Even With Great Air Filters HVAC Maintenance A Must

Most home owners have a minimal amount of knowledge about heating/cooling systems, but one thing they do know is that the unit requires an air filter. Some home owners have enough experience  to know that not changing the air filter can create problems for their air handler efficiency. Those that have severe allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues usually have significant knowledge about air filters and their efficiencies.

Over the past twenty years air filter technology and air filter materials have been significantly improved; especially those filters designed for the residential markets. Many of the newer air filters fit tighter, have more dust holding capacity and lower pressure drops or resistance. This usually means less dust in the house and less dirt and dust accumulating on the air handlers fan and cooling coil components.

As a result, many home owners often believe that general maintenance on the air handler fan and coil sections can be limited to only once every one to two years. This is certainly not true. Even with the best air filtration systems the cooling coils and air handler fan will eventually get dirty. And, keeping the cooling coils clean is important for  cooling or air conditioning efficiency.

During the year as the HVAC system shifts from heating to cooling and back again,  small amounts of moisture will develop in the duct work and small, sub-micron particles will attach to this water vapor and be deposited on the cooling coils and air handler fan blades. If this material is not removed from these surfaces it can actually cause the fan blade to get out of balance and create bearing problems or put enough of a dust coating on the cooling coils and you will reduce the efficiency of your cooling system and provide a home for mold to grow.

Most heating/cooling contractors offer a maintenance program that includes “tune ups” in both the heating and cooling seasons. If you run your systems 8 to 12 months out of the year, then you should have your HVAC system serviced at least once a year or during both seasons. In addition, you should be changing your air filter at least four times a year or once every three months. This ensures the least amount of dirt build up on the air handler components between servicing.

Pure Air Systems has been providing HEPA, Carbon and air filter media systems for the residential and commercial markets since 1985. Using a commercial grade HEPA system or one of their BioPanel air media filters in your HVAC unit will reduce the level of harmful airborne particulate while maintaining a much cleaner heating/cooling system.

For more information on Pure Air Systems and their complete line of air filtration products please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

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Capping Off A Clean Environment For Your Favorite Beverage

The next time you pop off, twist off or pull off that cap from your favorite beverage bottle keep in mind that you are about to put your mouth around a glass surface usually without even thinking about it. Wow! Really? Yes.

When we live in an era where people are using disinfectants for their hands, wipes for any kitchen or eating surface it is interesting how much trust we have in placing that screw top bottle into our mouths without a second thought about where it has been.

To be fair, the bottling process for any beverage that is sold in the retail market is strictly controlled by state and federal regulations. Interestingly, the actual filling of the bottle with the liquid and capping process are actually done in a class 10,000 or better clean room environment.

When the term Class 10 , 100, 0r 10,000  is used, it usually means that the area, when measured for a certain sized particulate per cubic foot, needs to be at or below that required Class rating. And the rating is significant.

For example, a Class 10 rating means that when tested with the correct digital equipment the area only has 10 particles per cubic foot at a 0.3 micron level. This is clean room clean. For comparison, your home environment probably has a level exceeding 300,000 particles per cubic foot at 0.3 microns. Big difference.

Understand that most bottling plants are large factory like structures using large process equipment, conveyor belts and equipment transfer stations; for the most part a fairly dirty environment. In order to keep the actual bottling process areas (filling stations) within the required class ratings they have to use HEPA filtered air to either wash the bottles as they are being filled or maintain a class rating for the entire bottling room.

Pure Air Systems has provided a number of its commercial grade HEPA filtration systems for these bottling applications. The PAS product line includes HEPA systems rated from 300 CFM to 2000 CFM all using variable speed motors for finite HEPA air volume control.

The PAS HEPA units are small enough to be placed close to ( less than 12″) the actual filling station and wash the liquid filling process with HEPA filtered air so that no airborne contaminants will enter the bottle or cap during the filling and capping process.

So the next time you get ready to take a drink of that cold soda or brew, you’ll be comforted to know that the cap and bottle top were HEPA filter clean when they left the bottling plant.

For more information on the Pure Air Systems line of HEPA and media based air filtration systems go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

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Clean Room Environment For Medical Device Manufacturers

With over 6 billion people on the planet and at least 3 billion of them using some form of health care system, the need for all types of medical devices continues to grow. From medical devices products as simple as syringes to complicated and life saving Stents, the need for these products continues to explode and the manufacturing techniques are becoming much more sophisticated.

