IAQ Filtration Gets A High-Tech Face Lift

February 11, 2004
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ANAHEIM, Calif. - The indoor air quality (IAQ) market is becoming more refined, offering contractors new ways to solidify customer relationships.

This is primarily due to innovations in product technology. This was abundantly clear at the 2004 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). Sensors, gauges, monitors, and new filter designs have advanced the overall technology of affordable, yet sophisticated, IAQ products.

The Optima system from Aircuity can be used for building commissioning or recommissioning, as well as for troubleshooting, documentation, saving energy, early mold detection, and fine-tuning maintenance strategies.

IAQ Alert Systems

The Optimaâ„¢ system from Aircuity Inc. (www.aircuity.com) is said to be a completely automated HVAC optimization tool. "Its award-winning technology gives [facility management and building service personnel] instant access to an unprecedented amount of information about the delivered performance of the HVAC system in commercial buildings such as offices, schools, health care facilities, airports, and banks," said the company.

The system is based on three main components.

1. The monitor incorporates nine sensors, designed to measure environmental information, such as temperature, humidity, CO, CO2, ozone, airborne particles (two sizes), total volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and radon.

2. A Web-based data management system is designed to organize all the collected data.

3. An automated reporting tool, the Aircuity Advisorâ„¢, is designed to develop reports based on the collective knowledge and experience of building experts. The company provides the reports as a third-party consultant.

The Optima system can be used for building commissioning or recommissioning, as well as for troubleshooting, documentation, saving energy, early mold detection, and fine-tuning maintenance strategy, said the company.

The Air Filter Alertâ„¢ from Air Filter Alert Inc. (www.airfilteralert.com) reminds homeowners to replace or clean their air filter in a timely manner - either after a designated period of time passes (suggested lifespan of the air filter), or when the filter becomes dirty, whichever comes first.

The alert is installed by pressing the reset button and programming the alarm to match the suggested lifetime of the air filter, and attaching the device to the A/C intake grille with the plastic ties. The unit is battery-powered by two AA batteries and includes a low-battery light.

General Filters Inc. (www.generalaire.com) introduced its G-99 air filter gauge, designed to indicate when to replace air filter media in forced-air heating-cooling systems. It monitors filter media loading and provides a visual indication of when the filter needs to be replaced.

"This is a simple monitoring device that eliminates the guessing game in changing media in duct-mounted filters or air cleaners," said Lou Laroche, GeneralAire national sales manager. "It's an inexpensive way to maximize indoor air quality in the home and maintain peak efficiency of the entire heating and cooling system."

The G-99 is included with all of the company's high-efficiency media cleaners. It is also available separately as an add-on product. The gauge features a built-in filter screen to remove dust from sampled ambient air, keeping the gauge clean and operating at peak performance, the company said. It can be mounted remotely up to 10 feet from the monitoring location.

Figure 1. ASHRAE’s ventilation rate procedure provides an indirect solution for controlling indoor contaminants by dilution with outside air. This is more or less effective, depending on the quality of the outdoor air.

New Filters

PowerGuard filters from Airguard Inc. (www.airguard.com) are made with 100-percent synthetic fibers that are needled and then electrostatically charged, said the company. This combined effect "sets a new standard in pleated filter performance - 70-percent minimum efficiency on 1- to 3-micron particles," it said. The filters are suited for applications requiring higher efficiency on fine particulates.

According to the company, "The needling process thoroughly entangles the fibers throughout the entire depth of the media, creating a dense mat that produces higher mechanical efficiency. The intertwined fibers maximize mechanical efficiency at lower resistance than other pleated filters designed for higher MER values." Depth loading provides high dust-holding capacity.

The frame is made from two mating pieces of die-cut beverage board that form a double wall around the perimeter of the filter. The inside surface of the frame is coated with adhesive to bond with the media pack, forming "a totally unitized construction [that] prevents bypass," said the company.

The filters are available in five efficiencies: 90-95 percent (MERV 14), 80-85 percent (MERV 13), 60-65 percent (MERV 12), 50-55 percent (MERV 11), and 40-45 percent (MERV 10).

Fantech (www.fantech.net) offers "HEPA filtration for the home." Its filters are said to collect 99.97 percent of airborne particles and allergens down to 0.3 microns, including smoke and dust particles, animal dander, dust mites, bacteria, and attached viruses.

It cleans the air in an average house once each hour, the company said, and connects to existing ductwork of a forced-air furnace or air handler. It is designed with three filters positioned parallel to the airstream. A 240-cfm motor facilitates dependable operation, it said.

Figure 2. Controlling contaminants by means of a chemical filter (such as the Enersave from Purafil) allows for the reduction of outdoor air requirements without compromising IAQ. (Courtesy of Purafil.)
Two models offer collar mounting and duct mounting. A third model is an insulated version for use in unconditioned spaces such as attics and garages, said the company.

Glasfloss Industries' (www.glasfloss.com) Z-Line Series MR-11 pleated air filter "launches higher filter performance with low pressure drop for energy efficiency," the company said. The filtration media is said to offer excellent bidirectional strength. The continuous synthetic fibers resist shedding, it noted.

The product, which received an honorable mention in the Innovation Awards' IAQ product category, can be applied in a variety of commercial, industrial, and residential situations.

