Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)


Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Document Type



Indoor air quality (IAQ) is adversely affected by both indoor and outdoor environments, and rental homes occupied by low-income families suffer the most. Poor indoor air can be detrimental to the health of occupants, especially for susceptible populations like those with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Although IAQ monitoring is necessary, it is a challenging, costly, and time-intensive task. Moreover, the protocol for assessing IAQ in residential settings varies, and additional research is needed to establish a standard operating procedure that incorporates new monitoring technologies, such as low-cost air sensors. However, there is a dearth of comprehensive, evidence-based protocols for assessing IAQ that utilize low-cost air sensors.

This thesis investigates the feasibility of using multichannel low-cost air sensors to monitor IAQ in five single-family residences with pediatric asthma patients and proposes appropriate standard operating guidelines to ensure accurate and reliable measurements of IAQ parameters. The findings of the study indicate that low-cost air sensors can detect trends in residential indoor air pollution levels such as PM2.5, CO2, NO2, CO, O3, TVOCs, temperature, and humidity. Notably, CO2, PM2.5, and temperature exceeded or deviated from the recommended IAQ levels in the six rooms tested. With indoor PM2.5 as a case study, findings from the proposed guideline highlighted a consistent approach for defining the sampling objective, sensor selection, and placement, an alternative for determining the required sampling duration while maintaining comprehensive data collection, analysis, and quality assurance. With recommended levels exceeding 15μg/m³ in four of the rooms, the highest 90th percentile, daily minutes of PM2.5 concentration exceeding 15μg/m³, and daily average for PM2.5 concentrations in this study were 109μg/m³, 1434 minutes, and 83μg/m³. Temporal analysis revealed evenly distributed PM2.5 concentration for four of the rooms while spikes were observed for R1 at 10:00 and 22:00 -23:00, and R5 between 7:00 – 12:00.

This study highlights the significance of employing low-cost air sensors to provide real-time notifications of IAQ, along with simplified monitoring guidelines for researchers, healthcare providers, and parents working to improve IAQ for households with asthmatic children, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks and improving the quality of life.



Committee Chair

Ikuma, Laura