Jan 27, 2023 at 9:25 PM
With the cold outside and the high energy prices, it is tempting not to ventilate your home. A CO2 meter can help you determine when you really need to open your vents or windows for better air quality. But how effective is such a meter?
The supply of clean air ensures a healthy indoor climate. There are many CO2 meters – not to be confused with the CO alarm for carbon monoxide – on the market that you can use to see if you need to ventilate. “To measure is to know”, says Remi Hompe, chairman of consumer platform Gezond Binnen. “Air is your first nourishment, and we spend so much of our time indoors.”
He himself has a portable CO2 meter, which he usually keeps in his bedroom. “When I close everything in my bedroom, I see that the CO2 meter is at 2000 ppm (parts per million, ed.) in the morning. That is a really high value. I notice that I wake up tired. That is why I ventilate as standard and try to aim for 1200 ppm, which is the value that the Building Decree assumes.”
CO2 itself is not bad quickly
Is the CO2 content indeed important for good air quality? And is too much CO2 in the air dangerous? Rob van Strien, expert indoor environment at the GGD, qualifies: “If not many people are present in a room, a CO2 meter is not very useful, because then the content remains almost the same. But that does not mean that you should not vent.”
Measuring is knowing. Air is your first nourishment, and we spend so much of our time indoors.
Remi Hompe, consumer platform Healthy Indoors
Because you don’t have to ventilate because of the CO2, he says. “CO2 itself is not quickly bad, it is an indication that the air in the room needs to be refreshed – and that has to be because there are all kinds of substances floating around in the house that you would rather blow out.”
Then Van Strien is talking about fabrics from furniture, floor coverings, building materials. “And combustion gases from candles and – very important – from cooking. Ventilation is also necessary to prevent humidity and mold formation.”
In a bedroom you do indeed have to ventilate as standard, “but 2000 ppm is not dangerous. You could only get complaints from 5000 ppm and higher.”
Portable, with or without an app?
Van Strien therefore considers a CO2 meter to be of limited use. “If you have any doubts about ventilation, you can hang such a device. Then it turns red at 2000 ppm, for example, and then you know that you need to ventilate. Can be useful, but after a few times you also know that ventilation is you just have to. You can do that right away instead of buying a device.”
You prefer to let combustion gases from candles and cooking blow out of your house. Ventilation is also necessary to prevent mold formation.
Rob van Strien, indoor environment expert GGD
What should you pay attention to if you still want to buy one? Hompe: “You don’t have to buy a very exotic device with an app or something like that. You could immediately opt for more parameters, such as particulate matter content and humidity. If you really want to collect data, you have to pay attention to whether the company what’s behind it handles it safely.”
What you can also do to check the device is to place it near the open window after purchase. “If the CO2 value does not drop sharply towards 450 ppm, I would send it back immediately.” Hompe also recommends a portable device, so that you can measure in different rooms.
Mechanical ventilation not always easy
Many (newly built) houses also have energy-efficient mechanical or even demand-driven ventilation. “These well-insulated houses are more sustainable, but ventilation is a point of attention,” says Hompe. “In itself it is ideal if it contains good (soot) filters and if it has a CO2 meter, so that the ventilation can be louder or softer. But you have to know what kind of ventilation system you have in your house and how you can You can also have a complete mechanical system maintained by an installer.”
Sometimes you feel a draft with these devices, and then people pull the plug. Or they put blankets in an exhaust vent. That’s not a good idea.
Rob van Strien, indoor environment expert GGD
Van Strien agrees. “Sometimes you feel a draft with these devices, and then people pull the plug. Or they put blankets in an extraction opening. That’s not a good idea. It can also make noise, especially if the CO2 sensor in the bedroom makes the ventilation louder In my street, several people have turned off the system.”
A bad development, he thinks. “It is then better to go for a slightly more expensive and better system. Housing associations should do the same. The device should be set to the middle position as standard, often position 2. When you are away on position 1. When cooking and showering, position 3, or the highest position. Ventilation is always necessary, and that is not a nice message in terms of energy bill, but that’s how it is.”
Beeld: Getty Images