Ultravation News and Information Center

Category: Air filtration

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.

 

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.

 

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/

What is Pressure Drop?

Pressure Drop DiagramThe term “Pressure Drop” gets used a lot in the indoor air quality industry, but it isn’t always well defined. The Wikipedia definition of pressure drop is as follows:

Pressure drop is a term used to describe the decrease in pressure from one point in a pipe or tube to another point downstream.

This applies to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) when we talk about air filtration. When air is drawn through an HVAC system with a filter installed, that filter will create some resistance to the airflow. As a result, the difference in air pressure in the ductwork on one side of the filter versus the other side of the filter is what HVAC professionals refer to as pressure drop. Too much Filter clogged with dustpressure drop indicates too much resistance to the airflow and that an HVAC system is struggling to process the air. This wastes energy and accelerates wear and tear, as the blower has to work harder and run longer to achieve the desired temperature at the thermostat. The trick is to install an air filtration system that is effective without creating excessive pressure drop such as an Ultravation ProgressiveMedia Whole House Air Cleaner.

However, dirty filters are still the most common cause of excessive pressure drop. That’s why it is so important that filters are changed on a regular basis. When you use Ultravation ProgressiveMedia™ air filters, it is typically best to replace a 5” thick pleated air filter every 6 months. If you live in a particularly dusty climate you may need to change it more often. If you have acute allergies, monitor your filter and symptoms closely to determine what your ideal replacement schedule should be. For people with 1” filters in their air handler, the filter usually needs to be replaced once a month.

Allergies and You: Combat Winter Allergens

For our readers in the north, even though the pollen has died down and the leaves have fallen off the trees, it doesn’t mean that allergy sufferers are off the hook. There are a variety of indoor winter allergens that can still plague us.

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your winter allergy symptoms is to change your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter will not only recirculate particulate that has already been collected, but it can also create excessive air resistance in the HVAC sustem, which wastes energy. If you are still using the typical 1″ furnace filter, consider a quality 5″ pleated filter for much better results and fewer filter changes. You should also have your ductwork cleaned annually, preferably in the fall. If you don’t have central air conditioning, dust and dirt can infiltrate a homes’ ductwork over the summer. When you turn on your heating for the first time, all that particulate gets kicked up and circulated, triggering allergic reactions.

Other allergen concerns are a little less obvious. Since November and December each have major holidays and most people have decorations that they like to set up. But those decorations – having been stored for a year – can collect dust and even grow mold. Even Christmas trees can cause allergic reactions for some people (more on this topic to come). Family and friends are also a big part of our winter celebrations and – sorry to say – they can be a source of allergens too. Pet dander and other irritants hitching a ride on clothing and shoes when people visit can be a source for allergic reactions.

Quality indoor air contributes to the comfort of a home in all seasons!  And the more allergen-free the better. To learn more about Ultravation’s indoor air quality products, please visit our website.

Happy Holidays!

Allergies and You: Fall Allergies

Fall allergies

Now that it’s autumn, there is a whole new list of things that will make you sneeze and cough, with ragweed at the top of the list. WebMD had a great article describing what these allergens are and why they make your nose run. But don’t despair! Ultravation ProgressiveMedia whole house air cleaners for HVAC systems can help ease your worst allergy symptoms. Collect the spores (10 – 30 microns), pollen (10-1000 microns) and dust mites (.1 – 300 microns) discussed in the article as they find their way into your indoor air. Visit Ultravation.com to determine what filter is right for you!

Building a Comprehensive Indoor Air Quality System

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

How often should you change your Ultravation air filter and why?

It is important to maintain your air filter regularly. If you don’t, you run the risk of straining the HVAC system, potentially causing costly repairs and re-polluting your indoor air.

Depending on your climate, a 5″ Ultravation ProgressiveMedia filter (which has 32 sq ft of pleated, filtering media) will last 6 months to a full year. But every home has different conditions, so be sure to begin checking your filter at about 6 months to determine the schedule best for you. If you live in a dusty or dry area, more frequent filter changes may be needed due to these environmental demands and your individual respiratory situation.

After 12 months, it does not matter where you live–you need to change the filter. By this time, the filter media will be very full and won’t be functioning well. A dirty filter wastes energy, as the HVAC system has to operate longer and work harder to pull the air through the filter.

If you are using our 1″ filter (which has 6 sq ft of pleated, filtering media), we recommend changing it once a month, but again, check it once in a while to make sure it isn’t filling up too quickly and disrupting airflow. Adjust your replacement schedule based on your individual and environmental circumstances.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your HVAC contractor. They will have direct knowledge of your particular environmental circumstances.

 

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What is MERV?

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