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CO2 and humidity as a cause of health problems

CO2 and humidity as a cause of health problems
Posted on 25-9-2020 by Nienke Vinkenvleugel

Research shows that incorrect CO2 and air humidity levels are often the cause of health complaints at home, in schools, offices and other spaces. Commonly mentioned are fatigue, headaches, and dry or irritated eyes. Lack of (good) ventilation is the biggest and often the only culprit.

For a healthy indoor climate, with good air quality, it is important to measure the CO2 content with a CO2 monitor that is easy to read and understand. By using colour coding (traffic light) the different air quality levels can be clearly shown. Further knowledge of CO2 is not necessary here, because these coloured lights indicate the state of the air quality and whether (more) ventilation is necessary. The meters below express CO2 levels in parts per million (ppm), relative humidity in percentage (%) and temperature in degrees Celsius.

Determination of CO2 concentration

Research that is the first eligible to be carried out by the public health service is the CO2 measurement. The CO2 concentration is a good indicator of other pollutants spread by humans and a good indicator for ventilation in rooms where there are people present.
In order to get a good impression of the situation, a duration measurement is necessary. If the concentration is too high, a measurement of 5 days already makes a lot clear. On this basis, further measures can be taken.

Guidelines for CO2 in indoor areas

In line with the guidelines as formulated by various major bodies, the following CO2 monitors use the following colour coding to display the CO2 level:

  • Green: 400 to 800 ppm is good (±400 is the outdoor air level).
  • Orange: 800 to 1200 is medium.
  • Red: 1200+ is bad (1200 is really the limit for indoor air, ventilation is necessary).

The building regulations assume a certain degree of air renewal where natural ventilation can also be included (opening windows and doors). This natural ventilation can cause problems in the winter. For this reason we prefer to look at the stricter rules of the public health service. These are based on the continuous monitoring of the changing air quality instead of a one-off assessment of architectural aspects.

Guidelines for indoor air humidity

On the basis of scientific research, we use the following guidelines for air humidity:

  • Between 40% and 60%: perfect.
  • Below 40%: too low, the air is too dry. This quickly results in dry eyes, especially for lens wearers.
  • Above 60%: too high, the air is too humid. This is bad for the lungs and causes moulds in the room.

What to do when values are too high?

"The CO2 percentage is a good measure for pollution or insufficient ventilation of the internal air climate and can easily be measured with intelligent sensors", is mentioned in ICT&Health, 27 July 2020. Is the CO2 value around 1200 or higher? Then it is high time to ventilate more. This can be done by opening windows and doors but, as mentioned earlier, this can quickly cause problems in the winter. Often a mechanical solution is better suited, such as a mechanical fan or an MVHR system.

Would you like extra tips or more information? Please contact our customer service and we will be happy to help you further.

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