Indoor air quality monitoring & health

Anyone in here monitoring your indoor air quality? I have always kept an eye on the room temperature and humidity level. But now, I want to go a step further, monitor more stuff and log the data.

I just got a Sensordrone* unit in and was a little shocked at the high carbon dioxide co2 (human exhale) levels in the main room I spend all of my time at home. Since it is winter, I keep my door shut and windows closed. The air is very stale.

I am now going to keep the window opened just a little at night and opened at times for fresh air throughout the day even in winter.

No window opened.

Sleeping with a window slightly opened.

Current unit I have is a Sensordrone + CO2 module. [edit 6-25-14] DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT. Very inaccurate.

I’m thinking about buying this Netatmo unit to keep in there full time. The Sensordrone* is more of a portable device and for mobile devices. The Netamo has auto cloud uploading and can be viewed on computers or mobiles.

Here is an interesting article/experiment about higher CO2 levels and its effects decision making performances.

*6-25-14 I have since found that the Sensordrone is very inaccurate. My data above are probably way off their real values.

I’ve been using a Netatmo indoor weather station to record the environment in my bedroom since March. It was easy to set up and their web site is decent, though I use Zenobase for aggregate stats (e.g. what’s the average air quality by hour of day when within a certain temperature range), and for correlating with other data.

It’s surprising how fast CO2 levels rise in an occupied room with closed windows, but I have not so far been able to find any significant correlations between CO2 levels and e.g. sleep quality (via BodyMedia FIT).



I am using a Zeo Bedside unit currently and have a Beddit on order. I’ll get around to tying everything together in the future for sleep analysis.

I am going to err on the side of caution and keep the window ajar a little at all times. It would make sense that getting a decent exchange of air is better than not. I have always found that I was unable to work at home due to lack of concentration even though I had the same setup as my office. I was always more productive at my office. Now I am wondering if the ventilation had anything to do with it. I’m going to look into getting some CO2 eating house plants too.

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I ordered the Netatmo set. I was waiting for the price to drop a little and was on sale for $150 on amazon during this Thanksgiving holiday.

What have you done if anything differently after you started monitoring your indoor air quality? For me, I’m always going outside for fresh when I’m at work. A home, I always have a window a little opened. Neither things I was doing prior.

I now have a rough idea how wide the window should be left open at night to ensure that the air quality doesn’t drop too much (this depends on the outside conditions).

Ideally, a home AI would use this data to open and close windows to optimize conditions based on air quality, temperature, noise etc…

Another interesting experiment would be to correlate air quality at work with productivity (RescueTime?)–just mind the Hawthorne effect :slight_smile:

Does anybody know of any good “CO2 eating” plants? I guess there is differences between plants in the amount of CO2 they consume.

Would be cool to run an experiment with plants in the bedroom as an intervention, and track CO2 levels and sleep quality.

But it might be a challenge that most plants need decent temperatures, so it might not be possible to sleep with an open window during a plant intervention.

The other challenge is that plants need light in order to photosynthesize :wink:

Which raises another question: Which plants have the most effective photosyntesis? Any plant biologist in here? I guess tropical plants with great leafs. Am I wrong?

Wikipedia biologist here - it appears the most efficient sunlight-to-biomass plant is sugar cane. To bad it would be near impossible to grow indoors.

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From what I could read there, my intution tells me it would be near to impossible to have indoors plants making any significant contribution to better indoor air quality. One, because the amount of sunlight indoors is low. Two, because indoor plants have low sunlight-to-biomass efficiency. Please correct me if I’m wrong. On the flip side, the volume of air inside is relatively low, so who knows? Maybe there exists a superb genetically modified indoor plant to…

See also this project :slight_smile:

I would agree that the dimensions and levels of sunlight in an average room make it unfeasible to produce a significant increase in air quality.

Slightly off topic; the psychological aspect of placing plants indoors is another interesting area for research. Previous studies have shown having greenery inside is beneficial for stress, task performance, symptoms of ill health, etc…

Yes, that’s the visual aspect, and probably more important for health than the air-cleaning effect.

I am also interested in air quality in my room, however my main concern is the presence of potential allergens in the air. I like in a very humid place and humidity is very high. This lead to the formation of mildew or dark mold which cover almost a whole wall of my room. Are you aware of consumer-level detectors of mold spores etc in the air?

Looking on Google there seems to be many single use type kits for detecting harmful traces of mould.

One thing I hate about this forum is that it regularly causes me to get my wallet out.

I’ve just bought an AirPi. It’s a Raspberry Pi kit capable of recording information about temperature, humidity, air pressure, light levels, UV levels, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and smoke levels. It seems like a great DIY alternative to many of the more expensive sensors (like the Sensordrone mentioned by OP) to monitor these metrics.


The AirPi website says that it is easy to add additional sensors you find. Do you know if this also goes for mold sensors, and have you seen any that fits the AirPi? The AirPi seems affordable. Have you started to use it yet? How do you find the quality and usefulness of it?

Regarding your room Chris T, if your wall already is covered with mold, there is likely to be traces of it in the air to. I would immediately attempt to do something about the condition.

I ordered it on Sunday so am still eagerly awaiting its delivery - will post updates once it arrives.

With regards to mould sensors, I’m not sure if anything commercially available exists that can be connected to a RPi (well not on the first page of Google anyway). I do plan on adding additional sensors further down the line and will keep an eye out.

I cleaned the wall today :slight_smile:

I guess that is good Chris T, but I’m still worried about your health if you didn’t find a permanent solution. I’m not an expert on molds but my guess is that the root of the condition is still there. Don’t want to induce anxiety in you as that’s not healthy either, but you might want to get an expert opinion somewhere.

Ventilation is key. Photosynthesis is not an instantaneous reaction and a few small plants will have a negligible impact on C02.