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Bangkok Air Pollution 2020

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Absolutely disgusting today!

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1 hour ago, Pravda said:

Absolutely disgusting today!

Agreed. I believe I have a hypothesis to explain this. Remember when we got a moderate/good spell last week? The winds were southerly, coming from the Bay of Bangkok but, as opposed to today, they were coming from the west, over the Thai/Myanmar peninsula and, as I recall, there were relatively few fires on the peninsula.

 

Today, again we have the southerly winds from the Bay of Bangkok except that today they are being fed primarily from the easterly winds over south Cambodia and Vietnam and around the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia. Below, I have posted an air quality presentation from the real-time VentUSky site (second image, below). It shows not only the winds, but the pollution levels. The Bay of Bangkok is indicated to have a couple of high pollution spots - no doubt caused by intense burning in Cambodia. The FIRMS site (third image, below) indicates a high number of fires approximately at the same latitude as the Bay of Bangkok high pollution areas (second image). There are also a fairly high number of fires surrounding Bangkok (third image, below).

 

Bottom line is my hypothesis is that we're breathing, to a large degree, smoke from Cambodia and Vietnam which is being driven to Bangkok by easterly winds from the two countries which rotate to become a southerly winds over the Bay of Bangkok. This is, of course, adding to the quiescent pollution generated by fires, motor vehicles and industry (probably generating a perpetual "moderate/yellow" level)

 

RTAQ_022520_0730.jpeg.3b3e81f1c0d586f0f10c6ec2a6a5b4d8.jpeg

 

VUS_022520_1000.jpeg.ec0edbf7eeed8b76eb3004dc334c005f.jpeg

 

FIRMS_022520_1020.jpeg.593af82268e5406197c4b85bcc994481.jpeg

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Walking down Sukhumvit this afternoon, PM2.5 detector flashed red the whole walk, maxing out out at 160 = AQI 210

 

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On 2/24/2020 at 10:01 AM, Misty said:

Dave, been able to replace central air conditioning in most rooms in our apartment with wall units and purifiers. This works quite well for the rooms so equipped. But the last room is a large living/dining area, which still has 3 old central air conditioners which our landlord will not replace.  As soon as any of these units are turned on, the PM2.5 levels in that room immediately start to rise - so we limit their use and focus on electric fans.  Still, it can get hot. My options, as I see it, are to either replace one more more of the central units with a wall unit myself. Alternatively just get a small portable air conditioner that sits near where ever the people in that room are located.  Any thoughts on these ideas (or any others)?

Sounds like you have a big place with a lot going on.  I know the answer in the USA - air handlers usually come equipped with filters on the intake (suction) side cleaning the air before it goes into the fan aka blower.  In the US, you just put a filter in there.  If you want 4" HEPA filter, you can have AC guy rework the sheetmetal to include that larger filter.

Sorry, but I don't know much about Thai installations.  Many condos/apartments/homes I have seen are leaky.  I would start with a inexpensive meter to see how the inside air is compared with outside (with purifier running).  Sndway meter is fine, but not shipping from China right now AFIK.

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On 2/24/2020 at 8:15 AM, mtls2005 said:

AQI forecast for this week looks dismal...no clue how accurate that forecast is though.

image.png.477d4c81efec118961d5cdb96d987214.png

Has anyone looked at the accuracy of these pollution forecasts, and could share an opinion?  They seem suspect to me.  As Max wrote, wind blowing East fire areas mixes with low velocity clean air from the South ocean .... and AQI suffers.   If Thursday and Friday hit Purple (~250 AQI), almost everybody starts getting sick.

I have not found a great wind forecast site yet.  I think wind forecast (velocity and direction) is key to a good pollution forecast.

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34 minutes ago, DaveInSukhumvit said:

Has anyone looked at the accuracy of these pollution forecasts, and could share an opinion?  They seem suspect to me.  As Max wrote, wind blowing East fire areas mixes with low velocity clean air from the South ocean .... and AQI suffers.   If Thursday and Friday hit Purple (~250 AQI), almost everybody starts getting sick.

I have not found a great wind forecast site yet.  I think wind forecast (velocity and direction) is key to a good pollution forecast.

I've never put any stock in the forecasts because I didn't and still don't see on what basis they are made. I've never taken the time to record the forecasts and compare them to what happened. My gut tells me that they have not been accurate just from a very cursory memory of what they were and the real-world readings. I'd love to discuss this with the forecasters (to find out what kind of darts/target they are using 😁).

