Wireless Sensor Networks Improve Indoor Air Quality

CPAP Device (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is essential to building a building because breathing polluted air can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. Dust particles, mold, and bacteria can thrive in a room with temperature and humidity that facilitate their growth. Air can also be polluted with volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. Wireless sensor networks (WSN) can monitor indoor air quality for gases, particles, humidity, and temperature. These all can affect tenant comfort and health. Through a simple smartphone app or desktop computer, the WSN nodes can communicate data through Wi-Fi. This is one of the latest Internet of things (IoT) developments. By being able to monitor the air instantly, the appropriate adjustments can be made.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that apartment buildings can have the same indoor air quality problems as single-family homes. This is because many of the same pollutant sources exist. Some of the same problems are also there, such as improperly installed air intakes and contaminants in the ventilation system. The EPA states that the best ways to eliminate these issues are to terminate pollution sources, increase ventilation, and install devices that clean the air. Indoor air quality monitors can help identify the need for air cleaning devices. It’s the responsibility of a building owner to make sure the air quality is acceptable. Unclean air can lead to preventable health issues and result in a building tenant suing the owner for negligence. While the EPA doesn’t regulate IAQ, local governments might, and the building owner must abide by it to ensure the tenants are comfortable and safe. [1] 

WSN Alerts Device Malfunctions

By immediately knowing what’s happening with air quality inside a building, the proper action can be taken to meet regulations and tenant demands. As time progresses, systems within buildings become obsolete. This includes the HVAC system, current air monitoring systems, and air cleaning devices. As they age and don’t work the way they used to, the air quality can change significantly. These changes are typically unpredictable. The obsolete system will have to be replaced, but the air quality nodes can give you the information you need to know when that replacement or repair should occur. Without proper monitoring, a system can completely malfunction before you are aware that there is a problem. Since you know there’s an issue as soon as it happens, the air quality can be restored before it becomes a major issue for the occupants of the building.

Wireless IAQ nodes take a lot of guesswork out of diagnosing a problem. Repair or replacement services take time, and that time costs money. The time required to deal with IQA issues in a building is one reason why such issues can be ignored for extended periods. It can be easy to say that the problem will be taken care of repeatedly, but the thought of doing so can be daunting, especially when the problem isn’t yet diagnosed. IAQ nodes can detect the specific pollutant. If it’s carbon monoxide, the issue can be traced back to the heating system or other potential producers. With more time, an issue is more likely to be rectified more quickly, which reduces liability and a plethora of other potential problems. When the nodes are wireless, installation is simpler.

These nodes are already outfitted to communicate with Wi-Fi so that the data can be read on a tablet, smartphone, or computer. If you already have a system, wireless retrofits can make a significant difference in how your building meets the challenges of inevitable obsolescence. There’s no need to completely replace your current IAQ nodes when they can be upgraded. This is another way to save money since you don’t have to deal with having an entirely new system installed unless necessary. You can even have your existing nodes upgraded and new ones added if you need more.

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