One of the main challenges facing most hospitals, clinics and out patient facilities that use these numerous medical devices is the constant threat of infection especially post-operative infections. The advent of the newer, more drug resistant strains of bacteria, or MRSA, have made the medical community more aware of the need for reducing any possibility for infection from outside sources.

To ensure these medical devices and products are bacteria free they are manufactured in clean room environments and then sterilized prior to being encased in an air tight enclosure or special wrap.

The technicians that assemble these devices are often gowned and wear latex gloves and masks. This ensure no contamination from the technicians to the devices during the assembly process.

To ensure the entire environment where the materials, parts and final assembly take place is totally free of microscopic airborne contaminants, high efficiency particulate air filters ( HEPA) are used. The entire assembly areas are constantly washed with the HEPA filtered air to ensure a clean room type of environment and to reduce the possibility of shipping a medical device that could be contaminated and thus create a problem for the patient on which the product is used.

HEPA filters by design have a minimum efficiency of removing 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. Many of  the HEPA systems today use even more efficient HEPA media that can remove up to 99.9995% of all particles 0.12 microns and larger.

Pure Air Systems has been producing HEPA based air filtration systems since 1985 and has hundreds of units in operation in the medical market including;  hospitals, clincs, surgery rooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing, post-operative recovery rooms, medical device manufacturers and doctor’s offices.

Pure Air Systems offers a line of fan powered, HEPA based (99.99% at 0.3 microns) systems that range from 300 CFM to 2000 CFM using variable speed drive motors for finite control of air flow. These units can be used as a portable system or attached to existing HVAC units and ductwork. The flexibility and high performance capabilities of the PAS HEPA product  line make it one of the most effective line of HEPA filtration systems on the market today.

For more information on the complete line of HEPA based and media based filtration products please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

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Winter Means Dry Air, Dry Sinuses & Static Build Up

For those of you that live in the northern parts of the US, you know that when summer turns to winter, the air gets much drier. The reason is that cold air holds much less moisture than warm air and as a result the cold winter air is much drier. This also means your are shifting your environmental control system from cooling (removal of moisture and cooling the air) to heating ( heating the air).

When you heat the air using your forced air ducted heating/cooling system you remove what little moisture is in the air. The result is a much dryer environment; dry noses and sinuses and the inevitable static build up. The drier air also play havoc with wood furniture.

This warm dry air also increases the levels of airborne particulate since there is no moisture in the air (water molecules) to attach to the dust particles and make them heavier than air. Therefore you are subjected to more dust particles in the winter than in the summer. Add to the fact that windows and doors are seldom opened in the winter, and you have an environment that gets little to no fresh air or outside moisture for months at a time.

One way to minimize this dry air problem is to add some moisture to the indoor air. This is often done by using a humidifier; either attached to the supply side of the HVAC duct system or the use of a portable humidifier. The challenge, however, is to introduce the correct amount of moisture. If you add too much moisture you will get condensation on the windows. It is difficult to maintain the correct humidity levels.

Another way to introduce moist air and maintain a cleaner indoor environment at the same time is to use the whole-house HEPA air filtration systems manufactured by Pure Air Systems. These unit are fan powered and designed to mate to any forced air, ducted heating/cooling system. Not only will these three-stage filtration systems remove harmful airborne particulates and odors and gases but they are also capable of introducing small amounts of outside filtered fresh, moist air.

The 600HS, 1200HS and 2000HS series of HEPA filtration systems have the ability to introduce 50 to 200 cfm of outside air and mix it with the return air and filter it before it is introduced into the HVAC unit. By adding a 6″ or 8″ duct from the outside (preferably from an area just below the roof line) to the selected PAS HEPA unit, you can bring in some of the more moist outside air and increase the moisture in the house naturally.

Even if the outside air temperature is below freezing you are only adding a small amount of air (usually less than 5% of the total HVAC volume) and the cold air is mixed in the HEPA unit with the return air that is also coming into the HEPA unit. The result is an addition of moisture introduced at the ambient air temperature of the home.

For more information on the complete line of Pure Air Systems HEPA based and media based filter systems please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

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Ion Generators – Why They Don’t Work!

For the past 30 years a number of technologies have been tried in the attempt to remove airborne particles. A wide variety of air filtration systems or air purifiers have been developed and marketed with claims of total removal of harmful airborne contaminants and with no need for any type of air filter; using only simple techniques.

Two of the most common air purification devices that fit this description are air Ionisers ( or negative ion generators) and ozone generators. Ion generators use high voltage to electrically charge air molecules. Negative ions are particles with one or more extra electrons. Ozone generators are designed to attract an extra oxygen ion to an O2 molecule, using either a corona discharge or UV light.

