The Pros & Cons Of Using UV Lights In Your Heating/Cooling System

The use of Ultra Violet light for reduction and removal of bacteria ( germs) on surfaces has been used for years in the food industry. In the early years “black lights” were placed above the produce in the grocery stores to help maintain a bacterial free environment. While UV lights are no longer used in these food operations, they are used in the residential and light commercial HVAC markets.

We are all familiar with the term UV as we hear this term used when they describe the rays from the sun as being UV A or B or C. UV A is the most dangerous because the UV A wavelength can be harmful to human skin as well as various material. Long term exposure can damage the skin and increase the possibility for skin cancer.

The use of UV Lights for reduction and removal of bacteria in heating/cooling systems, ductwork and air handler cooling coils has been around for over 25 years. The UV Lights produce a specific wavelength; approximately 285 nanometers, designed to kill or destroy the nuclei of most molds and bacteria. UV has minimal effect on viruses.

For many years UV lights were placed in the return air side of the ductwork close to the air handler and were supposed to kill or destroy the mold and bacteria as it passed by the UV Lamps. There were a number of challenges with this installation configuration. First, the UV lights were often not shielded and the dirt, dust and particulate in the return air stream would coat the lamps and significantly reduce the effectiveness of the lamps. And, second, the speed at which the air passed  by the lamps did not allow enough residence time or light exposure time on the mold or bacteria to really kill or destroy the particle. Even adding shielding to minimize dust build up on the lamps didn’t solve this problem.

Since most mold and some bacteria require a source of moisture or water a more obvious place to locate the UV Lights was over or close to the cooling coils located in the air handler.  This made more sense as it allowed the UV Lights to irradiate the entire coil area constantly and minimize the ability for mold and bacteria to grow on the coils surface. It also didn’t rely on air flow speed and the lights could be shielded in such a way as to direct the UV light source onto the coils and reduce the build up of dust on the lamps.

While this approach is much more effective it still doesn’t answer the question about removing the airborne mold, bacteria and other allergens. Using a UV light alone is only a small part of the solution.

Pure Air Systems, offers a complete line of  both media air filters and HEPA based air filtration systems used in conjunction with HVAC systems. The line of BioPanel furnace filters includes a dual-layer, polyester ring panel filter that offers a  MERV 8 filter with a high dust holding capacity, tight fitting and low pressure drop. The HEPA filter systems offered by Pure Air Systems have been in use since 1985 and are the most well known HEPA systems in the world.

For complete removal of harmful airborne pathogens and allergens in your home, office, laboratory or medical facility, Pure Air Systems has the solution. For more information go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com.

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The Truth About Air Filter Efficiency

It is always interesting to see how companies that manufacture air filters, especially those for the residential market, use images of dust mites, dirt, dander and other graphic photos to illustrate the significance of using their filter if they really want to rid their home of these nasty airborne creatures.

Usually these companies compare the efficiency of their filter against the standard air filter that you use in your heating/cooling system and show how theirs is much more effective in removing these harmful airborne allergens.

For the most part, all of the air filters available from the retail stores are made from similar filter media and have similar efficiencies. Some are pleated, some aren’t, some are washable and reusable and many are not. Almost all of them have a cardboard frame and come is a wide variety of sizes.  And, their prices vary from less than $1.00 each up to $10.oo or more per filter.

When shopping for these filters you will notice that many or most of them now come with a MERV rating label to indicate their overall efficiency.  These MERV ratings (which are an extension of the old ASHRAE ratings) indicate their filtration efficiency in relationship to how well they remove various sizes of airborne particulate.

In truth, what you really want is a filter that removes as much of the less than 5 micron in size particulate but doesn’t have a high resistance so it won’t affect the performance of your HVAC unit. Typically a MERV 7 or 8 rated filter offers the best combination of particulate removal (small particles) with minimal adverse affect on your heating/cooling air flow.

While it may seem that using a filter with a higher MERV rating than 8 would be better, the truth is that as a filter starts to get dirty and gets a layer of dust on the filter surface, the efficiency of the filter actually gets better as the filter loads up.  And, as the filter gets dirtier the pressure drop or resistance across the filter goes up as well.

