Most Americans take 90 percent of their breaths indoors, and 65 percent of those inside their own homes. In an affected home, this can mean a daily dose of high-potency indoor air pollution. In Northeast Ohio, these airborne pollutants include pollen, dust and dust mites, mold spores, bacteria and pet dander. Volatile organic compounds (VOC's for short) emitted from building materials, such as formaldehyde, are also common.
Consequences from exposure include everything from mild symptoms resembling a common cold to asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.
Maintaining healthy indoor air quality requires three strategies: source control, improved ventilation and mechanical/electronic air purification. A whole-house air purifier mounted in the air path of your HVAC ductwork helps to purify your indoor environment continuously as your cooling and heating system circulates air through the ducts.
Air purification systems act against indoor air pollution in three ways:
- Mechanical filtration: A high-efficiency filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 16 rating removes 95 percent of airborne particulates and mold spores down to 0.01 microns. This approaches a medical level of filtration, higher than conventional MERV 8-12 hi-efficiency household HVAC filters. Standard filters achieve less than MERV 8 typically.
- Ultraviolet sterilization: After filtration, the airflow in an air purifier passes over ultraviolet (UV) lamps. Mechanical filters do not kill living spores, bacteria and viruses. However, these microorganisms are vulnerable to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light (UV) which destroy the DNA, preventing them from multiplying.
- Photocatalytic treatment: Odors, chemicals and components of tobacco smoke which pass through mechanical filtering are destroyed by a titanium dioxide-coated grid. A catalytic process caused by the UV light reacting with the titanium dioxide breaks odors and vapors down into water and carbon dioxide.
- Watch out for ozone: Some air treatment devices can create ozone and this can be harmful. Depending upon what specification you read, ozone, at any level, can be a concern. You need to see if a particular device can create ozone and at what level. Satisfy yourself about what, if any, level of ozone you might be comfortable with in your home.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling has kept Cleveland area homes comfortable since 1936. Contact us for more information on air purification for healthy indoor air quality.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.