Advanced Building Diagnostics The Future of Comfort
Clean Air 101
Filtration and Beyond - SEPARATING THE HYPE FROM THE REALITY
Fact # 1 -
Contrary to all the hype some info-mercial is spewing, NOTHING IS GOING TO FIX ALL YOUR PROBLEMS - not even better, fresher air to breathe. I know. I know. That air purifier they're selling can even cure baldness, but that's only in the universe of "UNreality". Time to come back to this universe - "REALITY". Reality is a more complex place to exist, but it's real, and real solutions are what we look for when it comes to air quality. So here's the real story.
Air is made up of a number of gases and the one we're most interested in is oxygen.We need it to stay alive, pretty important!Unfortunately, there are other things that get mixed into the air we breathe.Some of the gases which may not be healthy for us, such as carbon monoxide (a killer if the concentration is high enough!) are also in the air.
Particulates (bits and pieces of just about everything) such as soot, pollen, dirt, skin cells, you name it - if it can become airborne - it's in there.We use filtration to get rid of some of this floating garbage dump.
But, there are things that are even smaller and more harmful - bacteria and viruses, just to name two.And don't forget those other gases.To remove some, you need special filters.Others, such as carbon monoxide are best handled (in the home and most buildings) by prevention and detection.A carbon monoxide detector is a cheap investment when weighed against dying.
On the other hand, there are VOC's (volatile organic compounds) that are given off by carpets, upholstery, paints and other building materials.These are difficult and expensive to even attempt to filter from your environment, yet they can be harmful with prolonged exposure. Where do we find the highest concentrations? Indoors, and where do we spend most of our time?Indoors!
Fact # 2 - There is no silver bullet, but there are things which we can do to improve the quality of the air you breathe.Like steps that elevate you and move you closer to a goal, so there are steps you can take to improve your air quality.
Filtration: The filtration that is needed depends on the contaminants in your environment. In a home there may be pets, children, smokers, indoor plants, etc. - you may be in the country, city or an industrial area. In a commercial building the choice of filtration is much more complex due to the great diversity of contaminants, but the same principle applies. Good filtration is a win-win situation. You, your employees, residents (in institutional settings) breathe cleaner air. Sensitive equipment and work areas stay cleaner, requiring less maintenance. Your air conditioning system stays cleaner, runs more efficiently and lasts longer.All this adds up to saving money!
So, how do you choose?Good filtration is not a table top air purifier next to your desk or in the employee lounge, nor is it a $.50 filter from the grocery store for your A/C system. The best solution is to filter the air before it even gets into the room.Fact is, most systems don't even have enough room for proper filters.High quality filters in the proper size (capacity) usually require a professional to size and install.But what you require is as individual as your home or business - people with allergies would require a higher quality filtering system, and the contaminates present in the air will affect the choice.
Basic Rules for Choosing Your Filtration
The filtration must remove contaminants to at least 3 microns in size.This takes care of 90% of what is in the average air system. (i.e. pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores, etc.)
The filtration must not restrict air flow beyond the system's fan capacity to move the correct amount of air.For example: a piece of cardboard is an excellent filter.It filters 100% of particulates in the air but no air will flow through it either!A filter must be of adequate size and quality to allow air to pass through but not the contaminants.
The filter must seal properly in the filter rack, so that no air is bypassing it.
These three areas are where 99% of filtration problems occur.Not enough filter area and poor quality which allows everything but the largest contaminants to pass through, are usually the first areas addressed. The third area is almost always overlooked and can allow large volumes of contaminants into the indoor environment. Proper seals around the filter must be in place or even the best filter cannot do it's job.
We need and want clean air.
Refer to the basic rules above when deciding on what filtration to use.
Hire a professional to choose and size the filtration for your home or commercial building
Note:In residential settings, inadequate filter racks are the norm and the only way to correct the problem is to call a professional to upgrade your system.The cost associated can pay for itself in improved air quality with the benefits of a cleaner home and less allergies and energy savings (another topic for another day).
What's Out There?
Professionally installed, drawer type, filter cabinets with 4 or 6 inch pleated filters are excellent in removal of contaminants and pack a lot of surface area into a small space.In addition, they only have to be changed once or twice a year in most residential settings. For commercial applications, custom designed filter racks and filter media combinations are available. Electrostatic filters have their place, but only the 'in-duct' type that are true electrostatic.These have power applied in order to produce the electrostatic affect.Anything else, well, let the buyer beware!
Bypass type filters, which filter a portion of the air stream on each pass through the system.These are a step up, usually in the quality of filtration obtained.Although more expensive, they can offer some of the highest ratings because they don't interfere with the air flow of the system.
What about the rest of the stuff that's in the air?Specifically, the viruses and bacteria, the VOC's. They pass right through most filters and a filtration system to handle them would be cost prohibitive to most home-owners and building owners.An effective step in handling these contaminants is the use of a process called photo-hydro-ionization.This is a device that delivers a wave of molecules which combine with and destroy the contaminants, in the process breaking them down, leaving only inert material on the microscopic level.The device is installed in the supply duct of a home or commercial building's A/C system.The air of the entire area served by the system is treated.There is no noise, and no hazardous chemicals are injected or sprayed into the air.An ultraviolet bulb with a special metal catalyst enclosure are the main components of the device.With the use of this technology, the air in the home or commercial building is treated 24/7 as the molecules formed by the device circulate through the home and destroy the offending contaminants. An additional benefit is odor control. Odors are destroyed and we smell only the clean air we want and need. Want to know more? Just click on 21st century air cleaning.
This is your one-two punch.With proper filtration and active photo hydro ionization technology working together, you breathe fresher, safer air.This is an investment which pays off in energy savings and a cleaner, healthier home or work environment.
We can size and install filtration and the newest air cleaning technologyspecific to your needs for a cleaner, healthier indoor environment. Ready to get started? Call us today for a free phone consultation.
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Advanced Building Diagnostics
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