Tag Archive | "PID sensor"

Gas Sensor Life Expectancy

Sensor Life Expectancy in Air Under Normal Conditions

Gas Sensors have an operational life expectancy, a shelf life for storage and a recommended calibration frequency that is commonly dependent on the type of application and environment. All information listed below is approximate, in air and under normal conditions. If you require more specific information on the sensor in the unit you are servicing, contact CETCI for specifications.

Click here to view the Sensor Life Expectancy Chart

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CETCI Simultaneously Identifies the Air You’re Breathing with YESAIR & YES Plus LGA

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. (CETCI) is a known industry leader and innovator for the indoor air quality (IAQ) market. Their two best selling portable IAQ instruments are the YESAIR and YES Plus LGA.

Both IAQ instruments are portable, multi-channel monitors featuring thirty different internal plug and play sensors to select from and a remote particulate sensor that simultaneously monitors within a single, easy to carry instrument. CETCI’s plug & play sensor options are the widest selection on the market and include electrochemical (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ammonia, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, arsine, fluorine, hydrazine, phosphine, silane, and many more), catalytic (combustible gases), infrared (CO2 or combustible gases), and PID (TVOC). Users can set one alarm level for each gas to activate the internal audible alarm. Both instruments have a built-in SD flash card for data logging and an internal sample pump for “active sampling”. The LCD display, on both, indicates each sensor type installed, measured values for each gas, battery status, and more.

YESAIR has been on the market since 2006. Even today, it still offers more features, flexibility and functionality than any other instrument on the market. YESAIR is CE certified and has a seven-sensor capacity with up to five internal plug & play sensors, a fixed temperature sensor, and a fixed relative humidity (RH) sensor. The LCD displays all the installed sensors simultaneously and can operate 12-14 hours with a NiMH battery pack or continuously with a wall adapter. The instrument is enclosed in a rugged ABS/polycarbonate enclosure and can either be a handheld, stand on a flat surface, or fastened to a wall for permanent or semi-permanent use. With only three tactile push buttons makes the YESAIR simple to use. Optional features include internet and network accessible.

YES Plus LGA was recently introduced to the market earlier this year as an upgrade from the original YES Plus. This single solution, multi-sensor IAQ and landfill surface gas emissions monitor is pending CE certifications. It features four tactile push buttons for easy use and a fifteen sensor capacity with up to twelve internal plug & play sensors, a fixed temperature sensor, a RH sensor, and a remote sensor. The LCD displays up to six installed sensors at one time and scrolls to display more. It can operate 18-24 hours with a NiMH battery pack or continuously with a wall adapter. YES Plus LGA is housed in a rugged ABS enclosure and has an aluminum swivel handle that acts as a handheld or stand support.

The Landfill Gas Analyzer (LGA) version has an optional plug-in GPS and Bluetooth module and a firmware version that’s suitable for landfill surveys to communicate to pocket PDAs. The internal sample pump has an automatic flow control that ensures 1-LPM flow rate even with resistance. This version will be available later this fall.

CETCI will continue to develop and expand their portable IAQ product line to meet the needs of the market. For more information on the entire range of IAQ instruments and gas detection systems, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

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Know the Air You’re Breathing: How can you improve the IAQ around you? (4 of 4)

How can you improve the IAQ around you?

Now that you have an understanding about the air that you’re breathing, you can take can control and improve your IAQ.

Here are some preventatives that you can do to minimize your health risk:

If using products that have high fume make sure there is proper ventilation. Outdoor air can dilute the chemical level.
No smoking indoors or near windows or doors. Tobacco smoke gets absorbed by furniture, carpets, curtains, etc. and takes a long time to be desorbed.
Chimney needs to be cleaned and clear of obstructions.
Don’t idle vehicles or gas powered equipment indoor (eg. garage) or near windows or doors.
For building & household products, use “green” or “environmentally friendly” options.
If possible, wash and air out products (eg. drapes, clothing, sheets) containing any VOC before bringing indoor.
Buy limited quantities to avoid having leftovers for storage.
Safely dispose partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals.
Prevent moisture build-up inside and make sure water leaks are cleaned up rapidly.
Keep humidity levels below 60% (Aerias) by purchasing a dehumidifier. High humidity encourages off gassing.
Read labels and use as directed.

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing



Aerias. “VOCs: A Major Contributor to Indoor Pollution”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.aerias.org/DesktopModules/ArticleDetail.aspx?articleId=131.

Berglund, et al. (1997). “Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) in Indoor Air quality Investigations”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.inive.org/medias/ECA/ECA_Report19.pdf.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). “NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html.

