Ultravation News and Information Center

How can I make my indoor air better?

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.

 

Introducing: The Germies & Friends!

To bring a little fun into an otherwise dry and dusty environment, Ultravation is proud to present The Germies & Friends! These cute little creatures will star in their very own comic strip and short films that are sure to both entertain and educate the young and old alike.

“Like” Ultravation on Facebook today to get notified when new Germies & Friends adventures take place. The first comic strip is on Facebook now!

 

 

Allergies and You: Pet Allergies – Controlling dog and cat dander in your home

Are you a person who longs for a pet dog or cat but are stuck with an iguana because you’re allergic to pet dander? Installing an Ultravation ProgressiveMedia™ air filter can definitely help! But first let’s learn about what makes people allergic to this common allergen:

People with pet allergies have an immune system that is hypersensitive to the proteins in dog and cat dander. People often mistake pet hair as the culprit for their runny noses, but the pet hair is really just a transportation device spreading the dander around. It’s the dander, or skin cells and oils pets shed, that makes people sneeze, itch and wheeze. Pet hair also collects dust and pollen, which can aggravate other allergies, so it’s a lose-lose situation for those with multiple allergies, but that’s another article for another day.

Here’s where air filtration can help. By installing a high quality air filter into your HVAC system you can dramatically reduce the amount of pet dander circulating through your home. The majority of pet dander is in the 2.5 micron area but can be as big as 100 microns. ProgressiveMedia MERV 11 professional air filters will capture nearly all airborne dander this size as it captures 80% of particles as small as 3 microns. But as every pet is different, so is their dander. For effective capture of the smallest pet dander, a MERV 13 filter would be a better choice as it will capture 75% of particles in the air that are almost 10 times smaller than even the finest pet dander (MERV 13 is 75% efficiency at .3 microns.).

ProgressiveMedia™ air filters capture and collect the pet hair and dander, keeping your air – not to mention your HVAC system – cleaner. Consult your HVAC Contractor for the best MERV filter for your system and allergy concerns.

Visit our website to see new videos and more about the advanced technology behind our filters.

 

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality: Are Scented Candles Putting Your Health At Risk?

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!

 

City of Chicago Uses PCO Technology on City Streets

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:

MSN

Phys.org

 

Happy Birthday Ignaz Semmelweis!

Even if you’ve never heard of Ignaz Semmelweis, you probably follow his advice multiple times a day. He discovered that there was a connection between washing your hands and spreading disease, which started the ball rolling on germ theory! Before his work, people had no idea that there was a connection between cleanliness and illness. Unfortunately, no one really believed him until well after his death. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things You Didn’t Know Could Be In Household Dust

Those dust bunnies hiding under the bed and lurking behind the bookcase are more of a nuisance than a threat right? Not necessarily. You’d be surprised what everyday household dust can actually contain:

1. Human Skin Cells
People shed thousands of dead skin cells every day, but we don’t really think about where they end up. To be fair, this isn’t really dangerous, but it’s kind of icky – sort of like finding a hair in your soup.

2. Decomposing Insects
This is just plain nasty. Who wants dead bug parts hanging around where you live!?

3. Lead
Here’s where the danger starts. Lead is poisonous. Now, the chance of being exposed to a high concentration of lead through household dust is highly unlikely, but lead poisoning can also occur slowly over time which can be especially dangerous for small children.

4. Arsenic
Back in the day, arsenic was a popular poison because it was difficult to detect in food or drink and didn’t have any well defined symptoms. Household dust won’t have enough potency to be lethal, but if there is a high enough concentration it could have some adverse effects, including diarrhea, hair loss and convulsions.

5. DDT
Even though DDT was banned from use in the United States in 1972, there is still a lot of it floating around. DDT has been linked to cancer, liver damage and reproductive issues so it’s not something that you really want in your home.

Dust bunnies looking a little more dangerous now? Never fear! Air filtration is here! Installing a high quality air filter in an HVAC system can collect 85% of these particles – but it can only capture what is airborne. A regular walk through the house with the vacuum and a dust cloth will help too.

 

Learn more about Ultravation air filtration here: https://www.ultravation.com/progressive-air-filtration/

 

 

How to Ease Asthma Triggers

May is Asthma Awareness Month! And with Asthma on the rise, we would like to emphasize the importance of good indoor air quality and the positive difference it can make for asthma sufferers. Airborne asthma “triggers” that are found indoors such as pollen, dust, pet dander and large mold spores can be difficult to avoid due to the large amount of time we spend indoors. Installing a high quality air cleaner in an HVAC system is a great way to help cut down on these triggers, because it constantly reduces the concentration of particulates as the it circulates the air.

As air passes through an unfiltered HVAC system, it will distribute airborne particulate contamination from one room to another. A quality media air cleaner will stop this process. In fact, an Ultravation Media Air Cleaner with MERV 13 filter media will collect 90% of particulates 3 to 10 microns in size, which includes the majority of dust and virtually all pollen.

