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In our ever-changing world, air pollution has emerged as a critical concern that requires immediate attention. This issue has profound implications, affecting not just the environment, contributing to climate shifts and global warming, but also posing serious health risks. Residing in areas with poor air quality, individuals are inadvertently exposed to pollutants and chemicals. These harmful substances can lead to health complications such as asthma and allergies.
It’s not only outdoor air quality that influences our health and well-being; indoor air plays an equally significant role. Recent statistics suggest that people now spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, a trend that has heightened the importance of indoor air quality.
Despite this, the quality of air within homes and other indoor spaces often gets overlooked. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, substandard indoor air quality is linked to over 6.5 million premature deaths globally each year. It’s essential, therefore, to understand and address this critical issue.
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What is Indoor Air Quality Monitoring?
In simple words, indoor air quality monitoring refers to the process of measuring the quality of air indoors, such as in homes, offices, buildings, schools, etc. The data collected is then analysed to identify various pollutants and parameters that impact air quality, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon Dioxide(CO2), Carbon Monoxide(CO), Temperature and Humidity, Radon, etc.
Among these pollutants, Particulate Matter (PM) is the most harmful pollutant, originating from the combustion of vehicles, power plants, and solid fuels in heating practices like smoke. Others are emissions from mining, construction, dust from harvesting, livestock farming, and indoor activities like cooking and certain household products.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) occur both indoors and outdoors. They come from various sources like building materials, furniture, carpets, and cleaning products. You sometimes can smell its presence in the air.
Temperature and humidity: to keep you healthy in the indoor environment, these parameters should be monitored because excessive moisture can cause mould.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is released by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, coal, and wood. CO can cause impaired vision and fatigue or even be fatal if it presents in high concentrations.
While the impacts mentioned earlier are frequently discussed as they affect our environment every day, it’s important to understand that they can have both immediate and lasting effects on our health. But how can we gauge these impacts if we aren’t aware of the air quality within our own homes?
Now, let’s take a look at the effects of low indoor air quality.
Effects of poor indoor air quality
Staying indoors might seem like a shield against the smoke, dust, and other airborne pollutants outside, but this assumption shouldn’t be taken lightly. How can you be certain that your home’s air quality is up to par?
Exposure to poor indoor air quality may present a range of symptoms: it can cause irritation in your eyes, nose, and throat, trigger headaches, and even result in fatigue or lethargy. Moreover, substandard indoor air quality can intensify respiratory symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath, provoke allergic reactions, and exacerbate asthma. So, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of maintaining good air quality inside your home.
Prolonged exposure to indoor pollutants can cause chronic and acute respiratory conditions, cardiovascular diseases, or even cancer. For instance, lung cancer is known to be brought on by prolonged exposure to radon gas, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into structures from the ground. Another long-term effect of poor indoor air quality is neurological effects.
Repeated exposure to some substances like VOCs and airborne chemicals may cause cognitive impairments, memory function reduction, and difficulty concentrating. That is why schools and universities are now adopting indoor quality monitoring solutions by implementing high-sensing pods inside and outside campuses, track dashboards, and using view maps to understand more about the quality of air in their ambiance.
How to Monitor Indoor Air Quality
To improve the quality of indoor air, you need to reduce or get rid of air pollutants. Below are ways to enhance the air quality in your home.
Increase Ventilation: Ensure the exchange of indoor and outdoor air through some simple activities. For example, you can open doors and windows to let the air circulate naturally.
Use air purifiers: Use air purifiers to eliminate airborne particles, allergens, and pollutants indoors. This helps to improve indoor air quality, minimise pollutant sources, and maintain cleanliness.
Regular cleaning: To prevent dust, allergies, and pollution, keep your home clean. Use a vacuum cleaner frequently to clean. To reduce particle dispersal, use a moist cloth to dust surfaces rather than a dry one.
Measure Air Quality Monitoring by Equipment
There are options that fit your needs when implementing indoor air quality monitoring equipment.
Fixed air quality monitoring devices: Install fixed or stationary indoor air quality monitoring devices in specific locations. These devices include sensors to measure various IAQ parameters.
Portable air quality monitoring devices: These are handheld devices that help provide real-time measurements of IAQ pollutants. Some factors measured are particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, humidity, gases like carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3).
Collect data from IAQ monitors: Connect sensors to hardware devices or integrate with software-based solutions, which run on computers or servers. After measuring different IAQ parameters, these devices store data in the form of local memory, databases, or cloud-based platforms.
Data analysis for informed decisions: The collected data then goes through quality assurance and validation procedures. It is analysed and presented in real-time dashboards with user-friendly formats, like charts, graphs, and so on. Therefore, users can access a website or mobile application to view an intuitive visual representation of the data, leading to easily interpreting the information and making informed decisions.
Challenges for Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Adoption
You think that monitoring indoor air quality is complex because you are not an expert in this field. You might be right. Moreover, there are many challenges that can affect the implementation. Below are some of these challenges:
High-cost IAQ systems: Many indoor air quality monitoring equipment can be costly, especially for large buildings, because it requires several monitoring spots. Moreover, you may need the investment, constant maintenance, even calibration cost, and so on.
Complexity: Another barrier to your adoption is the complexity. You may need technical expertise in sensors, data collection, analysis, and visualisation. Furthermore, integration of indoor air quality monitoring devices with building systems can be complicated to ensure seamless communication between monitor systems and building components.
Sensor accuracy and reliability: Some sensors may not provide accurate measurements or have limited sensing capabilities, leading to inaccurate data interpretation. Additionally, effectively interpreting and understanding data is another challenge. Without proper data analysis and understanding, organisations may struggle to identify meaningful trends, correlations, and actionable insights to improve IAQ.
Improve Indoor Air Quality with Innovative Persium’s Solutions
Some challenges mentioned may hinder you from implementing IAQ monitors. Don’t worry because you are in the right place. Indoor Persium Pods are here to help.
Persium Maxi, which is the largest and most comprehensive indoor air quality monitoring device, designed for academic research on indoor air quality.
Persium Mini, as its name ‘Mini’ suggests, it is a more affordable variant of the “Maxi”, suitable for monitoring real-time air quality in homes and offices.
Persium Pocket, which is the smallest and most portable sensor, designed for on-the-go monitoring of air quality.
Based on your needs and the place you live or work, you can choose the suitable one. Its high-sensing capabilities can detect PM10, PM2.5, PM1, CO2, VOCs, temperature, relative humidity, pressure, and other pollutants, which help sweep away your anxiety about whether the measurement is accurate or not. And what’s next?
You can view customisable metrics such as dominant pollutants and air quality results for selected sensors in the one-stop Persium dashboard. Not just that, Persium’s built-in Mapview allows you to choose your air quality stations, like at home, office, or school to get updated on the information of air quality. Then you turn on air quality notifications to keep you posted when there are any changes in air quality level.
Interested in our innovative and low-cost solutions for eliminating poor air quality in your place? Talk to us now.