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Article

Intercomparison of PurpleAir Sensor Performance over Three Years Indoors and Outdoors at a Home: Bias, Precision, and Limit of Detection Using an Improved Algorithm for Calculating PM2.5

Independent Researcher, Santa Rosa, CA 95409, USA
Academic Editor: Simone Morais
Sensors 2022, 22(7), 2755; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22072755
Received: 5 February 2022 / Revised: 29 March 2022 / Accepted: 31 March 2022 / Published: 2 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sensing)
Low-cost particle sensors are now used worldwide to monitor outdoor air quality. However, they have only been in wide use for a few years. Are they reliable? Does their performance deteriorate over time? Are the algorithms for calculating PM2.5 concentrations provided by the sensor manufacturers accurate? We investigate these questions using continuous measurements of four PurpleAir monitors (8 sensors) under normal conditions inside and outside a home for 1.5–3 years. A recently developed algorithm (called ALT-CF3) is compared to the two existing algorithms (CF1 and CF_ATM) provided by the Plantower manufacturer of the PMS 5003 sensors used in PurpleAir PA-II monitors. Results. The Plantower CF1 algorithm lost 25–50% of all indoor data due in part to the practice of assigning zero to all concentrations below a threshold. None of these data were lost using the ALT-CF3 algorithm. Approximately 92% of all data showed precision better than 20% using the ALT-CF3 algorithm, but only approximately 45–75% of data achieved that level using the Plantower CF1 algorithm. The limits of detection (LODs) using the ALT-CF3 algorithm were mostly under 1 µg/m3, compared to approximately 3–10 µg/m3 using the Plantower CF1 algorithm. The percentage of observations exceeding the LOD was 53–92% for the ALT-CF3 algorithm, but only 16–44% for the Plantower CF1 algorithm. At the low indoor PM2.5 concentrations found in many homes, the Plantower algorithms appear poorly suited. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-cost particle monitors; PurpleAir; PM2.5; ALT-CF3; CF1; precision; limit of detection; Plantower; PMS-5003 sensors low-cost particle monitors; PurpleAir; PM2.5; ALT-CF3; CF1; precision; limit of detection; Plantower; PMS-5003 sensors
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wallace, L. Intercomparison of PurpleAir Sensor Performance over Three Years Indoors and Outdoors at a Home: Bias, Precision, and Limit of Detection Using an Improved Algorithm for Calculating PM2.5. Sensors 2022, 22, 2755. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22072755

AMA Style

Wallace L. Intercomparison of PurpleAir Sensor Performance over Three Years Indoors and Outdoors at a Home: Bias, Precision, and Limit of Detection Using an Improved Algorithm for Calculating PM2.5. Sensors. 2022; 22(7):2755. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22072755

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wallace, Lance. 2022. "Intercomparison of PurpleAir Sensor Performance over Three Years Indoors and Outdoors at a Home: Bias, Precision, and Limit of Detection Using an Improved Algorithm for Calculating PM2.5" Sensors 22, no. 7: 2755. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22072755

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