How to Remove CO2 From Your Home

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How To Remove CO2 From Your Home

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I recently purchased another indoor air monitor; an Awair Omni. After installing this monitor in my office I saw that interior CO2 levels were elevated to just above 1000 ppm.  The ideal level is 400 ppm to 600 ppm. WHAT??? This is also my home! Yikes – no wonder I feel sleepy and stupid all the time! What’s going on?

The first thing I needed to do was establish an outdoor baseline of CO2. On Sunday my outside baseline was 396 ppm. At the same time, my inside levels we 896 ppm with my office window open. Not good.

 

Where Does CO2 Come From inside my home?

CO2 Is Created by People, Gas stoves, hot Water Heaters, Inside Garages, Any Open Flame 

The primary way CO2 is generated inside a home is people breathing. CO2 is also created from combustion by burning oil for heat, gas powered heating systems, gas hot water heaters, gas dryers, and gas stoves. These are the common sources; your home may have different points of combustion.

Outside air contains higher levels of CO2 than ever before.

Natural gas is widely used by PG&E to generate electricity as reported in 2018 to the California Energy Commission. This generates CO2. As more wind energy turbines and solar panel farms come online, we can hope this CO2 generation from PG&E will be reduced.

The California wildfires creates additional CO2 as well as carbon black/snoot that impacts our breathing. We can filter the soot/carbon black out of our indoor air. We can all change our energy usage habits to reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere. It is unknown if our efforts will be enough and in time to modify the course of climate change, as this needs to be a serious global effort. But, it does start with one person parking their car and riding a bike to work. Please encourage bike riders and stop trying to run over them.

Climeworks has a direct air capture system that works on large scale CO2 generation sources. Their system is called Orca. This project is from Iceland and addresses the issues of collection and storage in the best earth friendly manner that I’ve seen to date. Their Orca solution, which came online September 7, 2021, can impact the CO2 levels of the world.

Please consider making a small donation to help offset your carbon footprint. This is not a referral link. Climeworks keeps all of your donations.

Please keep in mind healthy inside levels of CO2 is 400-600 ppm. The outside CO2 levels in San Francisco range around 1000+ ppm. 

The Solution to Pollution is Dilution

Dilute inside air by turning on an exhaust fans or opening windows and doors where it is safe to do so.

In commercial spaces with HVACs and elevated interior CO2 levels the recommendation is to run the system with the only fan on to reduce CO2 levels. This option may not be available in most newer buildings, commercial or residential.

Ventilation is Recommended for Elevated Levels of CO2.

Running a HEPA or carbon-based air purifier will NOT remove CO2.  We do not recommend using any air purifier that creates ozone (electrostatic models). Your best solution for air purification is HEPA paper filters. Carbon or charcoal can safely be added – thicker black insert the better. 

Turn on your kitchen and bath exhaust fans to bring in more outside air. Before doing this, consider the outside levels of soot and carbon black from the recent wildfires. HEPA filters on air purifiers and HVAC makeup air will remove most soot and carbon black. You may also consider and ultra fine HEPA filter. Start your search for your solution for ultra fine HEPA filters here: Filtrete. This is not an affiliate link.

 

Add Plants to Your Indoor Space

The oxygen-CO2 cycle of plants will remove some of the excess CO2 from your air. Plants can make a minimal to moderate improvement in your air quality. 

Fertilize and water the plants so they will grow. More plant = less CO2. Don’t overwater.

It is CRITICAL that you don’t allow mold growth on the top of the soil. To discourage this type of mold growth, use an organic fertilizer that has a soap base. This soap base will from a seal of sorts on the top of the soil and prevent mold growth. A great, safe DIY pesticide can be found here: Killing Spider Mites and Aphids Dead. This is safe and effective.

What is an Ideal CO2 level in a home?

Using CO2 as an indicator of ventilation, ASHRAE has recommended indoor CO2 concentrations be maintained at—or below—1,000 ppm in schools and 800 ppm in offices (see chart below). Clearly the outdoor CO2 concentration directly impacts the indoor concentration.