Therefore, if you start out with a MERV 9 or higher rated filter you will have  a slightly higher efficiency at first but also a higher initial pressure drop as well. And as the filter loads up the pressure drop will increase rapidly and the air flow across the air handler or HVAC system will drop quickly.  This is why using a MERV 9, 10, 11 or higher rated filter usually requires you to change the filter often, usually once a month verses once every three months for a MERV 8 or lower rated filter. And, these higher rated filters are more expensive.

Pure Air Systems offers a line of MERV 8 rated BioPanel dual-layer polyester ring panel filters that are less expensive than the higher rated media filters, fit more tightly in the filter frame, have zero leakage around the filter and have a much higher dust holding capacity with a lower pressure drop or resistance over the the life of the filter.  These commercial grade filters are not available in the retail market but can be purchased directly from the Pure Air Systems website.

For more information on filter efficiency and the BioPanel filters available from PAS go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com.

 

 

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HEPA Filter Systems For New Breed Of In-Store Medical Clinics

For most of our lives doing certain things at select facilities was a given. We shopped for drugs at the drugstore; shopped for food at the grocery store and went to the Doctor’s office, clinic or hospital for medical treatment.

Today, all these services are offered, in part, in a number of  retail operations. The ability to be able to purchase food, drugs, and obtain general medical treatment is now possible in stores such as Kroger, CVS and Walgreens.

Krogers has “The Little Clinc”; CVS has ” Minute Clinic” and Walgreens has “Take Care Health”. These facilities provide a quasi-medical triage approach to treat and diagnose a number of medical problems. While there is no Doctor in these facilities they do have EMT’s, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants on staff. These facilities are often open during store hours and are relatively inexpensive; charging $35.00 to $50.00 for an exam.

These “mini-clincs” see a lot of infants, young children and individuals who have no health care or are moderate to low income individuals.  Often these patients have small aches and pains, colds, flu, infections and other maladies. In many cases these patients are also carrying a communicable disease and may have waited a while to get any treatment. As a result, the medical staff in these clinics are at risk of getting sick.

Pure Air Systems has been providing commercially made, certified HEPA filtration systems for clinics, hospitals, laboratories and surgery rooms for over 20 years. These systems offer a wide range of sizes and air flow designs. From our smallest new HPS series portable HEPA units to our largest 2000HS series systems, the HEPA systems by Pure Air Systems offer HEPA filtered air flow capabilities from 100 CFM to 2000 CFM with variable speed capability.

The HEPA systems are often used to filter all the air in exam room or treatment area to remove the airborne pathogens and allergens from the air and maintain a more sterile environment for the  medical staff as well as the other patients. The HEPA systems can be placed strategically in the clinic to either wash the air, pressurize the room or make the room negative depending upon the environmental requirements.

The new HPS portable HEPA unit is only  13″ square and 21″ long and can produce up to 500 CFM of HEPA filtered air. This new four speed HEPA unit can be taken from room to room if necessary.

For more information on the entire line of HEPA filtration systems please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

 

 

 

 

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Adding Filtered Fresh Air To Your Home

In a few areas of the US the weather is mild enough that one can open the windows and allow some air to enter the house from the outside most of the year. For the rest of us opening the windows is only an option for a few weeks out of the year as the heat, humidity and cold temperatures limit our ability to add any outside air to the home.

You’ll notice that we use the term “outside” air rather than “fresh” air as most often the outside air entering the home or occupied facility is anything but fresh.

Because of industrial pollution, cars, trucks, farming, construction, grasses, weeds, pollen, decaying matter and a host of other sources, the air outside has a high concentration of small, less than 10 micron, particulate matter and a wide variety of gases and odors generated by auto emissions, pesticides, chemicals, etc.

So, when you open up your windows to let in some “fresh” air to eliminate the “stale” air, you are actually doing a good job of exchanging one problem for another. So, in order to actually introduce fresh air you need to filter the air as it enters the house. Okay, so how do I accomplish this?

