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CO2: carbon dioxide FAQs

All about CO2 and indoor air quality!

Updated over a week ago

What is CO2?

Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is natural and harmless in small quantities, but as levels rise it can affect productivity and sleep. Most commonly produced indoors by the air we exhale, CO2 levels concentrate indoors with less ventilation.

Where does CO2 come from?

Indoor carbon dioxide concentrations are driven by a combination of outdoor CO2, indoor breathing, and the ventilation rate of the building. As buildings and homes become more energy-efficient and airtight, this means we have less fresh air.

Many of the ventilation systems we use today recycle air to conserve energy, essentially moving the contaminated air around rather than cycling in new air. This results in high CO2 concentrations and poor indoor air quality.

Why is it important to measure CO2?

High levels of CO2 are directly correlated to low productivity and high sick leave making this a crucial concern in offices, schools, and home environments.

Studies show that people have a much harder time learning, performing simple and complex tasks, and making decisions, as CO2 levels rise.

What are the effects of high CO2 levels?

Some of the effects of high levels of CO2 levels can be:

  • Restlessness

  • Drowsiness

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Sweating

  • Headaches

How do I lower my CO2 levels?

CO2 levels rise and fall regularly indoors. There are many factors that affect CO2 levels including ventilation, amount of people, and length of time in an enclosed space. Try simply opening a window or a door to the room you are in to generate more airflow to lower CO2 levels.

Fresh air will help you get a better night's sleep. Keep your bedroom door open or try opening or cracking a window while you sleep to avoid the "stale" air feeling in your room which is related to increased levels of CO2.

What levels of CO2 are considered safe?

On average the outdoor air contains about 450 ppm (parts per million) of CO2. This can vary depending on where you live, larger cities may have increased base levels of CO2.

The ideal CO2 levels indoors are under 1000ppm.

Indoor CO2 levels ideally shouldn't rise above 1500 ppm. However, if they do, you should take the necessary steps to ventilate with fresh air by opening a window or opening a door.

CO2 levels above 2000 ppm should be avoided, with longer exposure, headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate, and slight nausea are possible.

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