Environment Canada. (2010). “Clean Air Online”. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from http://www.ec.gc.ca/cas-aqhi/default.asp?Lang=En.

Gilbert, Nicolas. (2005). “Proposed residential indoor air quality guidelines for formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 3, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/air/formaldehyde/in-formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

Health Canada. (2006). “Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline: Formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 4, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/air/formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

Health Canada. (2009a). “Formaldehyde – Pollutants from Household Products and Building Materials”. Retrieved June 3, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/in/poll/construction/formaldehyde-eng.php.

Health Canada. (2009b). “It’s Your Health: Formaldehyde and Indoor Air”. Retrieved June 4, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/pacrb-dgapcr/pdf/iyh-vsv/environ/formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (1991). “Indoor Air Fact Sheet No. 4 (revised) – Sick Building Syndrome”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/sbs.html.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (1994). “Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). “An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html.

World Health Organization. (1989). “International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS): Environmental Health Criteria 89: Formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 2, 2010 from http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc89.htm.

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Know the Air You’re Breathing: Sick Building Syndrome/Building Related Illness & PID Sensors (3 of 4)

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and
Building Related Illness (BRI)

Long term exposure to VOC contributes to SBS and BRI. Based on the US Environmental Protection Agency (1991), SBS and BRI are compared in Table 3 below:

Table 3: Comparison between SBS & BRI

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) Building Related Illness (BRI)
Definition An illness temporarily associated with an occupant’s presence in a building caused by indoor air pollutants. A diagnosable illness caused by an identified agent in the indoor air.
Symptoms Headaches
Eye, nose, throat irritation
Dry cough
Dry or itchy skin
Chest tightness
Muscle aches
Cause Unknown Identified
Symptom after leaving building Relief Require prolong recovery time


Photo-ionization Detector (PID)
A PID is commonly used to measure TVOC mainly because it is the most efficient on the market. It provides instant and continuous readings to the user. However, if there’s a rapid temperature change or humidity level is high, the reading maybe affected.

PID is great for indicating the presence of VOC but it doesn’t identify the exact type of VOC. If a TVOC reading is 200 µg/m3 and increased to 300 µg/m3 the next month, it’s impossible to say the increase was due to formaldehyde. It’s also impossible to identify what combination of VOC made up the TVOC reading.

Ideally, measuring the exact type of VOC and monitoring it is a better practice. Unfortunately, this is not the case due to very high cost and convenience. In the short term, having one instrument to provide a TVOC reading as well as other sensors is less expensive and easier for the technician than to have to carry multiple units for each type of chemical. However, in the long term, if a high reading was detected, it will cost more to solve the problem since the type of VOC needs to be identified before a solution gets established. The technician would need to make a lot of assumptions and do a lot of trial and error runs which could take forever or a more simple method would be to analyze the air samples. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, other costs that get lumped into the problem are evacuation of the occupants, specific VOC detector(s) needs to be purchased, delays of other projects, and the time of all the individuals involved.

Common buildings that should monitor their IAQ include:

  • Hospitals
  • Scientific facilities eg. laboratories
  • School
  • Commercial buildings
  • Warehouses
  • Industrial buildings
  • Parkades
  • Repair shops
  • Food plants
  • Salons & spas
  • Manufacturing Plants
  • Medical Offices
  • Construction sites
  • Transportation facilities
  • And many more…

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing

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Know the Air You’re Breathing: Volatile Organic Compound (2 of 4)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
Chemicals that emit gas are called VOC. Another common term, Total VOC (TVOC) is a combined variety of organic chemicals that emit gas. They are measured in micrograms per meter cubed (µg/m3) of air, parts per million (ppm), or parts per billion (ppb). Most buildings will have TVOC levels ranging from 100-500 µg/m3 (Aerias). Table 1, below, is used as a guide to compare TVOC results with its symptoms.

Table 1: TVOC and Symptoms

TVOC Symptoms
< 200 µg/m3 No irritation or discomfort expected
200 – 3,000 µg/m3 Irritation and discomfort may be possible
3,000 – 25,000 µg/m3 Discomfort expected and headache possible
> 25,000 µg/m3 Toxic range where other neurotoxic effects may occur

Source from Aerias

Concentrations of many VOC are consistently (up to ten times) higher indoors than outdoors (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). Therefore, some VOC are regulated due to its short and long term affects on the health of humans. For example, the most common VOC is formaldehyde. On average, formaldehyde levels measured over a day in Canadian homes were 20-40 μg/m3 (16-32.5 ppb). Daily levels as high as 95 μg/m3 (77 ppb), however, have been recorded (Health Canada, 2009b). This chemical is strictly regulated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) as it has been known to cause cancer. Table 2, below, lists a few common VOC along with the recommended exposure limit (REL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), permissible exposure limit (PEL) of OSHA, identified symptoms if exposed to the chemical and some examples of products that contain the chemical.

