If you have an HVAC system, it’s actually much easier than you might think to make your indoor air better. By following a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve your indoor air quality with little muss or fuss.
1. Check for leaky connections in your ductwork. If you have a loose juncture, gaps between the register and the wall, or even holes in the ductwork, those leaks can draw in dust from one part of your home, carry it through the HVAC system and dump it out the other end. Calling your trusted HVAC contractor to come in and fix the leaks is an important first step toward good indoor air quality.
2. Have a quality air filtration system installed. Now that your leaky ductwork has been taken care of, capturing the dust, dirt, pet dander, and other large particle contamination that circulates with the air through your HVAC system is the next priority. Using a high quality filter (MERV 11 or MERV13) is the best way to collect as much contamination as possible.
3. Install a germicidal Ultraviolet light in your air handler. This will stop mold from growing on the cooling coil and drain pan. All the air that circulates through the air handler must pass through this section of the system. That means all the air that is sent back into your living or working areas has passed through the mold and other bio-growth that is growing on the coil, which will take with it millions of mold spores. The UV light kills all that bacteria and mold, keeping the coil and the air clean. (Mold is the fifth most common allergen indoors!) Keep in mind, too, that the cleaner the coil the more energy efficient the HVAC system is — you’ll save on your energy bill!
4. If you have trouble with odors in your home, consider installing an air purifier that goes beyond filtration. Pairing UV light with Titanium Dioxide creates a process known as photocatalytic oxidation (PCO). The PCO process breaks up organics, eliminating stubborn odors from the air while doing away with airborne pathogens and allergens at the same time. PCO air purification is especially helpful if you are an avid home renovator because it oxidizes all airborne organics, including fumes from home projects like paint, new carpet smell, adhesives – all kinds of “off-gasing” materials.
When we think of pollutants in our indoor air we think of cooking smoke, airborne pollen, cleaning product VOCs, dust build-up, or cigarette smoke – not the lovely fragrances created by scented candles. But what actually makes those candles smell so nice? Many candle companies use synthetic chemicals to create those aromas, simply writing “fragrance” on their list of ingredients, with no further explanation. That’s worrisome. Not to mention that phthalates – the chemicals used to make scents last longer – have been linked to birth defects and other reproductive problems, according to the EPA.
And it doesn’t stop at fragrances. The wick of a scented candle can also be a pollution culprit. Some cheap, illegally made candles have a lead-core wick, which can release up to five times the level of lead pollution considered hazardous. Candles made out of paraffin wax are also dangerous because paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum. The soot that paraffin candles create is bad for both your health and for your home. It will accumulate on walls and other surfaces, invade your electronics and appliances gumming up their inner workings, and most importantly get inside the body, irritate the lungs and potentially cause other health issues, as well.
It is important to know that not every manufacturer out there upholds the same standards for their products, so be wary! So what to do, especially if you really enjoy using candles? There are plenty of reputable candle companies that abide by the rules and regulations for health and safety. If you’d like to minimize potential health complications, be sure to use natural wax candles, like those made with bee- or vegetable-based waxes. It pays to shop smart and stay healthy!
Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled the “greenest street in America” on October 9, 2012. This project, located on a 1½-mile stretch in the neighborhood of Pilsen, includes a variety of green technologies including wind and solar energy, LED lighting, better rainwater collection devices, and even smog-eating roads! Yes! They are using PCO technology to improve smog levels! It’s the same concept as in our UVPhotoMAX and Photronic IAQ systems. The Chicago project used an Italian made cement that “gobbles up nitrogen oxide gases from the surrounding air in a catalytic reaction that is powered by sunlight falling on the road surface.”
If it works for the city of Chicago outdoors, imagine what it can do to improve the air in your home!
Check out Ultravation® PCO air purifiers here.
See short movie on how PCO works here.
Read some articles on the Chicago project:
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are gases that are given off of certain solids or liquids at room temperature. VOCs can be produced by either man-made items or by naturally occurring chemical compounds. In fact, many scents or odors you smell are volatile organic compounds and some of them can be potentially harmful to your health.
VOCs can be found in a variety of places, but mostly they are found indoors. Household cleaners, carpets, dry cleaning, adhesives, paint and even new furniture give off, or “off-gas”, VOCs. That’s why the concentrations of VOCs are so much higher inside. The gases get released into the air, and without proper ventilation there is no way for them to escape.
Some people experience throat and eye irritation when exposed to elevated amounts of VOCs, while others don’t seem to be affected as much. A small exposure to these VOCs won’t cause any serious damage to your health, but long-term exposure can. That’s why it’s so important to know what volatile organic compounds are and how to prevent them from building up.
Ultravation’s UVPhotoMAX™ and Photronic™ Advanced Oxidation Air Purifiers are designed to destroy VOCs by employing an advanced photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) process that uses an exclusive titanium dioxide formula. They install in your HVAC system and are effective for the whole house.
Learn more about the UVPhotoMAX™ air purifier here – the web page includes a video on the PCO process.
Learn more about Photronic™ comprehensive air cleaning system here.
See a list of hundreds of VOCs here
To learn more about volatile organic compounds please visit these websites:
People all over are taking notice of indoor air quality. Recently, WebMD® published a slideshow of indoor air pollutants and how they can affect people, especially children. The slides reveal a number of common household items and projects that can easily contaminate the air. Take a look at the WebMD® Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution slideshow and see what we mean.
