No Tools, No Maintenance, No Ozone in the Modern IAQ Toolbox
DDA winners emphasize convenience while coming at annoying or unhealthy air from all angles and locations.
“Wait, didn’t you have dogs?”
That’s the sort of question Lennox wanted homeowners’ guests to ask when the company released the 2018 IAQ category gold winner, the Lennox® PureAire™ S. This air purification system builds upon the cleaning technology of the Healthy Climate® PureAir, adding smart features and enhancements that enable dealers to offer a whole new level of serviceability, according to Lennox. PureAir technology utilizes a MERV 16 filter with carbon to provide hospital-grade particulate filtration along with a UVA light and proprietary catalyst, which react together to destroy harmful gases and odors.
Ben Merrifield, service manager at Snell Heating & Air in Sterling, Virginia, has used the product in his own home and personally enjoyed how guests have commented on the absence of that “dog smell.” Merrifield has also seen anecdotal health and comfort improvements for more than one family member after installing the units, but he has strictly professional reasons for liking the PureAire S as well.
“It interacts with the homeowner and will remind them when the system needs to be serviced,” he said. “It should help with customer retention on the business side of things because we will be getting the phone call when the filter life has expired. It’s another opportunity to come to the house and an extra revenue stream. It also helps our technicians because we will no longer have to ‘guess’ about how dirty the filter is or how much longer it will last.”
As for compatibility specs and maximizing usefulness, the PureAir S is designed to be installed easily with a Lennox communicating furnace or air handler and a Lennox® iComfort® S30 thermostat. This combination offers automatic setup, troubleshooting alerts, the sensor-based life display and maintenance alerts for the filter and purifier, and real-time information about the system through the iComfort Dashboard. As an alternative, the PureAir S could be installed on any residential ducted system, where it would still provide the same quality of air cleaning to the home, just without the alerts and monitoring features.
For those wondering what’s new under the hood since the manufacturer’s third-generation design in 2015, Lennox has worked on qualifying the sensor technology and developing the algorithms, hardware, software, and web portals that have allowed the company to bring this new, smarter system to dealers. One other change is nothing to sneeze at for consumers: Lennox undertook additional reliability testing in order to double the warranty coverage on this new version, going from five years to 10.
No maintenance and low energy were the calling cards for this year’s silver winner, the Clear Sky™ MS bi-polar ion generator from RGF Environmental Group. Intended for residential or commercial use, the Clear Sky MS uses an included adhesive-backed hook and loop fasteners to install atop all standard mini splits with no tools required. Its separated quad ion emitters then provide bi-polar ionization, arming it to do battle with the IAQ demands of kitchens, bathroom, and smoking areas as it reduces particulate matter, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.
Customers may also appreciate the no-maintenance nature of the unit, thanks to a patent-pending continuous “self-cleaning” technology proprietary to the manufacturer. In short, this technology uses ultrasonic energy coupled with induced oscillations targeted directly to the carbon ion emitters, according to the manufacturer. As for the low energy use mentioned above, the Clear Sky is reported to use 1 watt of energy, further positioning it as good for the budget as well as the immediate environment (and its occupants).
The space- and time-saving ability to measure the full array of air velocity and IAQ parameters with a single instrument helped make the case for the bronze medalist — Testo’s 440 Air Velocity and IAQ Meter. Every Testo 440 probe head is interchangeable into the same universal handle, in either wired or Bluetooth form. Users can actually connect up to three probes at once via Bluetooth, wired, or as a type K thermocouple connector. This allows for a powerful range of combinations and subsequent in-depth analysis, according to Testo, such as combining relative humidity and surface temperature feedback to provide mold detection behind a wall.
If calibration is desired, only the probe head needs to be sent in, eliminating device downtime. While delivering information where users need it is part of the value, the unit also stores it internally, up to 7,500 points. Clearly structured menus are designed to streamline the setup and ongoing experience. The ability to add new applications and parameters via a simple firmware update gives the 440 system additional appeal into the future.
Publication date: 7/23/2018