Would you trust an indoor air quality tech site ?

ArmiteMini iaq
Airmite Mini
indoor air monitor from EM-monitors

Tech sites which refer to indoor air quality (iaq), draw us into is an emotional argument. These reports tell us of  dangerous pollutants that surround us. Which can cause us serious harm. This  is why we need the ….”Z box”

The “Z box ” will measure 8 zillion components all to within the accuracy of a nats breath.

Which is real terms means ……absolutely nothing

No one ever brings up a WHO standard. Or even mentions calibration, testing or accuracy.

Recently i came up across a client who had purchased a HEPA ( High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) combined with a charcoal filter in order to provide workers in the office space with confidence that the air was clean and filtered.

There are a number of issues with this. Whilst some HEPA filters are good many operate on the edge of being useful to achieve this level of particle size removal. Typically a HEPA system operates at 0.3micron , a corona virus size is of the order of 0.1micron (100nm). However when the virus associated with an aerosol the filter can provide some useful reduction of the aerosol with associated. Independent assessment of these systems in vital to their correct use

 

We would not buy children’s medicine from the chap in the market, who has no credentials, however its perfectly reasonable to make random internet purchases on goods which are supposed to be good for our health.

note references made are always about “style”, “size” “looks” and “features” but not a jot about how it is tested and whether it really works!

http://www.airquality-monitoring.co.uk

 

 

accurate indoor air quality

 

Indoor Air Quality Assesment

When monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ), it is important before we pick up any piece of monitoring equipment, that we have a method and protocol to tell us what we are monitoring, how and where we sample and with what equipment.

There are a number of good iaq guides which have devolved from ASHRAE, there are also indoor air quality specification with part F of the building regulations

We recommend as a basic monitoring scheme that the following would be need to be monitored,

Click here to go to our website

indoor air quality em-monitors
indoor air monitor

Item                        units                        range

  • Carbon Dioxide       ppm level                  0-5000
  • Carbon Monoxide   ppm level                  0-500
  • Relative Humidity    %                               0-95%
  • Temperature            Deg C                        0-50 Deg C

A good quality, professional grade monitor for this typically costs around £1800 to purchase or

Real time data logged using accredited devices

additional monitoring may be :

  • VOC’s- Total voc’s at ppb level
  • specific voc’s  – Formaldehyde

Particulate and fine particulate

real time dust monitor
Dust monitor
  • pm10
  • pm2.5
  • possibly ultrafine particulate (nano particulates)

depending on the type of room being monitored, it is also important to consider

  • Airflow – along the floor area, around the head area
  • microbio sampling for different bacteria  Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium

other considerations

  • light
  • decor
  • noise and vibration

Multiparameter monitor:

real time dust and NO2
Dust and NO2

PM10, 2.5. 1

Relative Humidity

Temperature

NO2 ppb

please click on the specification below

Airmite Mini Spec 2021

 

contact

info@em-monitors.co.uk

01539 727878

 

 

 

 

 

The Insanity Of “Tech Reviews” Regarding Home Air Monitoring Products

There was a time when reviews of products actually meant something . We are all too familiar with journals and magazines promoting products that their magazine had the manufacturer as their main advertiser or sponsor. A classic example of this is hifi magazines.

Not good , not fair, however at least people writing the article had a good knowledge of the product and a deep seated interest.

Where we used to apply BS kite marked standards  to products, now it is a free for all.

With regards to Air Quality Monitoring, new low cost sensors mean that the technology suddenly becomes affordable. Cheap is one thing but reporting accurately is another.

Normally when a product is built, it is designed to meet a standard. In this case an air quality or indoor air quality standard. However we don;t have an indoor air quality standard for homes or buildings. The BS ambient atmospheres is working towards a standard but it is slow  whilst chaos around them ensues. The nearest thing we have is a mixture of part F of the building regulations looking at NO2, CO and TVOC

And now here is the rub. So in all of the reviews – no one – yes – NO ONE performs any validation testing. Either against a reference standard test gas or a secondary standard monitor.

One chap reported that ” the temperature was 6 degrees out, but other than that it worked fine” !!!! A 8 year old school could good make a device with an accuracy to 0.1 degree. So the guy was happy measuring the device against something he though might be accurate. But was clueless in understanding if :

c;lean air monitring
Air quality
Airmite mini Dust plus 1 gas
compact remote dust & gas monitor

indoor air quality

b, what a correct reading would be anyway

 

For the record i am adding some guideline values here. This is difficult to source as many organisations and countries use different reporting criteris > ie 15mins , 1 hour , 8 hours etc

NO2 150ppb – 8 hour average

CO- 90ppm      15m average

CO 10ppm        8 hour average

TVOC  300ug/m3 8 hour average

O3    100ug/m3

CO2 – 400 -1400 8 hour average

occupation limits suggest 5000 ppm  as 8 hour average

one thing we can offer is to validate your monitor against a calibrated standard

contact info@em-monitors.co.uk

http://www.airquality- monitoring.co.uk

 

 

Air Tight Building Issues

em-monitors pid

https://airquality-monitoring.co.uk/Many years ago Environmental Monitoring were asked to review the air quality within a new building just of the north circular in London. We went in with a blank sheet. No pre-conceptions of the how the house was constructed.

The owner had purchased the house for several million pounds but felt that it was not possible to occupy the house because there was and i quote “no air” in the house.

As part of the local authority building requirements, the building had to be designed to not only be airtight but also to have an active filtration system.

