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Portable Carbon Dioxide Monitors could be used to help fight coronavirus transmission, experts say

Kate Cole has a secret weapon in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. It’s a meter that measures CO2 and tells her how fresh the air is that she’s breathing.

Key points:

Experts say we need more than high vaccination levels before we can return to normal social life

Making sure spaces are well-ventilated is key to stopping virus spread

Read the full article here.....

CO2 meters can help show which areas need better ventilation

As an occupational hygienist, Ms Cole has long used CO2 monitors to assess the health of workplaces, but right now she’s also relying on the technology to reduce her personal risk of catching COVID-19.

“I have one in my handbag. I take it with me to the supermarket. I take it with me when I have to leave my home to go to places,” she says.

Ms Cole is a member of a new expert group called OzSAGE, which wants places like schools and businesses to be required to show they have well-ventilated buildings for when people return after lockdown.

Kate uses her monitor to measure the amount of CO2 in the air when out and about.(Supplied: Kate Cole)
“Even if you’re physically distancing and washing hands, COVID transmits in the air, so we need to make sure we have good indoor air quality,” says Ms Cole, who is also president-elect of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.

“In addition to vaccination, it’s what’s going to get us back to hopefully some form of normal that we so desperately want.”

Coronavirus spreads through the air

People infected with coronavirus can spread it around a room in tiny airborne droplets called “aerosols” when they breathe out, speak, shout or sing.

These aerosols build up indoors, especially when a place is crowded or there is poor ventilation, and the longer you are surrounded by them, the more chance you have of breathing them in.

Unfortunately, the aerosols are so small you can’t see them, which is where the CO2 meters come in.

Experts say when it comes to COVID-19, beware the air you share.

In addition to aerosols, we also breathe out CO2 — a byproduct of respiration — which builds up in the air unless a space is ventilated.

And this CO2 is easier to measure than the aerosols or virus particles themselves.

So the level of CO2 in a space can be used as proxy for the possible risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Experts like Ms Cole say if a CO2 monitor shows there is not less than 800 parts per million (ppm), then it’s not a good idea to hang about in that space.

Monitoring CO2 in schools

OzSAGE spokesperson Lidia Morawska, an air quality expert based at the Queensland University of Technology, says making sure air in schools is safe needs to be the “highest priority” as kids head back to school.

Professor Morawska would like to see an online database where CO2 levels in individual classrooms could be recorded and monitored to find out if ventilation is adequate.

“At this point we have no idea what the situation is.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week indicated experts were considering ventilation in the state’s schools.

CO2 meters are currently used in schools in countries including Ireland and Germany, often with a clearly visible display of the reading.

And the government last week announced CO2 monitoring, ventilation and air filtering would form part of their plan for a safe return to schools.

How do CO2 meters work?

Professor Morawska says the best CO2 meters are those that use technology called Non-Dispersive Infra-Red (NDIR) detectors. These measure the absorption of infrared light by CO2.

There are air monitoring experts like Jeffrey Siegel, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, who says you need to be careful using CO2 monitors.

He says they need to be calibrated properly and factors like water vapour in the air can give false measurements.

A CO2 monitor displaying a low reading in a theatre

This theatre in Brussels has monitors displaying the level of CO2 as part of precautions for holding a COVID-proof event.

Professor Siegel also argues it’s important to measure CO2 levels over time, and to understand that different parts of the room will give different measurements.

“CO2 monitoring is fine if it’s done well,” he says.

Otherwise, he says money is better spent on improving ventilation and air filtration.

Professor Siegel cites research by the US Centers for Disease Control that shows, in the absence of vaccination, improving ventilation can reduce COVID-19 incidence by 39 per cent in schools.

And he says there is very good evidence that improved ventilation helps students perform better, and reduces other problems like asthma.

“It’s an economic no-brainer to invest [in better air quality] in schools.”

‘Cheap and cheerful’ meters work fine

Other indoor air experts support the widespread use of cheap and easily accessible CO2 monitors.

Geoff Hanmer, who is on the ventilation workgroup of OzSAGE, argues while some NDIR meters work better than others, most generally do the job that’s required.