Ozone generators were discussed in one of our previous blogs, so this blog will discuss the pros and cons of using ion generators as air purifiers.

Air ionisers work in this fashion. Airborne particles are attracted to the electrode in an effect similar to static electricity. These ions are de-ionized by seeking earthed conductors, such as walls, ceilings, nails in walls, etc. In essence the airborne particles are negatively charged and then find a positively charged surface and stick to it. (basic high school physics)

Perhaps another way to view this concept is to think about running a comb through your hair and then placing the comb next to tiny pieces of paper and watch the paper stick to or be attracted to the comb. This is how the ioniser works. Negative Ion Generators are also referred to as Ionizers (spelled with a z)

Here is the challenge with this technology. In every home and enclosed occupied environment there are always particles floating in the air. For the most part you can’t see these particles because you can only see particulate that is 20 microns in size or larger with the naked eye. Almost all of the airborne particles ( very light) are less than 10 microns in size (many less than 5 microns) and invisible to you.

For discussions sake let’s say that you can see all these airborne particles in your home as dark floating particles. When you turn on the ionizer the negatively charged air molecules will attach to the particles and then attach to or “plate out” to the walls, ceilings and any other surface. So now the dark particles are no longer airborne, they are now on the walls and other surfaces.  They have not been removed from the room, just moved to another location.

The issue here is that negative ion devices are marketed as air purifiers, making the assumption that these systems will actually assist in removing or reducing harmful airborne particulate without the use of any filtering component or device. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once the electrical charge on the particle has dissipated, the particle becomes airborne again.

The only way the ionizer can be effective is to use it in conjunction with a air filtering device that actually uses a mechanical media filter. Otherwise you will never capture the particulate.

Pure Air Systems makes a complete line of HEPA based and media based air filtration systems and mechanical air filters. The new HPS series portable HEPA units are extremely effective at completely removing harmful airborne particles as small as .012 microns. For more information on these systems please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

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Water: Your Friend – Your Enemy

Water, one of the essentials of life,  is necessary for life to exist; human and all other plant and animal life. We know water as a liquid and we also know water as a vapor as in water vapor or as humidity when the temperature and dew point get close to each other. We use water for everything. It is now being considered a more important product than oil in some parts of the world.

Yet, water can also be your enemy when it finds it’s destructive “dark side” , so to speak. This happens when we have water leaks in the roof; leaking water pipes, water in the basement, too much rain, flooding, etc, etc, etc.

Aside from the structural damage that water can do to any structure, the residual affects, like the development of mold and bacteria, can be significant. When any indoor surface gets wet; be it the walls, carpeting or floors, if all the water is not removed quickly and the surfaces and materials not completely dried, as sure as night follows day, mold will follow.

When water leaks behind a wall or onto a floor surface or into carpeting the sub-surface wood flooring or wood studs behind walls can become wet. Wood will absorb the water and wood takes a long time to dry out. Especially inside the home. Wood is a great food source for mold and the accompanying moisture keeps it growing. Add to the fact that these areas are dark, and you have the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Mold tends to spore once every 15 to 30 days during  its growth cycle and when this happens it releases millions of tiny mold spores which are very light and can become airborne. If the moldy wood source is exposed the mold will eventually get into the entire home and become dispersed through the HVAC system.

To minimize the amount of mold that is airborne in your home you need to make sure your air filters in the HVAC unit are capable of removing small, less than 10 micron in size particles. The filter should be a MERV 8 or higher rated filter and fit very tightly in the air filter frame locate on the return  air side of the HVAC air handler. In addition, you will need to make sure  the water or moisture problem is resolved otherwise the mold problem not go away.

Pure Air Systems has been dealing with mold spore removal since 1985 using its HEPA based air filtration systems that can either be attached to any forced air ducted heating/cooling system or as stand-alone unit. In addition, Pure Air Systems offers a complete line of dual layer polyester ring panel, MERV 8 commercial grade filters that will fit tightly in your HVAC filter frame and effectively reduce the level of airborne mold particles in your home environment.

For more information on our complete line of HEPA and particulate removal air filters go to our www.pureairsystems.com

 

 

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Still Smoking? Here’s A Way To Keep It To Yourself

While more Americans have decided to quit the smoking habit, almost 20% of the US population still smokes. Smoking is very addictive and difficult to give up. Many smokers try to limit their smoking to only the outdoors but this doesn’t work for everyone.

