Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are often confused or used beside each other. But there is a big difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. With the pandemic of COVID-19 and the prevention of aerosols being spread, ventilation has become a commonly used advice by doctors, governments and health organisations. The measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) by CO2 meters has become a significant factor in the ventilation advice.

What is Carbon dioxide?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a smell and colourless gas with a density of about 60% higher than dry air. Carbon dioxide is the gross formula of an inorganic connection between oxygen and carbon. Although carbon dioxide mostly comes in a gas structure, it also has a liquid and a solid form. CO2 can only be liquid if the temperature is below -78 degrees Celsius. Liquid Carbon Dioxide happens when Carbon Dioxide is dissolved in water. Without CO2, life on earth would not be possible.

More information about carbon dioxide? Read our blog on 3 things to know about carbon dioxide

What is Carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide is toxic to animals that use haemoglobin as an oxygen carrier (both invertebrate and vertebrate) when encountered in concentrations above 35 ppm. However, it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities and is thought to have some normal biological functions. In the atmosphere, CO is spatially variable and short-lived, having a role in forming ground-level ozone.

When exposed to too much carbon monoxide, you can have the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

The difference between Carbon dioxide and Carbon monoxide

The difference between carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) is that:

  • Carbon monoxide (co) is a flammable gas. Carbon dioxide is not.
  • Carbon monoxide (co) is a fatal gas for humans and animals.
  • Carbon dioxide (co2) is the gas that humans in- and exhale.
  • Both gasses are odourless, and cant be smelled