 

I guess that since you have pointed out Thursday and Friday, we'll see.

 

PS: I have a new set of Bangkok AQI/wind/fire readings from around midnight that seem to explain why the AQ improved late yesterday evening from Unhealthy/Red to Orange/Unhealthy for Sensitives that we're seeing today (up until 9AM anyway - it's a dynamic situation). I'll post them.

 

The wind had shifted from going directly to the west from Cambodia to sort of a wrap-around (skirting) Cambodia and Vietnam before proceeding to the north. The pollution level over the Bay of Bangkok (according to Venusky) also reflects this change.

Edited by MaxYakov

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18 hours ago, DaveInSukhumvit said:

Sounds like you have a big place with a lot going on.  I know the answer in the USA - air handlers usually come equipped with filters on the intake (suction) side cleaning the air before it goes into the fan aka blower.  In the US, you just put a filter in there.  If you want 4" HEPA filter, you can have AC guy rework the sheetmetal to include that larger filter.

Sorry, but I don't know much about Thai installations.  Many condos/apartments/homes I have seen are leaky.  I would start with a inexpensive meter to see how the inside air is compared with outside (with purifier running).  Sndway meter is fine, but not shipping from China right now AFIK.

Thanks very much for your thoughts.  Thanks to all the upgrades I've made over the last two years, most rooms in our place measure low on my Sndway meter.  Even the big room usually measures low, unless we turn on the old central air conditioners that still exist in that room. I did ask our Thai building manager about installing filters on the intake side for those units, but they said the units are too old and not the same as the US.  So we're left with either no air, or paying to replace those old units ourselves.  Will have to study this some more to see what is most cost effective.  Just getting a small portable a/c is appealing since its cheap.

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32 minutes ago, Misty said:

Thanks very much for your thoughts.  Thanks to all the upgrades I've made over the last two years, most rooms in our place measure low on my Sndway meter.  Even the big room usually measures low, unless we turn on the old central air conditioners that still exist in that room. I did ask our Thai building manager about installing filters on the intake side for those units, but they said the units are too old and not the same as the US.  So we're left with either no air, or paying to replace those old units ourselves.  Will have to study this some more to see what is most cost effective.  Just getting a small portable a/c is appealing since its cheap.

My landlord replaced my dinosaur bedroom with a new, common-variety unit (balcony compressor-fan/ceiling evaporator-fan) and my electricity usage/costs dropped by at least 50%. I did some research on portable units some time back and the thing that stood out in my mind (today) was the advice that a portable unit has to have a way to divert the heat to outside the room or it won't be as effective. A cheap unit may not have the necessary hose/pipe to do this hot air diversion (if my memory serves me). Heat dissipation is why the compressor-fan component of the common-variety, refrigerant-based A/C units are placed outside.

 

PS: I've always kept my refrigerator on the balcony wherever I've lived to dissipate its generated heat to outside air rather than into my room(s). Yeah, it's a little inconvenient, but keeps my electricity costs down and my rooms cooler when the A/C is not being used (very common with me this winter).

 

I've taken a multitude of actions that people would probably not believe to keep my electricity costs down. Last month (December) my electricity was only 595 [email protected] baht/kWh (< $20 USD) and I didn't suffer much AND am breathing extremely clean air (001 PM 2.5) at the same time.

 

 

 

 

Edited by MaxYakov
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5 hours ago, MaxYakov said:

My landlord replaced my dinosaur bedroom with a new, common-variety unit (balcony compressor-fan/ceiling evaporator-fan) and my electricity usage/costs dropped by at least 50%. I did some research on portable units some time back and the thing that stood out in my mind (today) was the advice that a portable unit has to have a way to divert the heat to outside the room or it won't be as effective. A cheap unit may not have the necessary hose/pipe to do this hot air diversion (if my memory serves me). Heat dissipation is why the compressor-fan component of the common-variety, refrigerant-based A/C units are placed outside.

 

PS: I've always kept my refrigerator on the balcony wherever I've lived to dissipate its generated heat to outside air rather than into my room(s). Yeah, it's a little inconvenient, but keeps my electricity costs down and my rooms cooler when the A/C is not being used (very common with me this winter).

 

I've taken a multitude of actions that people would probably not believe to keep my electricity costs down. Last month (December) my electricity was only 595 [email protected] baht/kWh (< $20 USD) and I didn't suffer much AND am breathing extremely clean air (001 PM 2.5) at the same time.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this MaxYakov, very helpful. Maybe the portable unit isn't the answer here.   I wish I could get our PM 2.5 numbers down to 001 - probably our place is too big, so I remain okay with single digits during peak smog periods (but can get zero in off smog).  The exception is the big room - it's usually in the teens, and will go up to 35-ish if one of the central air con units is started up. 

