Why is Air Quality Important?
When we talk about the environment and air quality, our thoughts first go to outdoor pollution. But what about the quality of air indoors? Air quality is an important factor to consider for your health and comfort indoors. Chemicals, dust, dander, and mold can be circulating throughout your home or building leading to health conditions and respiratory disease.
What can you do to improve the air quality for your home? The answer is air purifiers. Air purifiers come in a variety of technologies and work to rid the air of chemical and dust particles to make the air in your home cleaner. This is very important to look into if you have pets, asthma or other respiratory issues, are a smoker, or if you live in an area where there are high amounts of dust or air pollution in the outside air.
There are six groups of indoor air pollution:
Group one: bacteria, mold, dust mites, animal dander
Group two: plastics, pesticides, flame retardants
Group three: composite wood products, furnishings, perma-press fabrics
Group four: solvents, glues, cleaning agents, paint, etc.
Group five: cooking, candles, aerosol sprays, house dust, etc.
Group six: cooking, wood burning
Air Cleaning Technologies
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that the air inside your home can become polluted, so how do you decide which air purifier is right for you? First, we need to look at the different technologies that are used to purify indoor air.
Most homes these days have an HVAC system that circulates air throughout rooms. HVAC systems contain filters near the return air vent. These filters catch particles in the air before the air is heated or cooled and then circulated throughout your home. Air Filters can vary in type and material for air purifying needs, but often affect airflow if they are made of material that is too dense. If your airflow is inhibited, it can lead to problems with your HVAC system’s efficiency.
Fibrous Media Air Filters
Similar to HVAC filters, some filtration systems use dense fibrous media with high MERV ratings to remove chemical and biological particles from the air. These filters can be combined in a purification system that is added to your HVAC system or as a separate portable filter for specific rooms.
Electrostatic Pecipitators & Ionizers
Electrostatic precipitators remove particles by using electrostatic charging to charge particles that become attracted to and stick to oppositely-charged metal plates or wires. Ionizers use filters and emit a charge that draws particles in the air to attach to oppositely-charged surfaces. Ionizers are commonly used in room air purifiers.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
These devices use Ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria in the air as it is pushed through your ducts and distributed throughout your home.
Portable Air Cleaners
Portable room air cleaners are electric devices that can be moved to specific rooms to remove dust and pollen from the air. Since these are electric appliances, they can use a lot on energy to run.
How Air Purifiers Work
HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air”. Also known as particulate air filters, HEPA air purifiers are made of several pleated filters held together by a frame. Air is pushed through these fiber glass or polypropylene fabric material filters to catch large particles such as hair and dust mites, and small particles like pet dander and chemicals.
The unit of measurement for particles is a micron. HEPA filters are designed to remove 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. Most particles that are smaller than 1 micron cannot be seen with the naked eye and cause the most respiratory and health problems.
The highest MERV rating possible is 18, and true HEPA filters are rated at 17 on the MERV scale. This high efficiency in removing the most dangerous particles from the air makes it the method recommended by leading government agencies.
Electrostatic Air Purifiers
In these types of purifiers, air is passed through a series of plates that are electrically charged. The first set plates that the air passes through are negatively charged, and they charge any particle in the air with that same negative charge. These negatively-charged particles are then passed through a second set of plates that are positively charged. The negatively-charged particles attract to the positive charge of the plates and then stick to the plates.
Since there are no filters involved in electrostatic air purifiers, you won’t need to replace any components and they tend to be quieter. These purifiers have a MERV rating of 1 and are not very good at removing small allergens from the air but can be good for removing odors. These devices do require frequent cleaning as the plates can get dirty and become less efficient and can also cause secondary pollution of ozone and formaldehyde.
Ionizers are similar to electrostatic purifiers in that they negatively charge the particles in the air. These devices do not contain a second set of plates, so the negatively-charged particles simply attach themselves to various surfaces around the room that are positively-charged, removing them from the air.
Although Ionizers are very quiet and affordable, they have a rating of MERV 1 and are inefficient at removing allergens, mold, or smoke from the air. They also have the potential to produce secondary pollutants such as ozone.
UV Air Purifiers
These purifiers use UV-C light’s germicidal effect to sterilize particles in the air or disinfect areas that have water. UV Air purifiers are commonly placed in ducts of HVAC systems where water may be found to prevent mold from growing.
UV light has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses, but needs a sufficient contact time to do so. This means that if the particles are passing too fast or the UV light is not big enough, it may not be as efficient at sterilizing these particles. UV air purifiers are ideally used in combination with HEPA filtration devices for the best effect, or can be place on the coil of an HVAC system to prevent mold from growing.
Products We Use
Air Scrubber by Aerus
The Air Scrubber by Aerus is a device that is installed in the duct or plenum of your HVAC system and uses a UV light bulb and photocatalyst target to purify the air that is circulated in your home.
Trane CleanEffects is a whole house purifier that uses patented breakthrough technology that is scientifically proven to reduce exposure to asthma and allergy triggers.
Traditional High MERV filters can obstruct airflow while removing particles from the air, causing a pressure drop that can affect the efficiency of your HVAC system and decrease the amount of air that gets cleaned. Trane CleanEffects uses ifD technology that charges incoming air particles to stick to collection cells in the purifier. This system is designed to be quiet and allow air to flow freely so that your HVAC system doesn’t have to work harder.
Trane CleanEffects can trap particles as small as 0.1 micron, making it more effective than HEPA filters and 100x for effective than standard HVAC filters. This device also produces no more air pollutants than already in the atmosphere and has been designed to adhere to emission standards and FDA sets.
Call us today to ask us about our products and to schedule a FREE ESTIMATE for your new air purification system!