International Diversified Marketing Inc. (IDM, www.controlaflow.com) used the show to launch its "Comfort 1st" filtered diffuser air filtration system. "This sequel to the popular Control-A-Flow and Breathe Easy devices combines the best features of both into one sleek unit," the company said.

The filtered diffuser addresses the two biggest complaints in today's offices, the company said: drafts from overhead diffusers and illness/allergic reactions from poor air quality. The Comfort 1st diffuser combines four-way adjustable airflow along a horizontal plane. Four antimicrobial filters cover the discharge points on the inside portion of each louver, so the air is filtered as it enters the room, said the company.

The multidensity, two-ply filters are said to remove pollutants as small as 1 micron, while destroying most microorganisms on contact. The bottom portion hinges open to facilitate filter replacement. And because no airflow is discharged straight down, cold drafts are prevented.

"By eliminating complaints of drafts and allergic reactions to duct pollution, companies save money from fewer sick days taken and increased productivity," explained David Northcutt, inventor of the system and president of IDM.

Isolate Inc. (www.isolate.com) displayed a patent-pending, duct-mounted combination UVC/HEPA air filtration unit with integral supply fan for space pressurization, "a particularly important subject in these days of heightened homeland security alerts," the company stated. The unit may be used as either a positive- or negative-pressure filtration module to kill and capture microorganisms in the air.

The unit features compact design for above-the-ceiling mounting, and in-duct mounting for existing (retrofit) and new air conditioning use. Air delivered by the unit is "100-percent treated with a very high dose of UVC kill energy for maximum microbe elimination, with a trailing 99.97-percent-efficient, hospital-grade HEPA [filter] to stop all airborne particulate, down to a size of 0.3 microns," according to the company.

Permatron (www.permatron.com) introduced upgrade kits for electronic air cleaners (EACs), calling them "a new and exciting way to extend the life of electronic air cleaning systems - a permanent, washable electrostatic prefilter and an activated carbon afterfilter."

The electrostatic prefilter captures larger particles, the company explained, before they can break off and be blown through the air cleaner. The activated carbon afterfilter is designed to adsorb organic odors, stale or musty air, smoke, and ozone, which can be produced by EACs, said the company.

"Independent testing shows that using a higher-efficiency, washable, electrostatic prefilter will significantly enhance the working efficiency of the electronic air cleaner," the company said, "without affecting the airflow requirements."

Purafil (www.purafil.com) promoted its Enersave program, which is said to allow an engineer or building manager to reduce outdoor air without compromising IAQ. The company's Purafil air filtration products, documentation, and ongoing verification reports are the main components of the program.

"In a typical indoor environment, it is easy to identify as many as 100 different chemical contaminants," the company said. "Purafil's unique air filtration technology is capable of eliminating these contaminants and reducing their concentration levels to those prescribed by ASHRAE 62's Indoor Air Quality Procedure."

Trion Inc., a division of Fedders Engineered Products (www.trioninc.com), introduced the Kit-Aire air purification system for commercial kitchen use. This electrostatic air cleaner is designed to help ensure that the exhaust from commercial kitchens meets acceptable clean air standards, the company said. The efficient system can be customized for specific applications, and is available in various capacities.

The product can also be applied in food courts, hospitals, and schools, including colleges and universities.

The manufacturer's high-efficiency Electronic Filter Bank (EFB) electronic air cleaner for commercial use can be mounted to the return-air plenum of a forced-air HVAC system. The EFB, which has an installation weight of 37 lbs. (16.8 kg), is designed to capture airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger from the air circulated through it.

The company said a relay contact can be connected to a building management system to provide remote status indication. Only one unit with "Wash" indication needs to be installed in each array of units, it said. For best results, the company said an EFB should not be mounted in the discharge air duct.

The company's Air Boss® ATS air purification system was also designed for commercial kitchen use. This UL-listed, modular, electrostatic air cleaner is designed to help ensure that exhaust from commercial kitchens meets acceptable clean air standards. The Air Boss® ATS is up to 99-percent efficient, can be customized for specific applications, and is available in various capacity ranges, said the company.

The product features a built-in wash system controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC), which allows the customer to wash cells at their convenience. It can be interfaced with the existing building management system, it said.

Westinghouse (www.nordyne.com) announced that it is marketing a line of Westinghouse IAQ products manufactured by Five Seasons Comfort Ltd. (www.fiveseasonsaircleaners.com). The unitary product manufacturer is offering HEPAs, EACs, and media retrofit air cleaners.

"For the ultimate clean air combination," said the company, "combine an electronic or media air cleaner with the HEPA system." Westinghouse is offering an eight-year warranty on all parts "if the IAQ products are purchased and installed with a Westinghouse heating or cooling system."

Sidebar: Insurance Reimbursement For An IAQ System?

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Allergy and asthma sufferers just might be able to be reimbursed by their medical insurance carriers for the purchase of a GuardianPlusâ„¢ Air System, manufactured by Broan-NuTone (www.broan.com), now that the product has been approved for FDA Medical Device Registration.

In short, it means doctors can write prescriptions for the purchase of this product. Insurance reimbursement still hinges on the type of carrier and the specific policy.

GuarianPlus systems include whole-house HEPA filtration, fresh air ventilation, and an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) in one unit.

- B. Checket-Hanks

Publication date: 02/16/2004

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