Ultravation News and Information Center

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:

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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?

Healthy hearts need healthy air: The affects of indoor and outdoor air quality on cardiovascular disease

ProgressiveMedia™ MERV 13 Air Filters – A Low Cost Upgrade with a High Return for Your Indoor Air Quality

 

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 »

What is MERV?

If you have looked around the Ultravation website, or most other air filtration sites, you’ve probably come across the term “MERV”. And, you’ve probably figured out that the higher the number, the better the filter. But, do you really know what “MERV” means?
MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a way to measure the effectiveness of an air filter. ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) created this measurement method. The numbering system denotes how effective an air filter is at capturing various sizes of particulates. A lower number indicates that the filter will collect larger sized particulate, but the smaller particles will generally pass through it. A higher number indicates that the filter can collect more of the larger particulate, as well as, a majority of the smaller particles. For example:

This system is based on the percentage of the smallest particles an air filter can capture, so particulate larger than 10.0 microns, such as most pollen and dust particles, won’t appear on the scale. To put this amazingly tiny measurement into perspective, there are 25,400 microns per one inch of human hair, and there are 300 microns across its diameter!
As the MERV rating increases so does air flow resistance, or what is known as “pressure drop”. When you put a high MERV-rated filter in an HVAC system, you are placing more filtering media in the path of airflow, which can cause lower pressure on the downstream side of the filter. This means your HVAC isn’t moving the air though the ductwork as fast, which can make the system take longer to do its job. That being said, using a quality filter will help keep pressure drop minimized. For example, Ultravation’s ProgressiveMedia™ MERV 11 filters actually have a pressure drop rating of a MERV 8, which is not something many other companies can say.
So now that you know a little more about MERV, you can better decide what air filter is best for your HVAC system and your indoor air environment. Be sure to research what your HVAC unit can handle before purchasing an upgraded air filter. If you usually use a MERV 4 and then switch to a MERV 13, it could potentially be problematic for your HVAC system. Contacting an HVAC professional to discuss your options is always recommended.

Healthy hearts need healthy air: The affects of indoor and outdoor air quality on cardiovascular disease

Eating well, getting enough exercise, and watching your weight are all vital to keeping your heart healthy, but it may not be enough. You also need to breathe clean air. “What?” you may ask. “How does the air I breathe affect my heart?” Studies have shown that “long-term, chronic exposure to air pollution seems to manifest more in cardiovascular disease than it does in respiratory disease”.

Both outdoor and indoor air is full of particulate matter (PM). The larger particles, like pollen, get caught in our nose or throat  – our immune system’s first line of defense in capturing air pollution. But after thousands and thousands of years, our immune system is a little outdated. We can no longer defend ourselves against every kind of airborne particulate matter. Outdoors, automobiles, construction sites and power plants, for example, emit PM that is 2.5 microns in size or less – that’s smaller than our bodies can naturally repel. Indoor air pollution is just as concerning, as most people in the US spend nearly 90% of their time indoors. Cooking, burning candles and wood burning fireplaces (not to mention tobacco smoke) also create PM that is as small as 2.5 microns. These minute particles can work their way into the deepest parts of our lungs and actually move into the bloodstream where air pollution related heart problems begin. These pollutants also cause inflammation in the lungs actually accelerating the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and can lead to ischemic heart disease, which causes heart attacks and other heart related problems. The EPA estimates that fine particulate exposure kills 20,000 people every year, and hospitalizes even more.

Just because our bodies can’t naturally filter the smaller end of the PM spectrum doesn’t mean that we are completely defenseless. By implementing indoor air quality products, such as high quality air filters you can dramatically reduce your exposure to these harmful pollutants. Installing an air filter into your HVAC system is a great way to do this, because it is a convenient and cost effective whole-house solution. MERV 13 rated air filters can capture 65% of particles as small as .1 microns, and 90% of particles in the 1.0 – 3.0 micron range. If you don’t have an HVAC system, portable air filters are a viable option for pollutant reduction in your home. Either way, it’s nice to know you have some control over the quality of the indoor air you breathe which can result in keeping a healthier heart.

