Ionizing Air Cleaner Makes Sports Inroads

November 1, 2010
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Brett Dawson, a tech with James River Heating and A/C, installs an AtmosAir ionizing air cleaner.

In the business world, “playing in the major leagues” means you have hit top-tier status in your market. One IAQ product manufacturer is taking it literally.

AtmosAir Solutions of Fairfield provides bi-polar ionization air purification products that significantly reduce mold, dust, and odors, and controls bacteria and the spread of airborne viruses, reducing airborne particles and germs that get past normal ventilation and filtration systems in professional sports facilities, homes, and businesses.


SPORTS TIES

“We’ve installed our unique products in many NFL facilities,” said Steve Levine, president and CEO of AtmosAir. “Early on we introduced it to the Dallas Cowboys, in areas where players were most concerned; later it was installed throughout the complete facility.” That led to installations for the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the NHL, the company installed a trial system for the Phoenix Coyotes, as well as a system for the Atlanta Thrashers. In the NBA, he said, opportunities are under development.

The company uses these types of facilities as educational platforms for new customers. It also is using the lawsuit of former NFL center LeCharles Bentley against the Cleveland Browns. The company says the case raises new awareness and concerns about air quality in professional sports training facilities, locker rooms, and stadiums.

Bentley sued the Browns on July 22 over a staph infection he says he contracted at the team’s training facility. Staph infections at athletic training facilities are often traced to contact with bacteria, Levine said. Treating surfaces is generally a temporary solution; a more permanent fix, he said, is installing air purification, such as ionization systems like those developed and installed by his company.

BIPOLAR TECHNOLOGY

The AtmosAir bipolar system can be integrated into ducted HVAC systems, or used as standalone portable units in areas where ductwork is not available. Air passes over a patented ionization tube, which energizes the air to form bipolar (positive and negative) air ions. The airflow then distributes the ions into all of the spaces served by the duct system.

The technology complements the filter and makes it more efficient, Levine explained. “The process makes the particles bigger, making them easier to catch.” It’s installed downstream of the fan and filter on the supply side.

It’s said to significantly reduce mold, dust, and odors, and control bacteria and the spread of airborne viruses, reducing airborne particles and germs, Levine said.

There is no continual maintenance, no filters to change or collector cells to clean, he said. The ionization tube must be replaced diligently, once a year. It takes about 45 minutes for a contractor to install the system, he said.

CUSTOMER CLUES

Most contractors will be lucky enough to never face an IAQ lawsuit, especially one brought by a nationally known sports figure. There are comments and conditions that are more subtle, that can tip them off to a customer with an IAQ problem.

“If a customer has odor problems that might be caused by mildew,” said Levine, “this [product] could be an easy way to retrofit a commercial or residential system to attack mold spores that are causing the mildew. It will eliminate mold spores, eliminating that problem. It works very well against staph,” he said. Among the company’s medical clients are the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and South Oaks Medical on Long Island.

And there are the sports-related installations. “I recently installed a system in Sean Payton’s house, which had that Chinese drywall problem,” Levine said. Remediators totally rebuilt the inside of the house, but the Saint’s coach also had the AtmosAir product installed.

There are green benefits as well, Levine said. Energy costs are reduced because of the reduced amount of outside air brought in for dilution. “It works beautifully with ASHRAE 62.1 because it’s an acceptable air-cleaning strategy,” he said. “We measure the contaminants on an annual basis to ensure ongoing performance.”

The company has more than 120 certified contractors around the country, and is looking to increase its coverage. Current dealers include James River Heating and A/C and Woodfin, both of Virginia. Dealers are taught how to sell, install, and service the systems. The company is now setting up additional contractors.

“We have had good success with the product,” said Billy Amacker, residential general manager at James River. “I have two in my house and they work great.”

“We appreciate the third-party documentation on how safe the product is,” said Charles H. Martin III, Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) and sales manager at Woodfin. “We see it playing a significant role in the overall health of the people in newly tightened homes as well.”

“Personally, I like helping people,” Levine said. “People live by the mountains or by the beach because they feel better there. A wave crashing on the sand creates ions. All we’re doing is putting a little bit of Mother Nature back in the home.”

For more information, visit http://atmosair.com.

Publication date: 11/01/2010

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