Carbon dioxide levels and potential health problems are indicated below: 250-350 ppm: background (normal) outdoor air level. 350-1,000 ppm: typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange. 1,000-2,000 ppm: level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air quality.

250 – 400 ppm: background (normal) outdoor air level. 400 – 1,000 ppm: typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange. 1,000 – 2,000 ppm: level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air. 2,000 – 5,000 ppm: level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air.

LEEDs Requirements

CO2 Monitoring auto ventilation above 800 ppm
ChemicalPassing Concentration
LEEDS v4.0
1Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)500 ug/m3
2.Formaldehyde27 ppb 34 ug/m3
3.PM 1050 ug/m3
4.Carbon Monoxide (CO)9 ppm (also, no more than > 2ppm above outdoor levels)
5.PM 2.515 ug/m3
6.Ozone75ppb
7.Acetaldehyde140 µg/m3
8.Benzene3 µg/m3
9.Carbon disulfide800 µg/m3
10.Carbon tetrachloride40 µg/m3
11.Chlorobenzene1000 µg/m3
12.Chloroform300 µg/m3
13.Dichlorobenzene (1,4-)800 µg/m3
14.Dichloroethylene (1,1)70 µg/m3
15.Dimethylformamide (N,N-)80 µg/m3
16.Dioxane (1,4-)3000 µg/m3
17.Epichlorohydrin3 µg/m3
18.Ethylbenzene2000 µg/m3
19.Ethylene glycol400 µg/m3
20.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether70 µg/m3
21.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate300 µg/m3
22.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether70 µg/m3
23.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate90 µg/m3
24.Hexane (n-)7000 µg/m3
25.Isophorone2000 µg/m3
26.Isopropanol7000 µg/m3
27.Methyl chloroform1000 µg/m3
28.Methylene chloride400 µg/m3
29.Methyl t-butyl ether8000 µg/m3
30.Naphthalene9 µg/m3
31.Phenol200 µg/m3
32.Propylene glycol monomethyl ether7000 µg/m3
33.Styrene900 µg/m3
34.Tetrachloroethylene35 µg/m3
35.Toluene300 µg/m3
36.Trichloroethylene600 µg/m3
37.Vinyl acetate200 µg/m3
38.Xylenes, technical mixture700 µg/m3
LEEDs v4.1 - 1 Point
Passing Concentration
1.Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)500 ug/m3
2.Formaldehyde27 ppb 34 ug/m3
3.PM 10 - For healthcare50 ug/m3 20 ug/m3
4.Carbon Monoxide (CO)9 ppm (also, no more than > 2ppm above outdoor levels)
5.PM 2.5 - Non-attainment areas12 ug/m3 35 ug/m3
6.Ozone70 ppb
7.Acetaldehyde140 µg/m3
8.Benzene3 µg/m3
9.Carbon disulfide800 µg/m3
10.Carbon tetrachloride40 µg/m3
11.Chlorobenzene1000 µg/m3
12.Chloroform300 µg/m3
13.Dichlorobenzene (1,4-)800 µg/m3
14.Dichloroethylene (1,1)70 µg/m3
15.Dimethylformamide (N, N-)80 µg/m3
16.Dioxane (1,4-)3000 µg/m3
17.Epichlorohydrin3 µg/m3
18.Ethylbenzene2000 µg/m3
19.Ethylene glycol400 µg/m3
20.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether70 µg/m3
21.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate300 µg/m3
22.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether70 µg/m3
23.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate90 µg/m3
24.Hexane (n-)7000 µg/m3
25.Isophorone2000 µg/m3
26.Isopropanol7000 µg/m3
27.Methyl chloroform1000 µg/m3
28.Methylene chloride400 µg/m3
29.Methyl t-butyl ether8000 µg/m3