“You don’t need a lot of precision here,” says Professor Hanmer, who is associated with the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Adelaide.

He says it’s important to make sure the meter is working correctly by checking that it’s measuring outdoor levels at around 400 or 415 ppm, which is the background level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

“We’ve tested several cheap and cheerful monitors and they appear to work quite satisfactorily,” he says.

A CO2 sensor held in front of an air purifier

This sensor used in a German school glows different colours depending on the level of CO2.(Getty Images: Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance)
Ms Cole agrees: “It’s not going to be exact science.

“We don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on high-grade CO2 monitors.

“The ones that are a couple of hundred dollars are adequate for what we need.”

An unpublished study of devices by Spanish researchers has also found NDIR-based sensors work very well, but warned against cheaper devices that used several sensors to measure different air pollutants.

While bureaucracy can often lag behind the latest science, there are some members of the public pushing ahead by collecting and publicising CO2 levels.

These include a US software engineer who is developing a “COVID CO2 tracking app”, and Australian GP David Berger, who campaigns on clean air and COVID-19 and set up the Twitter-based CO2 Guerrillas.

“I started CO2 Guerrillas initially with the idea of being able to recruit people with CO2 monitors to monitor CO2 in public and private spaces and post the results,” he says.

“Basically it was citizen science to share CO2 readings to identify areas of bad air.”

Dr Berger says he’s measured CO2 levels in schools up to 3,500 ppm, which he argues can also make it hard for kids to concentrate.

“The reason kids fall asleep in class and muck about is at least in significant part due to the fact that they are anaesthetised by higher CO2 levels.”

And he says he has measured 2,000 ppm in some hospital rooms.

“We are in an analogous situation to cholera … people got cholera because they were sharing bad water and we’re getting COVID because we are sharing bad air,” Dr Berger says.

“I want to flood the country with CO2 monitors so people can see the shitty air they’re breathing and do something about it.”

Improving ventilation could have more spin-offs than we think, according to experts.

Run your own CO2 experiment

With the device he uses (and now sells), Dr Berger is able to connect via bluetooth to his phone and get a “trace” of how CO2 levels change over time.

“I was at a comedy night [and the meter read] 3,500 after 30 minutes.”

These “traces” can tell us what interventions make a difference, Dr Berger says.

For example, in an experiment involving him and his son, he saw what happened when he switched the aircon from fresh to recirculate.

“In 30 minutes we got to 5,000.”

And once recirculate was turned off, levels were down to 800 within a minute and at ambient CO2 within two minutes, he says.

Professor Morawska welcomes the idea of citizen scientists monitoring CO2 levels.

“If people demonstrate a problem then whoever is responsible — say a restaurant owner — will see there is a problem and be held accountable.”

But government has a role to play too, she says.

“The government must at the same time give a clear message that airborne transmission of COVID is a problem and ventilation is important, and everyone needs to ventilate places they’re responsible for.”

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    How do CO2 Monitors contribute to sustainable building practices?

    CO2 monitors support green building certifications by promoting energy-efficient ventilation strategies and indoor air quality.

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    Why are CO2 Monitors important for greenhouse environments?

    CO2 monitors regulate carbon dioxide levels for optimal plant growth in greenhouses, supporting agricultural productivity.

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    How do CO2 Monitors assist in monitoring air quality during events?

    CO2 monitors measure indoor air freshness during events, ensuring comfortable and safe environments for attendees.

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    Can a CO2 Monitor help in controlling indoor humidity levels?

    Yes, CO2 monitors aid in humidity management by optimizing ventilation systems based on carbon dioxide levels.

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    Can a CO2 Monitor be used for monitoring air quality in gyms and fitness centers?

    Can a CO2 Monitor be used for monitoring air quality in gyms and fitness centers?

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    Are CO2 Monitors suitable for monitoring air quality in public libraries?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors monitor indoor air purity to maintain optimal conditions for preserving delicate artworks and artifacts.

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    How do CO2 Monitors aid in reducing indoor odors in commercial spaces?

    CO2 monitors optimize ventilation systems to minimize odors and maintain fresh indoor air quality in commercial buildings.