There are ways to safely remove VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the air in a home. Ultravation’s UVPhotoMAX breaks down the VOCs using photocatalytic oxidation powered by ultraviolet light, reducing or eliminating odors and the harmful compounds in the air. It is important to keep the VOCs in check, because some of them can be very detrimental to the health of you and your family.
Learn more about UVPhotoMAX (includes video!)
If you’re struggling to control foul odors coming from your kid’s room, then this article is for you. While frequent laundering of gym socks is of course an excellent practice, there is a good reason why it might not solve the whole odor problem. Odors can “leak” off stinky socks, a gym bag, or a moldy sandwich left under the bed for three weeks, and hang in the air. Without proper ventilation, those smells can penetrate the drywall, wood carpets and other materials in your home if left untreated long enough. So how do you stop these smelly odors? The answer is a very interesting technology called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO).
When titanium dioxide (TiO2) is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, highly reactive molecules called superoxide ions are formed. These ions are very useful. They react beautifully with odor molecules (that are generally VOCs or volatile organic compounds), oxidizing them by “stealing” their electrons. This reaction causes the odor molecule to break apart and reform into simpler molecules —mostly CO2 and a little water vapor. The creation of the superoxide ions and the reaction with odor molecules is known as photocatalytic oxidation. Long story short, PCO freshens the air by breaking up indoor air pollution as it passes through the HVAC filtration. It stops odors without adding fragrances and other odor masking solutions that so-called “air fresheners” use. And there are no harmful byproducts released into the air since the PCO process results in harmless elements already found in the air.
Ultravation’s UVPhotoMAX™ – a whole house UVC germicidal and odor neutralizing air purifier – uses the power of PCO to reduce odors. Install one in your HVAC system and let your nose be the judge. Gradually, your whole home – even the kids rooms – should smell fresher and cleaner. AND, it does more than just odor reduction. It also uses the UV light to kill airborne bacteria and viruses – any type of airborne organic. So, it’s actually a two-for-one system: odor reducer and germ fighter.
To learn more about Ultravation’s products that reduce odors in the air, please visit:
Over the past few weeks, we have discussed the importance of scheduled replacements of UV lamps and air filters to keep indoor air quality optimized. But did you know that combining ultraviolet light disinfection and air filtration creates a comprehensive IAQ system that adds up to more than the sum of its parts? By working together, these units can eliminate a much wider range of indoor air contaminants then they ever could separately. Let’s take a deeper look:
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to smell first thing in the morning is what I had for dinner last night. Sure, that garlic and Parmesan encrusted fish on a bed of spinach and onions was delicious, but it doesn’t really mix well with a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin. And trying to get rid of those leftover odors can be difficult. There are all kinds of home remedies involving lemons, candles and burnt toast, but none of them really work well and all you end up with is one smell covering another instead of fresher smelling air. Of course, there are sprays you can use to attempt to mask the unwanted odors, but buying bottle after bottle can get expensive and who really wants their kitchen smelling like a Tahitian breeze or fresh laundry, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »
Ultravation® UVPhotoMAX™ shown with EZ-Light™ enhancement
Ultravation® will be exhibiting at the AHR EXPO on January 23-25, 2012. The 64th International Air-conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition will be held at McCormick Place North & South in Chicago, Illinois and is where 52,000+ contractors, engineers, distributors, facility managers, OEMs, and other professionals from all over the world will convene to learn about new products and resources for the HVAC&R professional and how they can use them to improve their business and sales. The AHR EXPO will provide access to more than 1,800 manufacturers and suppliers of the latest HVACR systems, equipment, products and services.
Visit Ultravation’s exhibit (booth 6391) which will showcase their extensive product line of Indoor Air Quality systems including the UVPhotoMAX™ air purifier. It uses TWO-bands of UV light in its ReFresh™ photocatalytic advanced oxidation (PCO) system to destroy airborne bacteria, viruses and allergens while neutralizing hundreds of common household VOC odors. Read the rest of this entry »
The EPA has been monitoring the air quality along the Gulf Coast and taking samplings in response to concerns from area residents about the odors they are smelling as a result of the BP Oil Spill. The EPA states that one such odor that people are experiencing is a smell you may experience when at a gas station filling your gas tank or gas can. The odor may be the result of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs – specifically those such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene found in oil. The EPA goes on to say that…
“Exposure to low levels of VOCs may cause temporary irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It is possible that people with asthma may be more sensitive to the effect of inhaled VOCs. The VOC smell may give you a headache or upset stomach but is not expected to cause long term health effects. If you are sensitive to VOCs, you should stay indoors to limit your exposure, close windows and doors, and set your air conditioner to a recirculation mode. The smell may become stronger if the wind or weather changes.”
Are you sensitive to VOCs? Ultravation’s UVPhotoMAX installed in your HVAC system can help. The UVPhotoMAX™ dual band UVC and advanced photocatalytic odor reduction system is highly effective at breaking up VOCs into harmless components. It works automatically within your HVAC system to destroy hundreds of common household VOCs such as building materials, adhesives, paints, varnishes, disinfectants, cleaning products, cooking, carpet, furniture, and others.