Healthy, Environmental Room Design

When discussing quality of life issues the issue of good health is always one of the primary discussion points. Most of us are aware of the health challenges when we don’t eat the proper foods or too much food and we always are striving to exercise more to keep our bodies and hearts in better shape. Yet when it comes to the environments in which we live and breathe and spend most of our waking hours we often don’t think about them as a quality of life issue.

The quality of indoor air, whether it pertains to your home, office or place of work, is fast becoming a major quality of life issue. And the condition of the work or living environment has a huge impact on your health.

Because most of us spend a good portion of our lives breathing the air in some type of indoor environment it is essential that the air we breathe indoors is as clean and contaminant free as possible. In addition, the rate of fresh air exchange ndoors is necessary to minimize CO2 build-up.

To minimize the entry of airborne particles in the indoor environment it is necessary to first look at the types of furniture and electrical devices that are used in the specific indoor environment.

Less expensive wood laminates tend to off-gas and can create some respiratory issues. The collection of paper, books and paper products produce tiny particles every time they are opened or leafed through. The use of laser printers, copiers and fax machines all produce some  type of ozone when running.

Carpeting can act as a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens whereas hard wood floors or tile create fewer of those issues. The use of indirect lighting can also provide for less glare and eye strain when looking at computer screens for extended periods of time.

One of the major challenges with maintaining a healthy indoor environment is the heating/cooling and air exchange issue. Maintaining a comfortable air temperature and humidity level in the environment is essential to proper indoor air quality. Most importantly is the ability to have at least 2 to 4 air changes per hour in a occupied environment.

Even with a minimum number of occupants in any room or office environment, the combination of airborne contaminants being produced from all the furniture and equipment plus the CO2 being produced from the individuals themselves, the level of indoor air quality and its affect on the human body can be significant.

Pure Air Systems offers a complete line of HEPA and Carbon based air filtration systems designed to be used in conjunction with the central heating/cooling systems or as stand alone units for individual areas. These units will remove the harmful airborne particulate as well as reduce the level of gases and odors and offer the ability to introduce fresh, filtered outside air to reduce the level of CO2 in a room and provide for a significant number of fresh air changes.

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

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Why Is It So Difficult To Test The Air In My House?

The term “IAQ” or Indoor Air Quality has been used to relate to the condition of the indoor environment in which we live and work. Often times this term is used in conjunction with companies trying to sell a device or filtering system to help you improve your indoor air quality.

But what is in my indoor air that creates this “quality” problem? And, more importantly, how do I get my indoor air tested to determine the “quality” of the air I breathe?

In a number of TV commercials that promote various types of air filters they show (graphically) the types of potential airborne contaminants that may be in your air including dust mite feces, bacteria, dust particles, pollen, etc.  These specific particles are usually from less than 1 micron to 10 microns in size so they are invisible to the naked eye. We can see particles that are about 25 microns in size.

In addition to these particles there are also gaseous molecules that are released into the air from things such as household cleaning fluids, appliances, cooking odors and off-gassing from furniture and carpets. All of these particles and gaseous molecules make up the environmental “soup” that affects IAQ.

Testing  for the specific types of particles and gases in a home, office or any environment is not a simple process.  For example, to test for the types and levels of bacteria in an environment requires some special petri dishes and sampling devices. Once the samples are taken, it is then necessary to have these plates incubated at a certain temperature for a certain time and then evaluated for species and quantity by a  trained, degreed scientist.

Testing for particles in the air is even more difficult. This is where the “CSI” type of equipment is required. To ascertain the specific type of particulate requires very expensive equipment and highly trained technicians.

To determine the specific type of gas or odor requires a very expensive ( usually $25K or more) Trace Gas Analyzer and the ability to understand how to use it.

If you used the above referenced testing protocol and equipment and had to pay for the readings and report, you would probably have to spend upwards of $2,500 to $4,000. And that may be low. So, when someone says they can test the air in your house using one simple device and do it for under $200.00, you need to seriously question this process.

