Why Does my Air Quality Monitor Show 0 VOCs or Formaldehyde, but There are Still Smells in My Room?

The fact that there are still smells in the room, even though your air quality monitor is showing no VOCs could be an issue with the VOC monitor itself. It’s possible that:

  1. Your VOC monitor CANNOT detect all types of gases you can smell.

There are hundreds of different gases that make up the group we collective call ‘VOCs’. It’s possible that your VOC monitor is set up or calibrated to detect only a small selection or group of them. You may be smelling a gas that the VOC monitor is unable to detect.

2. Your VOC monitor is unable to detect the low levels of VOCs in your room.

A human’s nose is incredibly sensitive to smells and therefore incredibly good at detecting gases and VOCs. Scientists have found that the nose can detect formaldehyde levels down to 0.1 parts per million. It’s possible that your nose is actually more sensitive than the VOC monitor itself. So that despite the number reading 0 on your device, there are still VOCs or other gases present in the air.

What to do if you can still smell VOCs even when your VOC or formaldehyde monitor shows 0?

If you’re facing this situation, we recommend airing out the room further, or running the air purifier with carbon filter for a longer period of time.

Learn more: what are carbon filters and do they work »
Learn more: why formaldehyde and VOC detectors are not accurate »


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