Actually this is not difficult to do. Most homes have a ducted, forced air heating/cooling system which moves air throughout the house and normally has a furnace filter or filtering device located on the return air side of the fan section of the unit. This filter keeps the air handler clean by removing dust and dirt from inside the home.

Simply by adding a 6″ or 8″ diameter duct from outside the house and attach it directly into the main return air duct at the air handler section you can introduce as much as 100 to 150 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of outside air and have it all filtered prior to entering the house.

Using this approach allows you to add a much smaller amount of outside air and is more effective than opening up windows. The HVAC  fan will move the air throughout the house in a very short period of time and mix it with the existing air. By using  just 100 CFM you will add up to 144,000 cubic feet of air in a 24 hour period or enough to change all the air in a medium sized home 1.2 times per day. The more air you add the higher the exchange rate.

Also, adding a small amount of outside air ( 100 CFM) to the return air duct will not affect the conditioned environment of the house. Since most air handlers move 1200 CFM to 2000 CFM, adding 100 CFM of hot, cold or humid outside air is less than 10% of the total volume of air being conditioned.

Pure Air Systems has been using  the concept of adding outside filtered fresh air to homes, offices and other occupied areas since it’s beginning in 1985. This concept, used in concert with the HEPA air filtration systems and air filters manufactured by PAS, has been proven to be extremely effective in thousands of applications across the US and Canada.

In fact, Pure Air Systems pioneered the use of adding outside air with the introduction of its 600HS unit in 1985. Since then the concept of adding outside air has been used with all the HS series units. In addition to filtering out the contaminants this concept will, in many cases, actually slightly pressurize the air in the house, office or occupied environment minimizing the entry of outside contaminants as well.

For more information on using outside filtered fresh air go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com.

 

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Remove Dust Mites, Dust & Allergens

The problem of removing or capturing airborne allergens, dust, dust mite feces and other allergy producing particles has been an on-going challenge for homeowners and with good reason. The new housing construction designs are geared more and more toward the “green” building techniques which mean they are much tighter and more energy efficient. These new, tighter homes have little or no fresh air ventilation and, in essence, the home has become a terrarium.

The ability to capture general dust particles, or dust mite feces and other airborne allergens is normally accomplished by the air filter or furnace filter that is located in the HVAC system. Also, the use of portable, fan powered air filter or air purifying devices are often used and can also be helpful.

However, the use of these filtering devices is effective in removing dust and other particles only if they are airborne. Yes! The particles are not pulled off the floor or other surfaces to the filtering devices. They must be airborne.

The best way to ensure that you are removing these particles is to  always have your HVAC fan setting on your thermostat to the Fan On mode. This means the fan is running all the time even if the heating or cooling modes are not operating. Then, whenever you walk through the house or on the carpeting, or dust or vacuum the carpet, the small, sub-micron particles will become airborne and get picked up through the return air vents or drawn into the portable air filtration device.

The dust particles only become airborne for a short period of time; anywhere from 1 minute to 30 minutes depending upon the size of the particle. This is why constant air movement in the home is necessary to keep the environment as dust free as possible. Again, remember that even thought the dust particles are light and tiny, they will remain on any surface until moved or disturbed.

Once these tiny particles are airborne it is important to ensure that they are properly captured or removed. It is important that the furnace filters and portable filtering devices use a commercial grade filtering media or even HEPA filters for absolute capture.

Pure Air Systems offers a line of dual-layer, polyester ring panel filters that are a MERV 8 rated media. These commercial grade furnace filters fit very tightly into the filter frame and eliminate any bypass around the filter, unlike cardboard frame filters with little or no sealing capabilities.

The ability to seal tightly is important since the majority of the particles captured by the filter are less than 5 microns in size. In addition, the dual-layer media has the ability to hold a lot of dust without any appreciable increase in resistance or pressure drop. This means long life with fewer filter changes.

Pure Air Systems also offers a new, high capacity portable HEPA system that is small ( 13″ square by 21″ long) and powerful. This small HEPA unit can produce up to 500 CFM and offers four speeds, one to suit any room or application. This unit comes complete with a prefilter/carbon media filter and a true, certified 99.99% at 0.3 micron HEPA filter.

