Asthma, Allergies, And IAQ Products

March 11, 2003
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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergies and asthma afflict about 57 million Americans. Both have been associated with the increasing amount of time we spend indoors, both at work and at home; the tightness of modern buildings; and with insufficient ventilation.

Asthma sufferers in particular can be affected by pollutants such as secondhand smoke, dust mite feces, animal dander, mold spores, and even cooking emissions.

HVAC contractors are in an excellent position to recommend products and services to help customers breathe easier. A multitude of IAQ products are available in each of the following categories: filtration, ventilation, and duct cleaning. First, let’s look at a product designed to help contractors determine what sort of IAQ problem a building may have.

Checking Out The Air

A Newton, Mass.-based manufacturer, Aircuity Inc., claims that it has developed a technology for automated building performance and indoor air evaluation. The technology is designed for use in office spaces, schools, healthcare facilities, and other workspaces.

The product can be used for building and HVAC optimization, building performance verification, IAQ assessments, mold sampling, and monitoring of occupied spaces during renovations, says the company.

“It’s amazing what the air can tell you,” said Aircuity’s president and CEO, Gordon Sharp.

“While most buildings have no immediate concerns, there is enormous value in establishing baseline values,” he continued. “Just like your doctor wants you to be tested when you’re healthy, understanding a building’s ‘healthy’ parameters helps building professionals maintain and improve their assets,” he said.

The Aircuity system tests the air over time, Sharp explained, so that contractors and other building professionals have a chance to deal with IAQ problems in the earliest stages.

The system consists of a portable air-sampling device; a secure, Web-based data collection and reporting tool; and an artificial intelligence-based diagnostic program. It can continuously monitor and analyze temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, airborne particles, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), mold and pollen, ozone, and radon, the company says.

Sharp said the system was developed in collaboration with Environmental Health & Engineering Inc., a primary research contractor to the EPA’s Indoor Environments Division. For further information, call 617-641-8814 or visit www.aircuity.com.

Filtration

The Aprilaire (Madison, Wis.) Model 5000 is an electronic air cleaner (EAC), “but do not let the name fool you,” stated the company’s Nikki Krueger. “Although it is electronic, there are no plates; instead, we have incorporated a metallic coating on the edge of the media pleats.”

The company says this EAC is 80-percent efficient at removing airborne viruses from the air, 94-percent efficient at removing disease-causing bacteria down to 0.35 micron, and more than 99-percent efficient removing pollen and spores. The company claims that use of the product can provide allergy relief.

“Aprilaire has a very tight patent on the design,” Krueger said, “so we are the only manufacturer of this product.” Most EACs have plates that need to be cleaned regularly, she said; the Aprilaire 5000 only needs the media changed yearly. For more information, contact Krueger at 888-257-8801, ext. 805.

Camfil Farr (Riverdale, N.J.) has a product to help contractors convince customers that when it comes to filters, less expensive products may not be the better bargain. “Coarse fiber (synthetic) media is cheaper than fine fiber (microfiber glass) media,” the company explains. “In some cases, the cost differential may be as high as 20 percent, sometimes passed on in more competitive pricing to the user. But should cost be the factor when users are so concerned about indoor air quality?”

The company’s new Mobile Media Tester is able to simulate loading of media during normal HVAC service. “How many end users would purchase a product knowing that [its] performance will actually decrease over the life of the product,” the company asks. “Which type of filter would you want if you were the party on the operating room table?”

For more information, contact Camfil Farr at 973-616-7300 or camfilfarr@camfilfarr.com.

Fresh Air Ventilation

Another recently introduced IAQ product is the GuardianPlus™ air system from Broan-NuTone (Hartford, Wis.). The company says this ventilator transfers latent and sensible energy before circulating, thereby helping to maintain an optimum moisture-temperature balance in the home. The GSEH3K also includes HEPA filtration.

The company says that only one outside connection is needed if the contractor is installing the system with the Tandem™ transition and AirDuo™ port.

