over-ventilation and  also looking at more cost effective solutions, making Carbon Dioxide monitoring a vital component.

    How to monitor air quality?

    An average CO2 monitor typically includes the ability to measure carbon dioxide concentrations alone, or also includes additional measurement for temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure or particulate matter. One should also understand that when using a air quality device whether it is a desktop, wall-mount or handheld unit, you should never place the instrument near an air conditioner or anywhere where ventilation can directly interfere.

    Once you have placed your device on a firm surface or mounted it to the wall, ensure that their is power supplied to the device or that the USB cable is plugged in properly for accurate use. Once the device is powered on, there may be a standard 30 second countdown that will display and then the carbon dioxide values should appear. 

    You are now ready to accurately measure and view the concentration of CO2, which will be displayed in "ppm" value.

    In order to monitor air quality properly, ensure you are familiar with what would define "poor indoor air quality levels". See the classification guide below, for reference.

    Carbon Dioxide Classification Guide

    400ppm – Normal outdoor air level.

    400 ~ 1000ppm –Typical value level indoors with good ventilation.

    *Note: if CO2 levels are low when building is sealed and occupied, check for over-ventilation (too much fresh air = energy wasted).

    1,000ppm – OSHA/ASHRAE recommended maximum level in a closed room. Considered maximum comfort level in many countries.

    > 1,200ppm – Poor air quality – requires ventilation to the room.

    2,000ppm – According to many studies this level of CO2 produces a significant increase in drowsiness, tiredness, headaches, lower levels of concentration and increased likelihood of spreading respiratory viruses like colds, etc. Proper ventilation is needed immediately.

    Types of Air Quality Monitors

    In most homes, offices or classroom environments, desktop CO2 monitors like the TIM10 Desktop CO2, Temp and %RH monitor should be utilized to monitor carbon dioxide levels as they would be experienced by occupants indoors. This means the monitor should be set on a desk or flat surface.

    wall mounted co2 monitor

    When discussing wall-mounted CO2 monitors or IAQ devices, these should be mounted at the same height as a thermostat - about 48 inches from the floor. Like your thermostat, the CO2 sensor should not be mounted or set near outside doors or windows as this can make the space appear to have more fresh air than it actually does.

    Another key factor when choosing a location for your CO2 monitor is that people breathing on the device will negatively affect the reading. You will want to take that into consideration or mount the device in a location where visitors will not congregate.

    For example, a wall-mounted IAQ monitor such as the Tsense touch screen CO2 + %RH transmitter. This device is designed to measure 0-2,000 ppm CO2 and is available with or without an LCD touch screen display.  

    An alternative to a wall-mounted CO2 monitor is a duct-mounted CO2 sensor. These devices are best used where a single space or multiple spaces with common occupancy patterns are being ventilated. They sample the air from within the return air ducts, ensuring the most consistent average air quality for each zone of the building.

    Safety vs. Indoor Air Quality

    Many industries utilize compressed carbon dioxide, and it is important to recognize the different between an indoor air quality monitor vs. a carbon dioxide safety alarm. Industries such as brewing, restaurants, and cultivation facilities are  few industries which require a carbon dioxide safety alarm due to compressed CO2 being stored or produced. The difference between these safety devices, and indoor air quality sensing solutions, is that these safety devices have stricter CO2 monitor installation guidelines and are often required by state and local fire marshals. Indoor Air Quality solutions, will not accommodate these requirements.

    View the Remote CO2 Storage Safety 3 Alarm, for a CO2 safety alarm reference.

    Which CO2 Monitor is Right for You?

    First, you must consider your application. Are you monitoring air quality levels for health and indoor air quality, or for safety purposes? If the answer is indoor air quality, the next question is wall-mounted or desktop?

    One of the most common phone conversations we receive from customers is the surprise they get in overall benefits from their new CO2 meter in homes or offices. They've found that high CO2 levels indoors can have a direct impact on their quality of life, overall productivity and attention span.

    Looking for more information in regards to Indoor Air Quality solutions, speak to an expert today: Sales@CO2Meter.com 

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