 

You can check out the air pollution report card for your state to see how your area measures up:

http://www.stateoftheair.org/

 

To learn more about Ultravation quality air filtration visit:

https://www.ultravation.com/progressive-air-filtration/

 

To learn more about fine particulate matter and your health visit:

http://www.epa.gov/pm/health.html

http://www.hcdoes.org/airquality/monitoring/pm.htm

http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/pmq_a.htm

 

Photo Credit: Luigi Dimanti

 

ProgressiveMedia™ MERV 13 Air Filters – A Low Cost Upgrade with a High Return for Your Indoor Air Quality

Ultravation® ProgressiveMedia™ air filtration’s pleated design has nine times more surface area than a traditional flat air filter. Combine that with Ultravation® UltraStrand™ hypoallergenic fibers that are uniquely shaped and electrostatically charged to attract particles, these filters are built to collect nearly anything that comes their way.

In addition to our highly efficient MERV 11 series, we are now offering MERV 13 filtration. MERV 13 has a better particle capture rating and, like our other ProgressiveMedia filters, are very cost effective for the high level of performance they deliver.

Why should you upgrade to MERV 13? When you compare, you’ll find that Ultravation’s ProgressiveMedia MERV 13 rated filters remove contamination that approach HEPA ratings—at a much lower cost than a HEPA installation.

How MERV 13 air filters outperform MERV 11:

  • MERV 13 filters capture 90% of contamination as small as 1 micron, such as particulates in auto emissions, while MERV 11 collects 65% (which happens to be the lowest particle size for which MERV 11 filters are rated).
  • MERV 13 filters go further and capture 75% of particles as small as .3 microns (such as tobacco smoke).
  • And…Ultravation® MERV 13 filters have NO MORE air flow resistance than MERV 11 rated filters.

 

Even with the better particle capture, Ultravation MERV 13 filters still have the same life expectancy as the MERV 11 (up to one year in typical conditions). And they fit the same Ultravation Media Air Cleaner cabinets as the MERV 11.

So the next time you buy air filters, replace your Ultravation MERV 11 with MERV 13 filters for an easy and economical way to get even cleaner air! Here’s how…

Ewww…What’s that smell?

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 »

5 Ways Indoor Air Quality Can Save You Energy and Money

1. By implementing indoor air quality products to help eliminate airborne contaminates, you could save thousands on doctor bills. Indoor air can be contaminated with all kinds of allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and germs that can make you sick. This air then gets recycled though an HVAC system, spreading the infected air throughout a home. Using IAQ products helps lower the chances of illness and even asthma attacks because they clean air as it flows through a device, helping remove the harmful materials and making the air safer to breathe.

2. UV-C light allows your HVAC system to run at top efficiency by keeping the cooling coils free of mold and other bio-growth. The disinfecting power of UV-C light breaks down the DNA of microbes that, when allowed to accumulate, can bog down your HVAC system and make it work harder to process the air in your home. You will use less energy by running a clean HVAC system.

3. UV-C light helps prevent costly repairs and chemical cleanings that cooling coils would otherwise have to regularly undergo, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.

4. Air filters collect dust, and other particle contaminates before they can reach the cooling coils, dramatically reducing the amount of energy needed to run the heating and cooling process in your HVAC system.

5. The amount of energy consumed by the indoor air quality products in a home will likely be significantly less than the amount of energy used in an HVAC system without them. Therefore, IAQ products can easily pay for themselves with the energy savings you would accrue, making IAQ a smart investment.

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 »

Is Mold Secretly Growing in YOUR Home?

Don't let this happen to your home.

We all agree that having central air conditioning and heating can be a blessing, but it can also carry a bit of a curse. The fact is, your HVAC system could be breeding mold in YOUR home right now! As air circulates through a home, airborne mold, bacteria and viruses are drawn into the HVAC system and accumulate on the cooling coils and in the drain pan. These areas are ideal environments for mold to grow due to the moisture that condenses on surfaces as the air is dehumidified. As air flows through the HVAC system, it not only “drops off” additional spores, it “picks up” millions of mold spores from the infected coil and drain pan and distributes them to every room in the house. Aside from the fact that mold growing anywhere in your home needs to be addressed, having it centrally distributed by your HVAC system raises major concerns about the health of everyone in the household. Read the rest of this entry »