For more information on these and other air filtration products go to: www.pureairsystems.com.

 

 

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Carbon VS Ozone

The ability to reduce or eliminate odors and gases in an occupied area has been a challenge for contractors, architects, environmental engineers and HVACR professionals for years. This problem persists in many forms and in many areas in the residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and medical arenas.

In the past thirty years a number of odor and gas reduction/removal processes have been employed to resolve these problems. Of  all the products and techniques that have been tried two methods are the most often considered and only one of these two methods provides any real reduction or removal.

Ozone is easily produced. Simply by applying a small amount of electricity in a spark form you can transform Oxyen (O2) into Ozone (O3). Ozone is produced naturally when there is lightning. If you are outside close to a lightning strike you can often smell the ozone produced by the lightning. It almost has a sweet, fresh air smell.

Activated Carbon or Charcoal has a natural affinity to adsorb (not absorb) gases and odors that are both organic and inorganic. Activated carbon has a very large surface area that captures and holds most gaseous molecules until the carbon is saturated then it will release the excess gaseous molecules.

Ozone is a strong oxidizer. Ozone easily gives up one of Oxygen elements which can alter the chemical composition of gases. Ozone is often referred to as “energized oxygen” or “pure air” suggesting that ozone is a healthy kind of oxygen. That is far from true. Ozone is a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and toxicological properties from oxygen. Ozone can be harmful to the respiratory system and is the primary component of smog.

While carbon does have a finite life and adsorption capacity, it actually removes or significantly reduces the gas or odor completely. Unlike Ozone which may only change the gaseous molecule to another form that may actually be more harmful than the original odor problem, Carbon is benign and removes the harmful odors and gases without producing any health problems for individuals.

Pure Air Systems manufactures a complete line of carbon based systems that can hold from 10 lbs of carbon up to 60 lbs of carbon. These units are designed to work in all types of applications whether it is residential or commercial.  These units are fan powered and can handle up to 2000 CFM of contaminated air with excellent first pass reduction of odors and gases.

For more information on the Pure Air Systems Carbon adsorption systems go to: www.pureairsystems.com

 

 

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Pure Air Systems And The Health Care Industry

Removal and or reduction of airborne pathogens in the hospital has been an on-going problem for years. The amount of deaths due to post-operative infection in the hospital are about 5.4% per 1000 patients. This may seem high but infections due to opportunistic bacteria (MRSA) and some viruses are on the rise.

Part of the reason for this increase is the ever-changing issue of health care costs and discharging patients much sooner than ever before. In many cases patients that have undergone surgery may acquire an infection in the hospital but it doesn’t manifest itself until the patient is home. And, once the infection is discovered many of these new drug resistant bacteria are difficult if not impossible to treat.

In order to minimize any possibility of infection during surgery hospitals, out-patient surgery centers and burn wards all use HEPA filtered air to maintain a positive pressure arena to eliminate the possibility of infection setting in while the patients body is opened up.

HEPA filters and HEPA systems are also used in the manufacturing of drugs by the pharmaceutical industry to maintain an absolute sterile environment during the manufacturing and packaging processes. Laboratories that do any type of DNA or clinical research all use HEPA systems to protect the health care technicians.

Pure Air Systems has been manufacturing commercial grade HEPA based air filtration systems for the health care industry since 1985. All of the HEPA filters used in the PAS systems are certified to 99.99% at 0.3 microns and smaller.

Pure Air Systems HEPA filtration systems are recognized around the world as the most powerful, adaptive and operationally the best performing systems for the reduction and removal of airborne pathogens in the health care market.

Pure Air Systems makes fan powered, variable speed, low to high volume (CFM) systems that can be adapted to almost any application where the need for HEPA filtration is required. PAS units use a Genteq (GE) ECM variable speed 120/240 volt 50/60Hz motor that can  be used anywhere in the world.

In many parts of Africa and other third world countries, PAS HEPA units are used as the primary air filtration system for their surgery rooms. The larger 2000 HS, 2000 CFM units can pressurize an operating room that is 20’x20′ and maintain a sterile environment.

