What Is CO2?

The gas CO2 is otherwise known as carbon dioxide. Basically, it is compromised of one molecule of carbon and two (i.e., "di" from the Greek for two) molecules of oxygen. These three molecules are bonded together to create one gas, but there are multiple particles of this gas floating around together. There is a lot to know about this common gas, and it follows below.

The Commonality of CO2

CO2 is a natural part of the Earth's atmosphere. However, the most common gas is actually nitrogen, leading by 78 percent. Oxygen is the second most common gas in the atmosphere, comprising 20 percent of the air. The remaining two percent of the Earth's atmosphere is CO2, Argon, and a few other truly minor gases. 

What is important to note is that CO2 is a waste gas, a greenhouse gas, a dangerous to breathe gas, and a gas you do not want in excess inside your home. It is why so many CO2 monitors are sold every year to keep track of the levels of these gases in your home. High levels in an enclosed space can be lethal.

The Waste Gas

The waste gas, a.k.a., CO2, is a byproduct of all animals and humans breathing oxygen. As we and our pets breathe in oxygen, it circulates through the body and exits as carbon dioxide. In an enclosed space it can build up and if it doesn't have a way to exit your home the air quality in your home is not very good. 

There are special CO2 monitors that can track the amount of CO2 building up in your home. Not only are these monitors incredibly useful, but they can also be fun to watch sometimes because of the way they light up in the presence of this gas. You can also add live plants to help maintain air quality because plants actually require CO2 to breathe and live. The plants produce the oxygen other living creatures need to breathe and live, while we and animals produce the CO2 plants need. 

The Negative Side Effects of Excess CO2 in Your Environment

Any enclosed space where one or more humans and/or one or more animals reside or work results in CO2 presence in the air. There are many negative side effects of excess CO2 in the air where you live and work. The negative effects are cumulative, meaning that you have to be exposed to excess CO2 for a long time, but you still wouldn't want that kind of exposure anyway. 

One negative effect is your inability to perceive and think clearly. The human brain requires oxygen to function. When not enough oxygen is brought to your brain via the bloodstream, your brain's cells become "intoxicated" from the CO2 and you begin to feel like you are drunk or high. Your brain is struggling to breathe and struggling to get that oxygen it needs, and only ends up more intoxicated by the levels of CO2 in your body.

You can reverse this, but only if you get a lot of fresh air for a long time. When the CO2 levels in your home are so high that opening a window only temporarily fixes the CO2 problem in your body and brain, you can bet that you will feel poorly again within a short time after closing the window.

Another side effect is that too much CO2 makes your blood more acidic. It's a condition known as hypercapnia. To counteract this problem, your kidneys work harder to release bicarbonate, which reduces the amount of acid in your blood. The problem is that continuing high levels of CO2 continue to force your kidneys to work really hard, which will ultimately result in kidney failure and toxic blood in your body. When that happens, you end up on dialysis several times a week to treat the problem. 

How CO2 Poisoning Symptoms Hide in Plain Sight

The problem with CO2 poisoning is that you are not going to be able to tell that you have a CO2 problem in your home or workplace. Many of the symptoms look just like other normal and fairly typical conditions you experience every day. These conditions include:

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness, even though you may have slept well the night before
  • Inability to focus or concentrate, which you may contribute to procrastination
  • Depression, which many people suffer from already
  • Anxiety (again, a common mental health problem)
  • Headache (Who doesn't get a headache a few times a week?)
  • Dizziness, which can be so fleeting you will mistake it for something else

The most extreme cases of CO2 intoxication require CO2 levels indoors at amounts that do not naturally occur over time. You would need to burn wood or coal in a fireplace with the flue shut for several hours or have a house located over a coal mine and have so many leaks in your foundation that the underground CO2 finds its way into your house or business. Both of these situations are unlikely and/or very rare and out of the ordinary. 

In the event that you feel like you are going to pass out, you are breathing really hard, or you can't keep your eyes open no matter what you do, leave the building or house. Then call a professional building safety inspector to do a CO2 sweep. After that, consider purchasing a CO2 monitor to help keep an eye on the levels in your home or building. 

Understanding the Difference Between Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide

There are CO2 and carbon monoxide (CO) monitors for homes and businesses. This often leads to a lot of confusion when you are shopping for monitors to prevent illnesses and fatalities from these invisible gases. It helps to understand the difference between the two gases and which is more deadly or harmful. 

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is lethal in the right amounts. Entire families have been known to die in their beds in their sleep from elevated levels of this gas. Compared to CO2, carbon monoxide is like CO2's evil twin. Carbon monoxide has to reach really high levels before it can cause the level of harm you read about above. CO2 almost never directly kills those it affects because the levels never get that high. 

CO will kill you while you sleep. CO2 won't kill you, but it will make you very sick and it will not make you feel very well. Still, if you are attempting to maintain your overall health, you don't want either type of gas in your home. Make sure you purchase monitors for both types of invisible gases. 

The Best, Most Discrete, and Most Fascinating CO2 Detection and Monitoring Device on the Market

You could buy any CO2 detector and monitoring device, but you would be missing out on what the Maple CO2 detector and monitor does and provides. This particular detector/monitor is the most discrete and most fascinating one on the market. It is also very eco-friendly because its shell is made from untreated, all-natural Ash wood. That means that every detector is as unique as the Ash tree it was made from. 

Why is this monitor the best? Because it utilizes NDIR infrared CO2 gas sensors to pick up on even the smallest increases in CO2 in your environment. What is more, the maple leaf cutout on the front of the housing reveals a series of color-coded light sensors depending on the level of CO2 present. It looks like a beautiful, hand-carved light box sitting on a table or shelf when in fact it is doing something very practical and very useful. 

When the quality of your air is good, the maple leaf on the box is green. As the quality of the air becomes more poor and higher amounts of CO2 are detected, the leaf changes colors, moving through yellow, orange and finally dark red. No other detector is as discrete, as beautiful or as fascinating to watch. 

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