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    How accurate are CO2 Monitors in detecting changes in indoor air quality?

    CO2 monitors provide real-time data on carbon dioxide levels, enabling proactive measures for indoor air quality improvement.

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    How does a CO2 Monitor help in indoor environments?

    A CO2 monitor detects carbon dioxide concentrations, alerting occupants to potential indoor air quality issues for improved respiratory health.

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    Can a Carbon Dioxide Detector be used for temporary indoor events?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors monitor temporary indoor air quality, ensuring safe and comfortable environments for event attendees.

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    How do Carbon Dioxide Detectors assist in maintaining cleanroom standards?

    Carbon dioxide detectors monitor air purity levels in cleanrooms, ensuring compliance with strict cleanliness standards.

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    Can a CO2 Monitor be used in manufacturing facilities for air quality control?

    Yes, CO2 monitors monitor indoor air contaminants in manufacturing plants, ensuring safe working environments.

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    How accurate are Carbon Dioxide Detectors in measuring CO2 levels?

    Carbon dioxide detectors provide precise readings of carbon dioxide concentrations, crucial for indoor air quality management.

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    Can a CO2 Monitor be used in homes for better indoor air quality?

    Yes, CO2 monitors ensure optimal air ventilation and quality in residential spaces, enhancing comfort and health.

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    Are Carbon Dioxide Detectors effective for monitoring air quality in public transportation?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors assess in-vehicle air quality, ensuring passenger comfort and health during transit.

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    Can a CO2 Monitor be used for air quality assessments in residential basements?

    Yes, CO2 monitors assess basement air quality, ensuring adequate ventilation and moisture control for healthy indoor environments.

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    Do Carbon Dioxide Detectors help in reducing energy costs in buildings?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors optimize ventilation systems, reducing energy consumption while maintaining indoor air quality.

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    Do Carbon Dioxide Detectors help in preventing indoor mold growth?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors monitor indoor humidity levels, preventing conditions favorable for mold and mildew formation.

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    Why choose a Carbon Dioxide Detector for office buildings?

    A carbon dioxide detector monitors CO2 levels in offices, promoting productivity and well-being by ensuring fresh indoor air.

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    Are Carbon Dioxide Monitors essential for schools?

    Yes, carbon dioxide monitors maintain healthy indoor air in classrooms by monitoring CO2 levels and ventilation effectiveness.

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    What are the benefits of using a Carbon Dioxide Monitor?

    A carbon dioxide monitor tracks CO2 levels in indoor spaces, ensuring optimal ventilation and air quality for health and comfort.

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    Are CO2 Monitors suitable for monitoring air quality in data centers?

    Yes, CO2 monitors assess indoor air conditions in data centers, ensuring optimal operating conditions for sensitive equipment.

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    Do Carbon Dioxide Detectors help in reducing carbon footprint in buildings?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors optimize ventilation efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions and promoting sustainable practices.

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    Why are Carbon Dioxide Detectors crucial for public spaces?

    Carbon dioxide detectors ensure fresh indoor air in public venues, supporting health and well-being for visitors and occupants.

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    What pollutants can a CO2 Monitor detect besides carbon dioxide?

    A CO2 monitor detects indoor air contaminants and pollutants, ensuring comprehensive air quality monitoring.

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    Are CO2 Monitors effective for monitoring air quality in restaurants?

    Yes, CO2 monitors assess indoor air freshness in dining areas, ensuring comfortable environments for patrons and staff.

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    Why should hotels invest in Carbon Dioxide Detectors?

    Carbon dioxide detectors ensure guest comfort and safety by monitoring indoor air quality in hotel rooms and public areas.

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    Are Carbon Dioxide Detectors suitable for monitoring air quality in healthcare facilities?

    Yes, carbon dioxide detectors monitor CO2 levels in hospitals, clinics, and labs, promoting sterile and healthy environments.

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    How do Carbon Dioxide Detectors contribute to workplace safety?

    Carbon dioxide detectors monitor CO2 levels in workplaces, promoting safe indoor environments and minimizing health risks.

