Lack of fresh air and increased CO2 levels indoors - how to fight it?

Many of us must have experienced the feeling of being short of air, breathless, tired and heavy. Often these feelings are caused by insufficient ventilation, or by the presence of a large number of people who have breathed out oxygen and left a lot of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the room a short time ago. So in this article we will talk about the differences between fresh and poorly ventilated indoor air, the problems caused by elevated CO2 levels and ways to keep fresh air flowing into your home at all times.

Svaiga gaisa trūkums un palielināts CO2 līmenis telpās – kā cīnīties?


Fresh air contains much less carbon dioxide

 The carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the air is measured in parts per million (PPM), and the lower the CO2 content, the less CO2 a sample of air from a particular location contains, making it healthier and fresher. Conversely, the higher the CO2 content, the higher the CO2 content. In fresh air (e.g. by the sea, in a pine forest), this value does not exceed 300 - 400 units; such air is rich in oxygen, healthy and gives a person a sense of alertness and well-being. Our aim is therefore to provide such air in any room where we are - working, sleeping, recovering from daily physical and mental stress. That would be the ideal solution to strive for.

In reality, however, it is quite challenging to achieve this result, as various factors make it difficult to achieve, so there is a certain level of CO2 below which the air is considered healthy (600-700 PPM). This level is considered to be the norm when the carbon dioxide content of the air is low enough not to have a negative impact on a person's health and not to interfere with his or her rhythms of life, whether physical activity, intellectual work or well-being.

"There is another limit that is sometimes reached in crowded places, which is 6000 PPM. Health problems start within 8 hours in such air."

Higher CO2 levels risk discomfort or even health problems

The threshold where CO2 levels rise above 1000 PPM is where the first problems arise - people start to feel tired, it becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate, and other discomforts often arise. But when CO2 concentrations regularly exceed 2500 PPM, there can already be a danger to human health. In the short term, this does not have any significant negative effects, but if a person is constantly in such an "airless" atmosphere (in kindergarten, school, home, office, etc.), a negative effect is produced which, as if invisible, but constantly, slowly, drop by drop, accumulates and damages health.

There is another limit, which is sometimes reached in crowded places, which is 6000 PPM. Health problems start within 8 hours in such air.

It is important to ensure normal ventilation in educational facilities

One of the most important challenges is to ensure that children in pre-schools and schools do not experience a lack of fresh air. The current situation does not seem overly optimistic. During the cold season, for various reasons, schools are often not adequately ventilated. In old schools, the problem often lies in poorly constructed or poorly functioning ventilation systems, where ventilation is actually only provided during breaks by opening windows, which is insufficient to provide the necessary air exchange and fresh air supply. During the warm season, it is at least possible to keep the windows open much more or even permanently, thus solving at least part of the problem. However, in the cold season of the year the situation is not great.

In newly built or renovated schools the modern ventilation equipment installed is not working due to the high cost of running it. Here, school leaders should look at the situation, make an assessment and realise that children's health is still more important than the money saved. Many local authorities should certainly have their say on this.

It should only be added that the same problems apply not only to schools, but also to offices, public spaces and other buildings where large numbers of people move around on a daily basis.

You can check your indoor air quality by taking measurements

Even when we are at home, sleeping in our bedroom and recovering before the next working day, if we don't keep the window open or don't have effective ventilation, CO2 levels can build up quite high in the room in the morning. This can lead to waking up without enough sleep because the body has not rested fully due to lack of oxygen. And if, for example, a child goes further into a poorly ventilated room at school, this can lead to a situation where children are sleepy and lack concentration, which has a long-term negative impact on both their academic performance and their physical health.

To check the air quality at home, in schools and in other indoor environments, it is possible to measure the air quality (CO2 content). experts offer to carry out such measurements and, if necessary, to recommend the best solutions to ensure sufficient fresh air supply indoors and thus solve any problems related to the lack of fresh air.