We provided the client with a full suite of monitoring equipment for hire including

Indoor air quality monitoring for :

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Dioxide

Temperature

Relative Humidity

Ambient Pressure

TVOC ( total volatile organic monitoring)

Particulate  aerosol sampling

Microbio sampling

Airflow monitoring

We also provided an independent review of the premises .

What was discovered –

Carbon Dioxide CO2 readings were typically around the 1500-1800ppm range

Relative humidity was 68-69%

Air flow was negligible

Ambient temperature was in the range of 23-25 , without any heating operating

internal ambient pressure was greater then external ambient.

Upon closer investigation, when we reviewed the filtration and air distribution system. The manual from the manufacturer stated that the ducting should be smooth bore rigid tubing. However the electricians that fitted the system used corrugated, flexible tubing. Upon removal it was found to be loaded with mould. The perfect distribution system.

To summarise . In trying to solve one problem. That of heat loss and heat inefficiency, it appears other problems have been created. Mould appeared in rooms without any explanation.

There were many problems, exacerbated by a poorly installed and not understood air filtration/ distribution system

Giving rise to :

  1. Poor Air Flow
  2. High Relative Humdity
  3. Mould Growth

The equipment used was a mixture of real time calibrated indoor air quality monitors . All the equipment was of a professional standard. Calibrated prior to the test it included :

TSI IAQ Calc

Mini RAe 300 pid

Dusttrak DRX

MB2 Microbio sampler

Druck 750 pressure monitor

Kimo-instruments air flow

all supplied by Environmental Monitors http://www.em-monitors.co.uk. it is important to note that modern home monitors tend to under report many of these issues. Each of our instruments cost several thousands of pounds and are regularly calibrated. That said we good observation and fresh air “rinsing” you can build a reasonable picture of your home environment using a cheap device https://www.em-monitors.co.uk/indoor-air-quality/smart-iaq/

Smart Air Quality Monitors- We are moving in the right direction but..

We currently live in a world where we are able to access a myriad of facts, all a button click away on our phones.

We then enter beautifully manicured websites promising us a utopic world where everything can be monitored and then be directly read to an app on your phone.

The good new is we are getting cost effective monitors that we can carry around with us or use in the home but…. what are they reading.

I have spent most of my life working in air monitoring. In order for a product to give you some information that you can look at and trust you need to have a set of rules to to help define what it is you are looking at.

 

For example when you buy 5 kg of potatoes in a sealed bag – you either trust your getting five kg or you don’t care you just want spuds. The 5kg comes from the fact that the potatoes have been weighed. We know the weight is correct because at some point in the day, or week a calibration weight of 5kg is placed on the scale where they are packed and the scales are adjusted to be accurate.

This applies to any measurement we take. The thermometer at your doctors, or the speed camera used by the police.

Many indicative monitors don’t have this, though some do

Professional Reference Monitoring equipment would typically cost around £100,00.00. it would use reference monitoring techniques. However it would be used as follows:

So as you see it is all quite complex. lots of checks.

Moving down below reference equipment is cell technology. It is small and compact. it is what we are seeing out on the street now and in a myriad of pretty boxes for the home. Some of these are accredited and some also have very serious algorithms to correct their functionality. These are professional use tools and cost £3,000 upwards.These are Indicative Monitors. There are also more basic home use indicative monitors

Indicative Monitors

But be careful, many of the Chinese imported products are simply garbage and will respond to anything.

What do most of the Indoor Air Quality Monitors Do well?

  • Relative Humidity (%RH)
  • Temperature
  • Air Presure
  • Carbon Dioxide

Areas where they tend to perform poorly

  • VOC’s most commercial voc monitors require regular and careful calibration, VOC’s can include anything from Formaldyde , to perfumes & deoudorant
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – product of combustion
  • Fine particulate – respirable dust PM2.5

in test we conduct with a calibrated reference the budget indoor monitor typically showed results 10 x lower PM 2.5 than an accredited calibrated tool. Other items simply did not respond

So there is a reason why tested monitors cost £1,000’s and basic ones a lot lot less. This should change with the emergence of goods British Standards.

In the meantime, rather than look for specific numbers , look for trends. That is significant changes in the air quality

https://smarthomeairquality.co.uk/

Kendal’s Mint Cake Fresh Air

c;lean air monitring

We have three things in abundance in Kendal in Cumbria:

Sheep

Kendal Mint Cake

Clean Fresh Air

Environmental Monitoring can provide an app driven air monitor, so you too can have mint cake fresh air

My name is Adrian Thiedeman, I live in Kendal in Cumbria. I have a background in applied chemistry, air & water pollution control and have spent the majority of my life providing monitoring solutions to consultants, universities, Government agencies and large manufacturers.

In the UK were are aiming to meet the WHO ( World Health Organisations) recommendations on fine particulate. Only today (21st of Feb 2020) The Government announced a ban on burning coal and certain logs on open fires and log burners.

We are constantly talking about traffic congestion and the pollution created by diesel vehicles, which includes fine particulate(pm10, pm2.5 and pm1) as well as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

So what are we offering? Some organisation require very accurate professional monitoring equipment and testing services. Environmental Monitoring provide workplace exposure monitoring testing.

The type of organisations and people who want to know about their air quality ( pm10/pm2.5 and NO2) include Schools and colleges, nurseries, local authorities, fires services, public buildings, offices , architects, building engineers, facility managers

However many locations require a small unobtrusive device to run in the background and to provide a 24/7 outline into how good the air quality is, all on a neat easy to read app.

Environmental Monitoring provide a simple traffic light guide system or for an additional fee monthly reports.

sales@em-monitors.co.uk 01539 727878