Ultravation News and Information Center

Category: Allergies

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!

 

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/

Allergies and You: Is your Christmas tree bringing out holiday sniffles?

Holiday AllergiesAhhh the Christmas season! Full of good food, good cheer and good fun. Unfortunately, it can also bring on sneezing, watery eyes and scratchy throats. For those of us that celebrate Christmas, there is a focal point in nearly every household: the Christmas tree. Some people buy a live tree, others have an artificial one but both can trigger allergic reactions.

Christmas Trees trigger allergic reactions

Live trees can bring microscopic spores of mold inside. Some types of trees, like juniper and cedar, can pollinate in the winter months, causing more sneezing and irritation. Artificial trees and even the decorations you pull out of storage to adorn your home can introduce a new burst of dust and mold depending on how and where they were stored during the year.

So don’t let your holiday spirit be curtailed by your Christmas tree! Keep your filters fresh and change UV lamps when needed! The holiday season is no time to be suffering from allergies. It’s a time to celebrate and enjoy yourself!

 

Learn more about Ultravation ProgressiveMedia filtration.

Learn more about Ultravation UV air treatment.

Learn more about Ultravation PCO air purification.

 

 

 

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 your UV lamps be changed and why?

The frequency of changing a UV lamp for effective indoor air quality improvement depends on how you are using the system. Typically, a UV lamp being used primarily to disinfect the air circulating through a home or small office should be replaced every 9000 hours or approximately every 12 months. For people with respiratory conditions or other acute sensitivities, we strongly recommend keeping to an annual lamp replacement schedule for the best control of airborne microorganisms and allergens. Read the rest of this entry »

Allergies and You: How to Help Alleviate Your Seasonal Sneezes

If you’re anything like us up here in the Green Mountains of Vermont, during the winter months we dream of warm sunny days, barbecuing, and relaxing by the pool. But many of us know that spring, summer and fall are also the allergy seasons. All of the plants that were “hibernating” under the winter’s snow have woken up and are growing, which means pollen has returned. Pollen released into the air by various types of plants is vital to their reproductive process, but unfortunately this simple act of survival can cause allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in children and adults.

Contrary to popular belief, flowers are not the biggest pollen culprits – trees, grasses and weeds are really more to blame. Because many of these plants don’t produce flowers, they have to manufacture small, lightweight, dry pollen particles which are ideally designed for air transportation. A single ragweed plant can produce up to a million grains of this type of pollen each day! With a strong wind, those microscopic particles can travel up to 400 miles. If you’re trying to control the pollen you encounter, removing nearby plants will only slightly decrease your exposure because of pollens phenomenal ability to cover great distances. Read the rest of this entry »

Ultravation to showcase their indoor air quality treatment products at the 2012 AHR EXPO – January 23-25, 2012

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 »