For some of the smaller applications, the PAS 600HS series and the new HPS portable HEPA units are well suited. The newer HPS portables work well in the small clinic, research lab, out-patient surgery applications. And, like the larger PAS units, the HPS series uses a variable speed motor to provide volume control to meet the specific demand of the application.

Infection and the spread of airborne diseases is an ever growing problem. One has only to turn on the TV, read a newspaper or talk to a friend and see the issues surrounding he H1N1 flu challenges.

The health care industry is dealing with more sophisticated and deadly bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. The use of the HEPA filtration systems by Pure Air Systems makes tackling these issues a little easier and provides for a much safer environment for both the technician, doctors, nurses and patients.

For more information on the complete line of commercial grade HEPA systems go to: www.pureairsystems.com.

 

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The Truth About HEPA Filters

Hepa filters have been around since the development of the atomic bomb. In fact, HEPA paper or HEPA media was created in 1941 specifically to remove the Alpha particles in the air to protect the scientists during the actual creation of the first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The development of the HEPA filter allowed for the complete capture of sub-micron particles. HEPA actually stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air or Absolute. Meaning it will absolutely remove particles of a certain size.

To be called a true HEPA filter, it has to meet a minimum capture filtration efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 microns. To give you an idea of how small this is, a strand of your hair is approximately 100 microns in diameter. You can see particles only down to about 20 microns in diameter with the naked eye. The capture efficiency means that for every 10,000 particles in the air at 0.3 microns or larger that pass through the HEPA filter, only 3 particles may get through.

Of all the air filters available on the market today, including all the furnace and commercial HVAC filters, only HEPA filters are actually rated on their particulate removal performance. All other filters are now based on a MERV rating scale which gives a general capability based on a particle size range.

HEPA filters are the ONLY type of filter used in the following applications; hospital surgery  rooms, micro-chip manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, optics manufacturing, isolation rooms for pathogen contamination control, the CDC, Clean Rooms and Biological Laboratories to mention a few.

Over the years a large number of medical product manufacturing companies have latched on to the acceptance of HEPA as the best method for removal of bacteria and viruses and incorporated these filters into their systems. Today, HEPA filters are used in hundreds of commercial applications where the removal of small, sub-micron particles are required.

Unfortunately because of the acceptance of HEPA as THE filter media to use, many air filter companies and vacuum cleaner companies have incorporated the HEPA name into their filtering devices. In most cases these are HEPA type or HEPA like filters and not true, certified HEPA filters.

HEPA filters are extremely expensive when compared to a standard duty media filter; in many cases 15 to 20 times more expensive. In addition, in order for a true HEPA filter to be effective, it must be sealed tightly in the filter frame or holding frame.  To ensure this complete seal, HEPA filters use neoprene gaskets on the downstream side and are compressed into the frame to ensure a tight seal. In some cases a gel seal material is used to ensure no leakage around the filter itself.

Compared to general duty media filters and furnace filters, HEPA filters have an extremely high resistance or pressure drop. This means the HEPA filter has to be mated with a more powerful motor/blower system to overcome the additional static load.

Pure Air Systems has been using true, commercial grade, certified HEPA filters since 1985. It has more HEPA systems in the residential and commercial markets as packaged HEPA systems than any other filter company in the US. Today, Pure Air Systems uses a metal framed, high capacity, certified 99.99% at 0.3 micron filter in all of its units.

For more information on Pure Air Systems, HEPA filters and the applications that use HEPA go to our website at: www.pureairsystems. com

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Getting Rid Of Household Odors

The colder weather is here and your home is now closed up all the time. You come home after work or after being out of the house for a while and you notice an odor that wasn’t there before or you didn’t notice until now.

Some odors come and go and often they are related to issues such as cooking,  paint or new carpet odors. These often dissipate within a few hours or sometimes days in the case of new carpeting.  But some odors linger and some stay around all the time.

Some of the most common, constant odors are generated by pets, musty basements, and odors generated from outside the home.

Pet odors are probably the most common and the most difficult to remove, reduce or cover up. Cats, for example, tend to spray and the odors are very difficult to remove. Dogs typically have a general doggy smell and this can get worse as the dog gets older.