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    Why should educational institutions install Carbon Dioxide Detectors?

    Carbon dioxide detectors promote student health and concentration by ensuring proper ventilation and air quality in classrooms.

Ensure Safety with a Carbon Dioxide Monitor

Maintaining good indoor air quality is crucial for health and safety, and monitoring carbon dioxide levels is an essential part of this process. A carbon dioxide monitor helps you keep track of CO2 levels in your home or workplace, ensuring a safe and comfortable environment. Whether you’re looking for a CO2 monitor or a carbon dioxide detector, our air quality company offers top-notch solutions to meet your needs.

The Importance of Monitoring Carbon Dioxide Levels

Understanding the importance of monitoring carbon dioxide levels can help you maintain a healthier indoor environment:

  • Health Impacts: High levels of CO2 can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health issues. A CO2 monitor alerts you to unsafe levels, allowing you to take action.
  • Improved Air Quality: Regular monitoring helps maintain optimal air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory problems.
  • Enhanced Comfort: Keeping CO2 levels in check ensures a more comfortable and productive living or working space.

Benefits of Using a CO2 Monitor

Using a CO2 monitor provides several significant benefits:

  • Real-Time Data: Monitors provide real-time data on CO2 levels, allowing for immediate action when levels become unsafe.
  • Early Detection: A carbon dioxide detector helps identify potential problems early, preventing long-term health issues and structural damage.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your indoor air quality is being monitored provides peace of mind for you and your family.

Choosing the Right Carbon Dioxide Detector

Selecting the best carbon dioxide detector involves considering several key factors:

  • Accuracy: Choose a monitor that provides accurate and reliable readings of CO2 levels.
  • Ease of Use: Look for detectors that are easy to install and operate, with clear displays and simple controls.
  • Features: Consider additional features such as alarms, data logging, and connectivity options for enhanced functionality.

How a CO2 Monitor Works

Understanding how a CO2 monitor works can help you make the most of this essential device:

  • Sensor Technology: Most CO2 monitors use infrared sensors to detect and measure carbon dioxide levels in the air.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: These sensors provide continuous, real-time data on CO2 concentrations, displayed on the monitor.
  • Alerts and Notifications: When CO2 levels exceed safe limits, the monitor alerts you with visual and/or audible alarms.

Applications of Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Carbon dioxide detectors are versatile devices used in various settings:

  • Home: Ensure your living spaces remain safe and comfortable by monitoring CO2 levels in bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens.
  • Workplace: Maintain a healthy work environment by installing CO2 monitors in offices, conference rooms, and common areas.
  • Schools: Monitor air quality in classrooms and auditoriums to ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Use CO2 detectors in hospitals and clinics to protect patients and healthcare providers from elevated CO2 levels.

Why Choose Our Air Quality Company?

Our air quality company provides the best CO2 monitors and carbon dioxide detectors for your needs:

  • High-Quality Products: We offer reliable and accurate CO2 monitors that ensure the highest standards of air quality.
  • Comprehensive Support: Our team provides expert advice and support to help you choose the right monitor for your specific requirements.
  • Advanced Technology: We utilize the latest sensor technology to provide precise and dependable readings of CO2 levels.
  • Customer Satisfaction: We prioritize customer satisfaction, ensuring you receive the best products and services.

Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Using a carbon dioxide monitor is part of a broader strategy to improve indoor air quality:

  1. Install CO2 Monitors: Place monitors in key areas of your home or workplace to continuously track CO2 levels.
  2. Ventilate Regularly: Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and using exhaust fans to reduce CO2 buildup.
  3. Maintain HVAC Systems: Regularly service and maintain HVAC systems to ensure efficient air circulation and filtration.
  4. Monitor and Respond: Regularly check CO2 levels and respond promptly to alarms or high readings to maintain safe air quality.

Conclusion

A carbon dioxide monitor is an essential tool for maintaining good indoor air quality and ensuring the safety of your home or workplace. Whether you need a CO2 monitor or a carbon dioxide detector, our air quality company offers high-quality solutions to meet your needs. Explore our range of monitors today and take the first step towards a healthier, safer environment.