Self-Isolation and NDIR Gas Sensors: A New Way to Monitor Indoor Air Quality
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people are required to self-isolate at home if they have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has. Self-isolation means staying at home and avoiding contact with others for a certain period of time, usually 7 to 10 days. While self-isolation is an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus, it can also pose some challenges for maintaining good indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality refers to the condition of the air inside a building, such as a home, office, or school. Poor indoor air quality can have negative effects on health, comfort, and productivity. Some of the factors that affect indoor air quality include temperature, humidity, ventilation, and the presence of pollutants such as dust, mold, allergens, and gases.
One of the gases that can affect indoor air quality is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a natural component of the air we breathe, but it can also accumulate indoors due to human activities such as breathing, cooking, and burning fuels. High levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, and reduced cognitive performance. CO2 can also indicate the presence of other pollutants that are emitted from the same sources or that are influenced by the same ventilation conditions.
Therefore, monitoring CO2 levels can help assess and improve indoor air quality. One of the most common and reliable methods to measure CO2 is non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) spectroscopy. NDIR is a type of sensor that uses infrared light to detect the concentration of a target gas based on its characteristic absorption wavelength. NDIR sensors are widely used for CO2 sensing because they are accurate, stable, low-cost, and easy to use.
An NDIR CO2 sensor consists of an infrared light source, a sample chamber, a wavelength filter, and an infrared detector. The light source emits a broad spectrum of infrared light that passes through the sample chamber where it interacts with the gas molecules. The wavelength filter allows only the specific wavelength of light that is absorbed by CO2 to reach the detector. The detector measures the intensity of the light and converts it into an electrical signal that corresponds to the CO2 concentration.
NDIR CO2 sensors can be integrated into various devices and systems that can monitor and control indoor air quality. For example, they can be used in handheld meters, wall-mounted monitors, smart thermostats, ventilation systems, and smart home devices. By using NDIR CO2 sensors, people who are self-isolating can check their indoor CO2 levels and take appropriate actions to improve their indoor air quality. Some of these actions include opening windows for ventilation, using fans or air purifiers, adjusting temperature and humidity settings, and reducing indoor sources of CO2.
Self-isolation is a necessary measure to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. However, it does not have to compromise our indoor air quality. By using NDIR CO2 sensors, we can monitor and improve our indoor environment and make our self-isolation more comfortable and healthy.