Table 2: Common VOC

Chemical Exposure Limit Symptoms A Few Examples
TWA 250 ppm (590 mg/m3)

TWA 1000 ppm (2400 mg/m3)

Eyes/nose/throat irritation
Central nervous system depression
Nail polish remover
Paint thinners
Sanitary cleaner
0.002 mg/m3 [15-min]

TWA 0.05 ppm (0.2 mg/m3)


Lung & lymphatic cancer

Semi-conducting materials
Chemical warfare
TWA 0.1 ppm ST 1 ppm

TWA 1 ppm ST 5 ppm

Eyes/nose/throat irritation


Tobacco smoke
Stored fuel
Paint supplies
Auto emission
Laboratory solvent
TWA 0.016 ppm

TWA 0.75 ppm ST 2 ppm

Eyes/nose/throat irritation

Nasal cancer

Pill capsules
Preservative in vaccines
Pressed wood
Hydrogen Sulfide
10 ppm (15 mg/m3) [10-min]

20 ppm – 50 ppm [10-min max peak]

Eyes/nose/throat irritation
Crude petroleum
Natural gas
Hot springs
Nitric Oxide
TWA 25 ppm (30 mg/m3)

TWA 25 ppm (30 mg/m3)

Eye irritation
Wet skin/nose/throat
Tobacco smoke
Vehicle exhaust
TWA 0.3 ppm (0.4 mg/m3) ST 1 ppm (1 mg/m3)

TWA 0.3 ppm (0.4 mg/m3)

Abdominal pain
Chest tightness
Pulmonary edema
Styrene NIOSH REL:
TWA 50 ppm (215 mg/m3) ST 100 ppm (425 mg/m3)

TWA 100 ppm C 200 ppm 600 ppm (5-min max peak in any 3 hrs)

Eyes/nose irritation
Reproductive effects
Synthetic rubber
Auto and boat parts
Food containers
Carpet backing
TWA 100 ppm (375 mg/m3) ST 150 ppm (560 mg/m3)

TWA 200 ppm C 300 ppm 500 ppm (10-min max peak)

Eyes/nose irritation
Muscle fatigue
Liver/kidney damage
Paint solvents
Silicone sealants
Printing ink
TWA 100 ppm (435 mg/m3) ST 150 ppm (655 mg/m3)

TWA 100 ppm (435 mg/m3)

Eyes/nose/throat/skin irritation
Corneal vacuolization
Abdominal pain
Plastic bottles
Polyester clothing
Cleaning agents
Paint thinner
Paints & varnishes
Concrete sealers

TWA = Time Weighted Average

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing

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Know the Air You’re Breathing (1 of 4)

How concerned are you about your health? Have you ever tried to lose weight, eat healthy, and be active in order to prevent or eliminate any health risks? If so, you’ve left out one critical factor, AIR. Yes, you read it right; it’s the air that you breathe. All these factors contribute to your health and wellbeing. In order to be healthy, you need take control to eliminate or minimize the “bad” and bring in the “good”. This is still possible with your indoor air. So what’s in the air you’re breathing and how can you improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) around you?

What is in the air you’re breathing?
We are constantly exposed to the air that surrounds us regardless if we’re sleeping, working, playing, etc. It’s there 24/7 whether we like it or not. Worst yet, we unconsciously breathe it and bring it into our system with every breath we take. Indoor air pollutants are common but controllable. Sources of indoor air pollutants include, paints, lacquers, paint strippers, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, copiers, printers, correction fluids, carbonless copy paper, clothes, adhesives, permanent markers, and the list goes on. In other words, they are everywhere! All these Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) release gases into the air and contribute to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and Building Related Illness (BRI) and are the primary cause of IAQ problems. Photo-ionization detectors (PID) are used “to get a simple measure of the joint exposures to several VOCs in indoor air” (Berglund, et al., 1997).

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing

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Gas Detectors

CETCI gas detectors are used to detect many different gases. Some of the most common are Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, Ammonia, Chlorine, Ozone, Combustible Gases like Methane and Propane, Oxygen, Refrigerants and more.

IAQ Monitors

The YES Series of IAQ Monitors are essential for those responsible for conducting Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Investigations. These instruments are specifically designed to measure and record the quality of indoor air in offices, buildings, homes, schools, parking garages, ice rinks, etc.