Musty basements, especially in older homes, can be a significant problem and often this odor carries up into the first floor of the home. The musty odor is actually caused by mold in the basement ( often associated with damp basements) and when the mold spores it generates an odor, this odor is the musty smell.

Outside odors are often generated from farming processes or industrial manufacturing. Close proximity to major highways and heavily traveled roads can also be an issue. Wood burning fireplaces can be a significant problem especially in the winter months.

Removing or reducing any of these odors in the home is very challenging. Burning candles or spraying air fresheners is only slightly effective and is short lived. These remedies only mask the problem. The real issue is that these odors are constantly being generated and distributed throughout the house by the heating/cooling system. So an odor in the basement becomes an odor on the second floor.

Pure Air Systems has been providing a wide range of Carbon adsorption products since 1985. Carbon is the most affective and commonly used material for the removal and reduction of both organic and inorganic odors for the residential, commercial and institutional markets.

Pure Air Systems has a number of large carbon capacity filtration systems that are fan powered and can be attached to the existing HVAC system to remove the odor from the air as it passes through the HVAC unit. These units are also capable of introducing small amounts of outside air to help pressurize the home to minimize the entry of odors produced by outside sources.

For a very effective but less expensive remedy, Pure Air Systems has recently introduced a line of Odor Guard filters that replace that are used in place of the furnace filter. These polyester ring panel filters have a Merv 8 filter media on one side and commercial grade carbon media on the other side. They fit tightly and will last up to three months before they have to be replaced.

The use of carbon at the HVAC unit has proven to be the most effective method of removing odors and gases that are present in the home. For  more information on the carbon products available from Pure Air Systems go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com.

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Negative or Positive – Choose The Pressure That Works For Your Filter Application

In the health care, micro-electronics, micro-chip manufacturing, optics, food processing and other environmentally sensitive applications, the need for high end air filtration or HEPA filtration is high.For example, all hospital and out-patient surgery suites require 100% HEPA filtered air all the time whenever a patient is in surgery.

However, did you know that not only does the surgery room require HEPA filtration but it must operated under a negative pressure system?

The concept of negative and positive air pressure as a means to control an enclosed environment has been around for a long time. While we don’t always notice it, we all see this working on a day-to-day basis in the everyday world.

Remember the last time you opened the door to an office building and you had to pull real hard to get the door to open. Or, just the opposite. You opened the door to a building and when it opened up it blew your hair back. The first example is negative pressure, the second positive pressure.

A building or any enclosed room or structure can become negative when the air handling (heating/cooling) system has a design flaw where more return air is being pulled to the air handler than supply air.

This can happen mechanically for a number of reasons but suffice it to say that when this in-balance of air occurs any opening, crack, or communication point in the structure will draw in air, dust, dirt and any small airborne particulate from the outside or an adjoining space.

The opposite in-balance can also occur where there is more supply air than return air creating a positive pressure environment. In this case the room or enclosure maintains a much cleaner environment since the positive pressure prevents any outside contaminants from entering the room.

For applications such as surgery rooms and micro-chip manufacturing, the rooms must not only be HEPA filtered but be under constant positive pressure.

When a patient is in surgery and the body cavity is open the possibility for infection from any airborne pathogen is extreme. Even with all the air being HEPA filtered, if the room itself was not under positive pressure the ability for small, sub-micron contaminants to enter the room is great.

Micro-chip manufacturing has a similar problem. The micro-chips are actually layers upon layers of silica and if even a tiny, sub-micron particle falls in between the layers, the chip is ruined. Again, positive pressure is required in this application.

In applications where a harmful contaminants, highly infectious bacteria and viruses or harmful gases are present, negative pressure systems are applied to keep the contaminants from leaving the room or enclosed area.

Pure Air Systems HEPA filtration units are powerful and can be used to make a room negative or positive by themselves. They can also be used in conjunction with any HVAC system to accomplish this goal. The ability to both provide HEPA filtered air and produce the desired pressure in the room for the specific application make these systems unique in the market place today.

For more information on positive and negative pressure and the overall capabilities of the HEPA systems go to: www.pureairsystems.com

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