We realize that even a good quality air filter won’t eliminate all the causes of indoor asthma triggers, but by continually reducing airborne irritants, concentrations are kept at a lower level and symptoms should be reduced as a result. Some additional ways you can reduce asthma and allergy triggers are making sure carpets are vacuumed regularly, that bedding is washed weekly, and of course, don’t allow smoking in the house! You’ll find that quality air filtration coupled with a good cleaning regime can really help ease asthma triggers.

 

Learn more about asthma at the Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America website.

The Benefits of Optimizing Indoor Air Quality in the Workplace

 

Provide a healthful indoor environment while reducing energy costs

In general, the better people physically feel, the happier and more motivated they will be. Walking into a workplace that smells old and musty or one that triggers allergies is not going to create the most positive attitude among employees. However, the implementation of a strategic Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) plan utilizing a combination of air filtration, ultraviolet (UV) light and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) can greatly improve employee outlook and sense of well being, without breaking the bank. In fact the return on investment can be amazingly short.

 

Air Filtration

Many allergy triggers – like dust, mold and pollen – can be dramatically reduced when using quality air filters. Integrated into HVAC, air filters capture dust, pollen and large mold spores that enter the air handler, preventing them from returning to the workspace. This can reduce the severity of allergy symptoms employees may experience.

Quality filtration also lowers HVAC maintenance and energy costs. As air travels through ductwork, it can deposit the dust, mold and pollen particles, which creates buildup and requires professional cleaning. Filters dramatically reduce the potential build up of dirt and debris, which results in fewer maintenance visits. Filters save energy simply because a clean HVAC system runs more efficiently.

 

Ultraviolet Light Treatment

When employees come to work sick they introduce germs into the office airflow. Some germs will be distributed office-wide via the HVAC system, contributing to the spread of office illness. The application of ultraviolet (UV) light in the air handler can help reduce this distribution. When passed through UV light a microbe’s DNA is disrupted, rendering it harmless. UV disinfects the circulating air, reducing airborne illness-causing bacteria and viruses.

HVAC systems are also prone to mold growth on interior surfaces due to the naturally wet surfaces inside the equipment. If the system is generating allergens, then the IAQ problem is exacerbated. The installation of UV lights in the air handler not only prevents mold growth and therefore allergen generation, it keeps unwanted biogrowth from clogging the cooling coil. UV keeps contamination under control, but also can virtually eliminate expensive, environmentally un-friendly coil cleanings.

 

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) and Odor Reduction

Office air can be polluted with other undesirable substances. Among the most common are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases that are released by certain solids or liquids at room temperature. The odors resulting from this process can be irritating and some are detrimental to your health. New carpeting, fresh paint, or even the smell of hot copier toner and everyday solvents can cause respiratory distress for some people. There are hundreds of VOC odors that can potential exist in an office environment.

Photocatalytic oxidation is a relatively new air purification process that specifically addresses VOCs and serves as an airstream disinfectant as well. The system includes a titanium dioxide coated grid energized by UV light. It creates a very effective oxidation process that breaks down VOC molecules into CO2 and water vapor. It is even powerful enough to break down cigarette smoke.

 

Everybody Benefits

It is easy to see how creating an indoor air quality strategy could be a win-win situation for both a business and the people who work there.  It goes without saying that happy, well taken care of and respected employees tend to do a better job. So think about your office. Would you benefit from better IAQ?

 

To learn more about Ultravation professional IAQ products, visit our website: www.ultravation.com

 

To find an Authorized Ultravation Contractor, please use our Find a Contractor tool: https://www.ultravation.com/find-authorized-contractor/

Ultraviolet Light Helps Fight Cold and Flu Season

Cold and Flu season has hit Americans hard this year. In fact, according to the CDC over 5,000 people have been hospitalized already, and we’re not even through the season yet. After picking up a bug at school, work or any other public place, we bring it home and spread it even further. But you can help reduce or eliminate the spreading of germs throughout your home by using UV light in your air handler.

As infected air passes through an HVAC system, it carries germs from one room to another. But Ultraviolet (UVC) light, a natural component of sunlight, eliminates many bacterium, viruses, odors and allergens by disrupting their DNA and rendering them harmless. By installing a UV light in your HVAC system, you can restrict the amount of germs that get re-circulated through your home, keeping you and your family healthier during this high Flu season.

Even though the Flu is a respiratory illness, it is generally not transmitted by air (unless in close proximity). Using UV light can still help prevent it from wreaking havoc in your household. If germs keep getting re-circulated through your home, you run the risk of being perpetually sick, weakening your immune system. Then the Flu can sneak in and hit you hard. By reducing the amount of other germs you are exposed to, you give your body a better chance to fight off the Flu more quickly, if you should happen to catch it. Now, because the Flu is a direct and indirect contact virus, it is important to take other precautions as well. Keep your hands washed and surfaces disinfected. If you sneeze or cough, use a tissue instead of your hands if you can.

 

Want to know the Flu level in your area? Track the Flu using this handy tool.

Learn more about Ultravation UV products