30.Naphthalene9 µg/m3
31.Phenol200 µg/m3
32.Propylene glycol monomethyl ether7000 µg/m3
33.Styrene900 µg/m3
34.Tetrachloroethylene35 µg/m3
35.Toluene300 µg/m3
36.Trichloroethylene600 µg/m3
37.Vinyl acetate200 µg/m3
38.Xylenes, technical mixture700 µg/m3
LEEDs v4.1 LEEDs - 2 Point
Passing Concentration
1.Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)500 ug/m3
2.Formaldehyde16 ppb 20 ug/m3
3.PM 10 - For healthcare50 ug/m3 20 ug/m3
4.Carbon Monoxide (CO)9 ppm (also, no more than > 2ppm above outdoor levels)
5.PM 2.5 - Non-attainment areas12 ug/m3 35 ug/m3
6.Ozone70 ppb
7.Acetaldehyde140 µg/m3
8.Benzene3 µg/m3
9.Carbon disulfide800 µg/m3
10.Carbon tetrachloride40 µg/m3
11.Chlorobenzene1000 µg/m3
12.Chloroform300 µg/m3
13.Dichlorobenzene (1,4-)800 µg/m3
14.Dichloroethylene (1,1)70 µg/m3
15.Dimethylformamide (N,N-)80 µg/m3
16.Dioxane (1,4-)3000 µg/m3
17.Epichlorohydrin3 µg/m3
18.Ethylbenzene2000 µg/m3
19.Ethylene glycol400 µg/m3
20.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether70 µg/m3
21.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate300 µg/m3
22.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether70 µg/m3
23.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate90 µg/m3
24.Hexane (n-)7000 µg/m3
25.Isophorone2000 µg/m3
26.Isopropanol7000 µg/m3
27.Methyl chloroform1000 µg/m3
28.Methylene chloride400 µg/m3
29.Methyl t-butyl ether8000 µg/m3
30.Naphthalene9 µg/m3
31.Phenol200 µg/m3
32.Propylene glycol monomethyl ether7000 µg/m3
33.Styrene900 µg/m3
34.Tetrachloroethylene35 µg/m3
35.Toluene300 µg/m3
36.Trichloroethylene600 µg/m3
37.Vinyl acetate200 µg/m3
38.Xylenes, technical mixture700 µg/m3
LEEDs v4.1 - 3 Point
Passing Concentration
1.Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)500 ug/m3
2.Formaldehyde16 ppb 20 ug/m3
3.PM 10 - For healthcare50 ug/m3 20 ug/m3
4.Carbon Monoxide (CO)9 ppm (also, no more than > 2ppm above outdoor levels)
5.PM 2.5 - Non-attainment areas12 ug/m3 35 ug/m3
6.Ozone70 ppb
7.Acetaldehyde70 µg/m3
8.Benzene1.5 µg/m3
9.Carbon disulfide400 µg/m3
10.Carbon tetrachloride20 µg/m3
11.Chlorobenzene500 µg/m3
12.Chloroform150 µg/m3
13.Dichlorobenzene (1,4-)400 µg/m3
14.Dichloroethylene (1,1)35 µg/m3
15.Dimethylformamide (N,N-)30 µg/m3
16.Dioxane (1,4-)1500 µg/m3
17.Epichlorohydrin1.5 µg/m3
18.Ethylbenzene1000 µg/m3
19.Ethylene glycol200 µg/m3
20.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether35 µg/m3
21.Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate150 µg/m3
22.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether30 µg/m3
23.Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate45 µg/m3
24.Hexane (n-)3500 µg/m3
25.Isophorone2000 µg/m3
26.Isopropanol7000 µg/m3
27.Methyl chloroform500 µg/m3
28.Methylene chloride200 µg/m3
29.Methyl t-butyl ether4000 µg/m3
30.Naphthalene4.5 µg/m3
31.Phenol100 µg/m3
32.Propylene glycol monomethyl ether3500 µg/m3
33.Styrene450 µg/m3
34.Tetrachloroethylene17.5 µg/m3
35.Toluene150 µg/m3
36.Trichloroethylene300 µg/m3
37.Vinyl acetate100 µg/m3
38.Xylenes, technical mixture300 µg/m3

LINKS:

OSHA Worker Safety info on CO2

We perform Air Mapping of offices and homes.