Intuitive Controls, Consumer Readiness Drive the Pursuit for IAQ
Wi-Fi connectivity, humidification, and whole-home air quality are all important to consumers
ORLANDO, Fla. — Once overlooked and rarely considered, IAQ is now a top priority for consumers and is quickly moving to the forefront of their collective minds. Tracking this market, BCC Research estimates the U.S. IAQ market will grow as large as $11.4 billion by 2019.
Manufacturers are addressing this demand head-on by creating and adapting products that are accessible to both contractors and consumers with an eye toward digital displays and functions that can be updated and expanded in the years to come.
“Providing homeowners the peace of mind that the air in their homes is healthy and comfortable is the way to drive value and profit,” said Mike Rimrodt, marketing director for Aprilaire. “Successful contractors understand this and are profiting from by providing Wi-Fi controls for these IAQ accessories.”
“Consumer awareness is increasing the need for air-purification systems,” said Ron Fink, CEO and president of RGF Environmental Group Inc. “Employers, medical facilities, daycare centers, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, and homeowners are much more aware and concerned with air purification and the health benefits it can provide.”
Matt Lawler, product manager for Nu-Calgon, said IAQ is becoming more important every day, and customers are demanding the benefits of clean, odorless air in their homes and businesses.
“We’ve noticed the demand for these types of products continues to increase year over year, and we don’t expect this to change all that much,” he said.
Nu-Calgon’s HVAC Odor Block XL eliminates airborne odors and indoor pollutants from smoke, pets, food, mold, bacteria, and other odor sources. It’s installed in the air handler or return duct and treats the home or building air as it passes through the product.
Bob Elledge, president and CEO of Rotobrush Intl. LLC., said consumers, homeowners, and businesses are becoming more aware of the benefits of duct cleaning and the impact dirty and clogged ducts can have on IAQ.
“People are spending more time indoors in tightly sealed environments, making it critical to keep the air circulating inside at optimum quality,” he said.
With that in mind, Rotobrush launched the BrushBeast duct cleaning system. The BrushBeast gives residential contractors the ability to expand services to commercial customers and offer an effective solution for improving IAQ and a system’s energy efficiency. It has four powerful vacuum motors that are paired with a 450-rpm 102-/220-V brush motor in a portable and compact package that can easily move throughout a home or business.
EFFECTS OF CLEAN AIR
Kevin Graebel, director of residential health and awareness, Honeywell Intl. Inc., believes the negative effects of low humidity, such as dry skin, chapped lips, and static shocks, are going to force the hands of both residential and commercial contractors.
“A recent study completed by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] showed that establishing relative humidity above 40 percent in a space can significantly reduce the airborne transmission of the influenza virus,” he said. “In the cold, dry winter months, this level is often only reachable with a whole-home steam humidifier, so Honeywell is focused on innovation that makes this option available and affordable for families.”
That option comes in the form of an Electrode Humidifier with the HumidiPRO™ Digital Humidity Control. The Electrode Humidifier generates steam, which makes it possible to add humidity to a home even if the furnace isn’t running. This unit provides up to 22 gallons per day of humidity and uses a disposable canister for simplified annual maintenance.
“Based on customer feedback, we know that home comfort and health are critically important,” said Graebel. “We expect to see this trend continue in 2016, particularly from the perspective of what impact humidity can have on health.”
RGF Environmental continues to create residential and commercial IAQ solutions, including the QUAD-DM™ Ion Generator, which was designed specifically for in-duct HVAC systems. The unit produces bi-polar ions in an air conditioned space and features quad ion emitters for quad polar ionization. The unique design of the unit uses separated polarized ion emitters and the Bernoulli Effect for efficient ion dispersion and mixing. The QUAD-DM is used to reduce particulates, allergens, smoke, bacteria, and mold spores and generally cleanses the air in the air conditioned space.
“[The QUAD-DM Ion Generator] is in response to our budget-minded customers who have higher particulate issues in their homes or facilities and are seeking a more economical solution to clean the air,” said Fink. “As a result, our engineers developed a highly effective quad polar ionizer.”
EASE OF ACCESS
Beyond the importance of consumer awareness is ensuring those same consumers are able to properly utilize IAQ products once they have them. For manufacturers, this means creating products that have a certain ease of access without sacrificing necessary features or standards that users have come to expect.
Aprilaire is focusing on blending its IAQ products with its Wi-Fi thermostat controls. “They provide a unique opportunity for contractors to establish a relationship with homeowners that promotes add-on sales of IAQ products, repeat business, and continued satisfaction,” said Rimrodt. “Consumers can control all aspects of IAQ from anywhere on a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer [PC]. From the home screen, users have quick access to view and adjust air purity, fresh air, humidity, and temperature. Contractors are being asked about Wi-Fi controls more often, the demand
E Instruments Intl. LLC’s 2016 AQ Comfort IAQ monitor further shows the industry’s push to place consumers in charge of their IAQ. The product allows a user to measure CO2 and CO gases; monitor temperature, dew point, and wet bulb; perform real-time data logging; and provide a comfort audit. It has a li-ion rechargeable battery and comes in a compact, handheld unit.
Jason Estevez, product manager, E Instruments Intl., said consumer demand and budding technologies are driving factors in the IAQ market.
GrayWolf Sensing Solutions LLC’s AdvancedSense® Pro Portable Air Quality Data Collection Meter Plus is an example of the aforementioned budding technology, utilizing a built-in camera and touchscreen. This allows photos and videos to be added directly to data files on-site and included in printed reports. The product also has optional remote access to data and alert notifications.
Clearly, the push for interconnectivity and approachability will continue to be key aspects of the HVAC IAQ market as it expands in the next several years.
Publication date: 2/22/2016