To operate the system, the contractor or customer turns the switch on the unit’s front panel to the low setting and selects the operation mode (off, low, high, recirculation) from the wall control. The control also includes filter maintenance indicators, the company says.

In operation, the unit draws in stale air from the house; a portion of that air is exhausted outside. Fresh outdoor air is blended with the interior air and filtered through the prefilter and HEPA filter. The fresh, filtered air is then distributed throughout the house.

For more information, call 800-558-1711 or visit www.Broan-NuTone.com.

Duct Cleaning

The Rotobrush® air duct cleaning machine from Rotobrush (Carrollton, Texas) has HEPA filtration; interchangeable 1-1/2- and 2-inch hoses; 12-inch-diameter rear wheels; and a built-in, collapsible handle to aid carrying up and down stairs.

Designed and patented specifically for air duct cleaning, the product can power brush and vacuum at the same time, the company says. “With the rotating drive cable contained within the vacuum hose, the Rotobrush can be snaked through the air duct all the way to the plenum,” the company states. “The reversible feature allows the user to change brush rotation from clockwise to counterclockwise, allowing for cleaning of rectangular air ducts.”

The product is able to handle right-angle turns, the company adds, “allowing for brush vacuuming of every contacted surface, including wrinkles and crevices typical of flex duct.”

For more information, call 972-512-0270 or visit www.rotobrush.com.

Sidebar: IAQ System May Tempt Customers

ST. LOUIS — Contractors who sell one or two Emerson add-on products as part of a collected system — or those who don’t — can get the entire system from one source. They can also get sales support for those customers who may be sitting on the IAQ fence.

White-Rodgers, a division of Emerson (St. Louis) and part of the Emerson Climate Technologies business group, recently introduced its ComfortPlus™ system, which brings together the company’s technologies and support tools to provide what the company calls “a completely integrated solution that helps contractors sell home comfort solutions.”

The system brings together White-Rodgers thermostats, air cleaners, and humidifiers. The system also gives contractors marketing support, including consumer-focused brochures, a Web site, point-of-purchase displays, product specification sheets, and mailers that present the comfort concept in terms that are easily understandable for homeowners.

The company says its research has shown that it can be a challenge to sell IAQ products to homeowners. However, once they clearly understand the problem and possible solutions, they often make a purchase.

“According to the American Lung Association, people are now spending nearly 90 percent of their time indoors. This means indoor air quality will become a significant opportunity within our industry,” said Steve Carey, director of Marketing for White-Rodgers.

“Emerson Climate Technologies is committed to developing products that allow people to be comfortable, healthy, and safe in their home, and offering contractors the technology and support tools they need to give their customers the perfect home environment system.”

White-Rodgers says it will continue to add products to the ComfortPlus System. UV lights will be added in spring 2003.

Sidebar: ‘PureAir’ Uncased

DALLAS — The PureAir™ air purification system from Lennox Industries is now available in an uncased model. This product offers the same technology Lennox introduced last year, now for additional applications, the company says.

“The new uncased PureAir air purification system now fits in smaller spaces, so more homeowners can implement this indoor air quality system into their home or upgrade their existing filtration system with this more advanced system,” says Tom Overs, product marketing manager for Lennox Industries.

The system is said to combat all three classes of air contaminants: particles, bioaerosols, and odors/vapors.

The system installs into the home’s ductwork, capturing pollutants during air circulation throughout the home. Using a combination of UV light and photocatalytic oxidation technology, PureAir captures particles and bioaerosols down to 0.3 microns, according to independent test results. It also removes and destroys 50 percent of odor and chemical vapor content in a home in a 24-hour period, according to Lennox.

The success of the system has been proven through field trials in existing and new homes, according to company representatives. In a 24-hour period, toxin levels dropped in every home tested by approximately 50 percent, the company says.

Air inside the home passes through a 4-inch MERV 9 pleated filter, UVA lamps, and a metal mesh filter.

For more information, contact Karen O’Shea at 972-497-5258.

— B. Checket Hanks

Publication date: 03/17/2003

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