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Everything you need to know about CO2 sensors and buying a CO2 meter

08/12/2021

Ventilation is important: we all agree on that. But how do you know that the air quality in your school or business is good? CO2 meters can provide the answer. Do you know exactly what CO2 meters do and how to use them? Here we answer some frequently asked questions.

Why is it important to measure CO2 indoors and how can a CO2 meter help prevent COVID-19?

People breathe in O2 (oxygen) and breathe out CO2 (carbon dioxide). When a window is open or when there is an air circulation system, a lot of fresh air comes in and CO2 values are therefore low. However, when doors and windows remain closed and there is no other ventilation, the CO2 concentration can rise rapidly.

Measuring and monitoring CO2 levels is an important step in the fight against COVID-19. We now know that most infections occur through close contact in closed spaces. COVID-19 can be spread in microdroplets that can remain airborne for several hours. When a room is well ventilated, these microdroplets do not remain airborne as long, as they are exhausted to the outside.

But how do you know how much fresh air is coming in, and what is 'well ventilated'? Buying a CO2 meter provides you with the necessary data. A CO2 meter does not directly indicate the risk of infection, but the CO2 values can be used as an indication of the air quality. The better the air quality, the smaller the chance of infection. The worse the air quality, the greater the chance that an infection will spread through the space.

How does a CO2 meter work and what do the values displayed on a CO2 meter mean?

As the name suggests, CO2 meters measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by means of sensors. CO2 meters display a number that refers to the CO2 concentration in PPM (parts per million). The following applies as a general rule:

- 600-800: a good indoor climate, ventilation is not necessary
- 800-1000: the values are acceptable, ventilation is recommended
- 1000: CO2 concentration is too high, ventilate by opening windows/doors or switching on the air circulation system

Usually, a pictogram or other indication will also be displayed, indicating whether or not the limit value has been exceeded. This avoids you having to find out what the normal values for CO2 concentration are. Some CO2 sensors also display a message when the amount of CO2 in the air is too high.

How to recognize that a CO2 meter is of good quality?

Of course, it is important that you can rely on the CO2 meter's displayed values being accurate. For CO2 meters in Belgium it is recommended to choose an accurate NDIR sensor (non-dispersive infrared sensor). You should also consider the sensor's lifespan: it is best to choose a model that will last at least several years.

Where do you hang the CO2 meter?

CO2 sensors without a screen are best hung on the wall at a height of at least 50 cm. CO2 sensors with a screen are best hung at eye level, as the screen is then easy to read. However, it is important that people do not breathe directly on the CO2 meter, as this would make the readings unreliable. Do not hang the CO2 meter next to a door or window either, as the values will not be a good indication of the air quality.

Now this is it.
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