Rather than testing the indoor air, we suggest you do two things. First, make sure your home is properly heated and cooled and that you have no condensation on the windows or free moisture in the house. This creates mold and bacteria problems. Second, use the best available air filter technology available to ensure the capture of these small, micron sized particles.

Pure Air Systems offers the finest HEPA based, commercial grade air filtration systems on the market today. In addition, these filtration systems include carbon media for the adsorption of gases and odors. HEPA filters are the most effective means of removing and reducing the levels of harmful airborne particles. For more information on indoor air quality and the HEPA air filtration systems, 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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ASHRAE Ventilation vs PAS Systems

PURE AIR SYSTEMS

A Discussion on ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2007
Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings

OLD STANDARD: The concept of utilizing mechanical ventilation as an effective method for reducing indoor air pollution in homes and small commercial buildings (two – story) has been considered an effective method to ventilate homes and minimize sources of indoor pollution. This concept applies to spaces intended for human occupancy within single-family houses and multifamily structures of three stories or fewer, including manufactured and modular houses.

PREMISE: The use of moderate to high volume self contained air filtration systems to allow for high rates of air filtration to reduce indoor air pollutants in occupied areas while also introducing small amounts outside, filtered fresh air for ventilation in-lieu of large amounts of mechanical ventilation as discussed in the ASHRAE 62.2-2007 standard.

IN THE BEGINNING

The use of natural ventilation in occupied areas has been around since people lived in caves. It is somewhat interesting to note that the method of ventilation for reduction of indoor air pollutants has not changed much since then.

The use of either natural ventilation ( such as opening up windows, doors or use of gravity vents) or mechanical ventilation such as fans, ducted vents with fans and mechanical HVAC equipment with the ability to introduce outside air have been primary methods of ventilation for years. This method was used for natural conditioning of the air temperature, reduction of stale air (removal of CO2) or reduction and/or removal of airborne pollutants.

There are a number of challenges with using outside air for ventilation. First, if you introduce outside air that is significantly above (hot) or below (cold) the inside ambient temperature you will increase or reduce the temperature and humidity levels in the occupied area and the energy requirements (and equipment costs) to maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity range become excessive. Second, outside air is not really fresh air. In today’s world no matter where you live the amount of contaminants and pollutants in the outside air preclude you from introducing any air from the outside unless it is properly filtered.

A MORE EFFECTIVE ENERGY EFFICIENT METHOD

Since its inception in 1985, Pure Air Systems HEPA based air filtration units were designed to be used to both filter the air and offer the option of introducing small amounts of outside, filtered fresh air for ventilation and reduction of CO2 and other airborne pollutants. The PAS systems can be used in conjunction with any type of forced air ducted heating/cooling system in the partial by-pass configuration or as stand alone units.

Page 2. Ventilation In Low-Rise Buildings:

The Pure Air Systems filtration units are all fan powered and range in air filtration volume from 350 CFM to 2000 CFM. These units incorporate an ECM energy efficient motor, forward curved blower, prefilter, carbon and certified 99.99% at 0.3 micron HEPA filter. The system is attached to the return air side of the HVAC system and a portion of the return air is brought in through the HEPA system (see image below) and continuously filtered.

A small amount of outside air (usually 50 to 100 CFM) is introduced directly ahead of the PAS unit. This small amount of air is naturally mixed with the ambient air from the return. Since the amount of outside air is much smaller (by percentage) than the amount of ambient air, even with extremely hot or cold outside air, the resultant mixed air temperature that is achieved through the natural mixing process delivered back to the HVAC system has a temperature differential of no more than 5 to 8 degrees F. from ambient. This means the amount of energy required to heat or cool this air back to the required temperature is minimal.

CONCLUSION

With the new tighter, energy efficient building techniques used today the need for some type of ventilation in occupied areas is necessary. However, with the need to reduce energy costs and meet some of the new LEED building certifications it is more important then ever that alternate methods of introducing outside air for ventilation be considered. The ventilation method utilized by Pure Air Systems is not only more energy efficient but provides a much greater reduction of airborne pollutants and better indoor air quality.

Pure Air Systems
6115 Guion Road
Indianapolis, IN 46254
800-869-8025
www.pureairsystems.com

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