Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A guest blog post by Tony Valentino, Director of Sales and Marketing, with Webb Supply, and the second article in our two-part series on home indoor air quality.
Once again another winter falls upon us and with that we start to close up our homes, at least in most parts of the country. Either way it’s time to start thinking of our heating systems to get ready for the season. If you’ve been thinking about your heating system at all (many do not), you’ve probably been thinking of changing the filter and maybe getting a proactive ‘tune up.’
Why do we do these things? First, to help the system run optimally/efficiently. Second, to preserve the unit’s lifespan. And third, to help remove ‘bad stuff’ from the air in our home. It’s this last dimension I’d like to focus on today.
Now that subject “indoor air quality” can be taken into many directions and can mean a number of different things to the average homeowner but, for this conversation I’m going to break it down into two areas: Air Filtration (aka Air Cleaning) and Air Purification. Most people think these are the same thing, but they are very different.
Air Filtration (aka Air Cleaning) Methods
Let’s start with the most common, air filtration. A typical home or apartment has a forced air heating & cooling system, blowing conditioned air through ductwork and out air vents located in various rooms of the home. All these systems have some sort of air filter, whether it is the most basic filter you buy for a couple bucks at the local hardware store or, a more efficient air filter such as a media style or electronic air cleaner.
The primary purpose of any filter is to keep your heating and cooling system cleaner internally, maximizing it’s efficiency and in the process will also help in reducing airborne particulate (dust, dander etc.) from being recirculated throughout the home.
No matter how efficient the filtration or, regardless of the cost to install, these units will only clean what the heating and cooling system brings back through it via the duct system.
Air Purification Methods
Air purification systems on the other hand, are designed for a different purpose with different results. Most common among these is the UV Light (Ultra Violet). Installed in the system ductwork, these units can be very effective at killing bacteria, molds and fungus but, will only destroy these organisms when in very close contact to the UV light for a determined amount of time.
One alternative to the standard UV light are units that use advanced oxidation technology (Photohydroionization). This utilizes a type of UV light technology to produce “friendly oxidizers” (Hydroperoxides) that travel through the air ducts to kill or reduce microbes and gases in the conditioned space. The best analogy to describe the difference is a mouse trap verses a cat: one waits for the mouse the other goes out and hunts for it.
The latest UV air purifiers that use this technology literally go throughout your home and ‘hunt down’ the bacteria, mold and fungus that can be making your family sick.
It’s difficult to describe in this short blog all of the different products on the market today but, what I can provide you is my personal and professional preference for indoor air quality. On typical forced air heating and cooling systems I recommend a media style air filter with a high Merv rating (this measures the filters effectiveness, the higher the number the higher the efficiency). In addition to this filter I would add a unit that utilizes photohydroionization to proactively kill microbes and purify the air in my entire home while keeping my ductwork free of these microorganisms.
Question for Tony? Feel free to contact him at 216-289-7400 or email@example.com