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Frequently Asked Questions for Carbon Dioxide CO2 Monitors

Monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can help to ensure the air quality in any given environment is safe and healthy for individuals and employees to breathe. At high levels of carbon dioxide this can severely indicate poor ventilation, asphyxiation, and lead to a variety of health issues.

Below we have highlighted the most common frequently asked questions (FAQs) as they pertain to CO2 monitoring:

What is a CO2 Monitor?

Monitoring CO2 levels is important because high levels of CO2 can cause health problems, such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. In extreme cases, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Moreover, high CO2 levels can also indicate poor ventilation, which can lead to the buildup of other pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bacteria, and viruses.

How does a CO2 Monitor work?

Carbon dioxide can be monitored using special instruments called carbon dioxide sensors or CO2 monitors. These devices measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and provide real-time readings.

CO2 monitor works by measuring the amount of CO2 in the air using sensors, such as non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors or electrochemical sensors. The sensors detect the absorption of light or the changes in electrical current caused by the presence of CO2 molecules in the air. The monitor then displays the CO2 levels in parts per million (ppm) on a digital screen or through an app.

What is the ideal CO2 level?

The ideal CO2 level is generally considered to be between 400 and 1,000 ppm for indoor environments. However, some experts recommend keeping the levels below 800 ppm for better health and productivity.

What is the OSHA limit for carbon dioxide exposure?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends a maximum exposure limit of 5,000 ppm for an eight-hour workday when you are working in areas where CO2 safety is vital such as restaurants, beverage, breweries, wineries, indoor agriculture, and many others.

Concentrations of 10% (100,000ppm) or more can produce severe negative health effects such as unconsciousness and fatality.

Is CO2 dangerous?

CO2 is not toxic, but it can be dangerous in high concentrations.

For example, exposure to concentrations of CO2 above 5,000 parts per million (ppm) can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Exposure to concentrations above 40,000 ppm can cause unconsciousness and even fatality.


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What are the factors that can affect CO2 levels?

The factors that can affect CO2 levels include the number of occupants in the room, the duration of occupancy, the size and ventilation of the room, the activities performed in the room (e.g., cooking, exercising, smoking), and the outdoor air quality. In general, CO2 levels tend to increase in poorly ventilated, crowded, or confined spaces.

OSHA's standard for confined spaces (29 CFR 1910.146) contains the requirements for practices and procedures to protect employees in general industries from the hazards of entering permit spaces. Employers in general industries must also evaluate their workplaces to determine if spaces are permit spaces.

What are the potential health effects of high carbon dioxide levels?

High levels of carbon dioxide can lead to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. Prolonged exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide can also lead to more serious health issues, such as respiratory problems.

How can I stay safe around CO2?

To stay safe around CO2, it is important to ensure that areas where CO2 is stored or used are well-ventilated. It is also important to use the proper personal protective equipment when working with CO2, such as gloves, eye protection, and carbon dioxide monitoring equipment.

Additionally, it is important to follow all safety procedures and necessary guidelines when working with CO2. Read, "Standard Operating Procedures of Gas Monitors by Industry."

Where should I mount my CO2 Monitor?

The International Fire Code calls for the device/sensor to be mounted at 12 inches off the floor. Some jurisdictions may allow for different heights depending on obstructions or use cases.

For further information, please consult your local fire inspector.

How do I know which CO2 code or regulation to meet?

Ask your local fire inspector to provide details about the specific code you are being asked to meet. Typically, it will be a local code, the International Fire Code, the National Fire Protection Association code, or the National Board Inspection Code.

The codes are similar but do have some specific requirements you may need to be aware of. You can always contact for assistance in deciphering your code requirements.

Where does a CO2 Monitor need to be placed?

Different applications allow for different coverage areas.

  • Enclosed Beverage Systems
    • In these applications monitors cover approx. 1,500 sq. feet (length x width of the space). Typically, placement within 10 feet of the bulk CO2 storage tank, cylinders, and the BIB rack is sufficient.
  • Larger spaces may require additional monitors
    • Enclosed rooms/ spaces (closets, offices, bathrooms, and keg coolers) may require additional monitoring as gas can be trapped in these spaces because of the enclosure
  • Purposefully Enriched Areas
    • Applications where CO2 is intentionally injected into a space (called enrichment) will allow for larger coverage areas. Indoor agriculture usage will allow for larger coverage areas because of the continuous circulation of the environment. In these applications a monitor can effectively cover less than 2,000 sq. feet (length x width of the space).

My bulk tanks are outside, do I still need a co2 monitor?

Outside storage of tanks and cylinders is allowed by the code and the manufacturers of these storage vessels.

However, the gas is being used INSIDE the facility and a monitor will be required at the “first point of use” inside. This is typically at the BIB rack or carbonator.

What are the alarm settings for a CO2 safety monitor?

When it comes to carbon dioxide safety, a typical CO2 safety monitor should come configured with alarms that meet the specific NFPA, IFC, and NBIC code requirements. These alarm settings are as follows:

  1. Alarm 1 – pre-set to 5,000 ppm Time Weighted Average (a rolling 8 hr. average designed to measure someone’s exposure over an 8-hour work cycle). This is an OSHA requirement. Alarm 1 cannot be altered.
  2. Alarm 2 – pre-set to 5,000ppm. 
  3. Alarm 3 – pre-set to 30,000 ppm (aka 3.0%). Can be set as low as and as high as 4.0% in 1.2 % increments.

Please note, some jurisdictions have asked for different alarm set points (the main IFC code calls for 5,000ppm for the first alarm - or lower). While CO2Meter does not recommend these alterations to the OSHA set points they can be requested.

What are the best CO2 Monitors?

There are several factors that one should take into consideration when selecting the right carbon dioxide safety monitor.

Various partners, customers, and industry leaders have all looked at critical features such as the following:

  • Safety Alarms (that meet OSHA set points)
  • Active Relays (that can trigger third party systems)
  • Large LCD Display
  • UL Listed
  • Meets State Fire Codes for Compliance
  • Ease of Use and Installation
  • Durability
  • and more

When it comes to providing individuals with the right features to protect and safeguard employees, staff, and establishments - the Remote CO2 Storage Safety 3 Alarm is an ideal choice.

This device provides users audible and visual alarms notifying personnel that a hazard is occurring. It also can activate relays and trigger third party systems like ventilation, fire panels, or building management/security systems should CO2 levels reach a higher than normal threshold. The device also meats code compliance and workplace exposure limits.

Many food and beverage franchises, restaurants, bars, breweries, and indoor agriculture farms report its ease of use, a 30 minute installation process and price point ($695). 

This device also includes international power adapters.

How often should I calibrate my CO2 monitor?

The frequency of calibration depends on the type and model of the CO2 monitor, as well as the manufacturer's recommendations. Some monitors may require calibration once a year, while others may need calibration every six months or even more frequently. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and replace the sensors or recalibrate the device as needed to ensure accurate readings.

What should I do if I suspect a CO2 leak?

If you suspect a CO2 leak, leave the area immediately and alert others to do the same. Call emergency services and report the leak. Do not attempt to stop the leak or investigate the source of the leak yourself.

As a reminder, precautions should always be followed when working near any compressed gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the workplace. Because hazards of CO2 can occur quickly, your establishment should always know what to do should a potential leak occur and have the proper co2 monitors in place to prevent injury in the workplace.

For more information on carbon dioxide monitoring, give us a call or contact us.

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