Many homeowners who smoke try to limit their smoking to one room to minimize the second hand smoke issues for the family members who are not smokers. While this seems like a good idea, the fact is that cigarette and cigar smoke easily travel along air currents and the odor can be recognized 50 feet away in another room.

Since most homes use forced air, ducted, heating/cooling systems, whenever the furnace or AC fan is on all the air from every room is pulled into the returns sent to the air handler, conditioned and then sent back out to the entire house through the supply ducts.  So, any smoke generated in any room in the house ( including the basement) will eventually be circulated throughout the entire home.

Pure Air Systems has dealt with this second hand smoke issue for many years, and very successfully. There are a number of methods using PAS filtration systems that can work for you.

First, you can place one of our model 600HS PLUS HEPA filtration units with carbon and variable speed motor with digital speed controller in the selected smoking room.  This unit can move up 600 CFM of air so if you sit next to the unit or place a small duct and hood on the inlet of the unit and smoke next to the system, the 600HS PLUS will pull out over 90% first pass of all the smoke (through the HEPA) and odor (through the carbon) and significantly minimize the amount of second hand smoke.

Second, you can use one of the new HPS series Portable HEPA units that again have both a HEPA and Carbon filter. This portable unit is considerably smaller than the 600HS PLUS unit (only 13″ sq. by 21″ long) and can move up to 500 CFM. It has a four speed air volume controller. Since this unit has a smaller intake area you will need to blow the smoke toward the inlet to allow for maximum capture.  First pass smoke and odor removal efficiency is slightly less than the 600HS PLUS but if used correctly the HPS unit can be the answer.

Third, you have the option of placing the 600HS PLUS or one of the larger HS PLUS units directly on the return air side of your heating/cooling system. The unit will remove the smoke and odor that is pulled through the return air grills in your home. However, this approach works best if you smoke near one of the main return air grills and you also have to make sure the heating/cooling fan is running at maximum speed to adequately pull the smoke to the unit.

Fourth, Pure Air Systems also offers a line of BioGuard media air filters that combine a polyester ring panel media with carbon. These filters replace the standard air filter located in your HVAC system and can be helpful in removing much of the smoke and odor from the cigarettes. Again, these filters work best when the heating/cooling fan is running and the smoke is generated near or close to a main return in the home.

Anyone of these options available through Pure Air Systems can be helpful in keeping second hand smoke from your family members. For more information on these filter products and smoking applications go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

 

 

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Better Heating/Cooling Systems Aid In Filtration

When it comes to heating or cooling the interior of their homes, most homeowners assume most heating/cooling systems are more than adequate to achieve comfortable room temperatures; be it summer or winter. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most homes in the US use split system, forced air, ducted heating/cooling unit that consists of a compressor unit ( located outside) that is used for cooling the house but may also be a heat pump version that can provide cool or hot air. The other part of the system is the air handler (fan powered unit) normally located inside the home in the basement, attic, garage or crawl space.

HVAC systems are rated by using a SEER standard (most now minimum 12 SEER) with units now having efficiency ratings up to 21 SEER. And, many of the newer heating/cooling systems incorporate the variable speed, computer controlled digital motors for air flow. These newer units are not only much more energy efficient but can also significantly aid in air filtration and the removal of indoor airborne contaminants.

The new variable speed fan systems in the air handlers allow for the fan motor to run continuously using very little electricity. When the system calls for heat or cooling the fan motor ramps up to meet the air flow requirements and runs at that speed until the heating or cooling demand is met. Once the thermostat is satisfied the house is at the desired temperature the fan slows down to a very low running speed (around 30% of high speed).

Beyond the fact that using a constant running fan keeps the air temperature more even throughout the house, the constant movement of air also keeps the particulate in the house airborne and allows them to be continuously pulled back to the air handler ( and air filter) through the return air ducts.

This is important because unless the air in the home is constantly being moved and pulled through the HVAC duct system, the dust, dirt, dust mites, mold and bacteria will stay on the floors and other surfaces and unless they are disturbed and put back into the air, they will not be captured by the air filters in the air handler.

Pure Air Systems has been using the variable speed digitally controlled motors in their Hepa Shield systems since 1999. And, is the only HEPA filtration system manufacturer in North America that uses this technology. When coupling the HS series HEPA units to a variable speed heating/cooling system you have the best of both worlds. A commercial grade HEPA system that runs in conjunction with the variable speed HVAC unit, ramping up and ramping down and providing constant air filtration with minimal energy costs.

For more information on the variable speed heating/cooling systems and the line of variable speed HEPA systems go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com

 

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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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