 

Went to HomePro today and requested a site survey from their technicians.  My idea is to replace one of the central air units in the big room with a wall unit, and limit our use to just that one - and only when it's really hot.

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6 hours ago, DaveInSukhumvit said:

Has anyone looked at the accuracy of these pollution forecasts, and could share an opinion?  They seem suspect to me.  As Max wrote, wind blowing East fire areas mixes with low velocity clean air from the South ocean .... and AQI suffers.   If Thursday and Friday hit Purple (~250 AQI), almost everybody starts getting sick.

I have not found a great wind forecast site yet.  I think wind forecast (velocity and direction) is key to a good pollution forecast.

 

Somehow, AQICN.org seems to be predicting BKK PM2.5 levels for Thur and Fri of up to 248 AQI...  In the two or so years I've been monitoring this closely, I don't think I've ever seen BKK at large hit a pollution level that high.

 

143627803_2020-02-2616_40_46.jpg.9cbac39e284e2b9fcc984ab3bb1d46a6.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Misty said:

... The exception is the big room - it's usually in the teens, and will go up to 35-ish if one of the central air con units is started up. 

 

Went to HomePro today and requested a site survey from their technicians.  My idea is to replace one of the central air units in the big room with a wall unit, and limit our use to just that one - and only when it's really hot.

Have you learned why using aircon increases the particle count?  Earlier in this topic I mentioned that I find whenever I use my aircon my Sndway monitor shows an increase.  I have modern Daikin units (one upper wall output for each room with compressors on the balcony) and my understanding is they aren't supposed to suck in dirty air from outside, just keep re-circulating the existing room air.  I've had the filters cleaned by Daikin recently but the problem remains.

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11 minutes ago, TerraplaneGuy said:

Have you learned why using aircon increases the particle count?  Earlier in this topic I mentioned that I find whenever I use my aircon my Sndway monitor shows an increase.  I have modern Daikin units (one upper wall output for each room with compressors on the balcony) and my understanding is they aren't supposed to suck in dirty air from outside, just keep re-circulating the existing room air.  I've had the filters cleaned by Daikin recently but the problem remains.

Only the central air conditioner units in the big room seem to increase the particle count. They are drawing in air from above the ceiling, which has a space connected to the lift area outside of our unit and also space in the unit next door (why we sometimes smell broccoli cooking next door).  I want to close all that off and just install a wall units.

 

The wall units in my other rooms seem to lower the particle count, maybe because of filtrete paper I change regularly.

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21 minutes ago, TerraplaneGuy said:
1 hour ago, Misty said:

... The exception is the big room - it's usually in the teens, and will go up to 35-ish if one of the central air con units is started up. 

 

Went to HomePro today and requested a site survey from their technicians.  My idea is to replace one of the central air units in the big room with a wall unit, and limit our use to just that one - and only when it's really hot.

Have you learned why using aircon increases the particle count?  Earlier in this topic I mentioned that I find whenever I use my aircon my Sndway monitor shows an increase.  I have modern Daikin units (one upper wall output for each room with compressors on the balcony) and my understanding is they aren't supposed to suck in dirty air from outside, just keep re-circulating the existing room air.  I've had the filters cleaned by Daikin recently but the problem remains.

I would place money that's it's the change in humidity caused by the A/C affecting the Sndway monitor. (I would think reduction of humidity because evaporator units have a condensation water catcher and drain - typically to the balcony) a PDF article on this very subject is HERE.

 

 

 

Edited by MaxYakov

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1 hour ago, MaxYakov said:

I would place money that's it's the change in humidity caused by the A/C affecting the Sndway monitor. (I would think reduction of humidity because evaporator units have a condensation water catcher and drain - typically to the balcony) a PDF article on this very subject is HERE.

 

 

 

Well don't bet too much. I've checked in past to see if the humidity on my Sndway goes noticeably up with the aircon and haven't seen that.  I'll try it again though.  But your thought that there would be a reduction in humidity caused by aircon seems contrary to my observation that particle count goes up with aircon.  I have read that aircon can actually increase humidity, from blowback from the condensation and that's why they include a dehumidify mode on many (there is one on mine) which turns off the fan when the cooling process is not active (i. e. when temperature has reached the desired low level). 

Edited by TerraplaneGuy

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