Google Science Fair Winner takes on Air Quality

Monday, July 25, 2011 by Michael Hebert
Google's getting into the science fair business now, and their first fair couldn't have been more exciting. Out of 10,000 contestants from 91 different countries, the winners were three American girls! The competition brought a ton of extra attention to the leveling playing field for boys and girls in the science world.

Naomi Shah, winner of the 15-16 year old age group, had a project on air quality. Naomi comes off remarkably articulate as she describes multiple portions of her project...

Background: "Environmental studies have consistently shown an association between air pollution and exacerbation of illness in people with respiratory disease..."

Goal: "The goal of my project is to uniquely quantify the effect of environmental pollutants on the lung function as measured by the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) rate."


Future Research: "There is a saying amongst environmental professionals: 'The genetic make-up is like loading a gun. The environmental pollutants represent the trigger!'

"Triggers cause one death every 20 seconds! The project is my sincere hope to increase awareness amongst all stakeholders in order to eliminate the environmental 'triggers' that take these innocent lives."

Check out her full project here.


Monitoring Air Quality

Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Michael Hebert
Last time I posted China and Europe were worried about the air quality, now it looks like some people in Canada are taking a second look. In the post, Ron Dembo, makes a good point,

"I propose that we monitor the air in our homes, schools, and offices in addition to our neighborhoods... it will save us large amounts of money in the long run. It is technologically feasible and it could make a large dent on the government's bill for health care, something that is getting out of hand."

The Canadian government, like the United States, estimates annual government spending on issues of air quality in the billions. Constant monitoring would definitely add to some immediate costs, but maybe it would be good in the long run. What do you think?

Helping ourselves and the environment

Monday, June 20, 2011 by Michael Hebert

Human health and the health of the planet. It seems obvious that these two things would go hand in hand, yet somehow we've watched a different tale unfold over the past century. On the one hand, we've made massive medical advances, dramatically increasing human health. Life expectancies have sky rocketed, and self-health movements have created a more aware populace with an increasing culture of preventative medicine. Unfortunately, on the other hand, we've watched the health of the planet decline, and our preventative medicine is aimed too often at the diseases we've created and exacerbated with air pollutants.

Urbanization has sadly acted as a catalyst for increased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and let's be real, urbanization isn't going away, but it doesn't have to be destructive to human health. China and the European Union recently announced a massive study on how strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will effect human health. It's about creating intelligent, pragmatic plans for sustainably shaping society. A simple idea, with some incredibly complex lines running through it. 

An excerpt from the study announcement:

Professor Clive Sabel, from the University of Exeter’s Geography department and European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) and leader of the project, said: “If we don’t start reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cities, the planet will get hotter and hotter, but every policy to tackle those emissions has a potentially profound effect on human health.

“That could be positive or negative, so in order to make that assessment we have to look at all the evidence and relate that to the on-the-ground technical, social, economic, political and cultural realities. This research aims to integrate data from a large variety of sources to inform key policy decisions to ensure city life is a healthy, positive experience that is sustainable for the future of our planet.”

Brilliant right?

There are clearly more human health issues than those caused by air quality, but often preventative measures for things like obesity and diabetes come down to individuals and everyone can choose their own lifestyles. But, we all breathe the same air. That's why Aprilaire has always prided itself on intelligent, whole home solutions to Indoor Air Quality that makes sense for human health and Earth's health, and if that's not enough, it makes fiscal sense too.

It's about time the health of the planet and the health of humans walked hand in hand again, but it takes a whole culture of awareness and desired improvement. Ultimately it feels right to help the environment and human health at the same time, and when we can make it happen it's incredibly empowering. Knowledge is power, stay informed and do your part.


A (so far) useless app and an intriguing idea.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 by Michael Hebert
I'm a bit of a social media/tech nut. I love watching (and let's be honest being active in) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. change the world. And further, I love that my smart phone can track and post to it all now. My mother, in her infinite wisdom commented that the day would come people forget life without smart phones. I'm already there.

I stumbled on a crazy app today for Droid phones called "Allergy Tracker." I have spring time allergies that are really just starting to subside as summer rolls in, so I wouldn't really need the app right now, but since I'm still so close to that dreadful time of year, I was intrigued. Essentially the app creates a network of people who 'touch inform' the app about their allergy conditions. The app locates you every time you tap into it, and effectively tracks allergen levels by creating a real time allergy map from everyone's responses. Pretty sweet, but does it work?

By the looks of it the answer has to be - not really - bummer. With some horrible reviews, I won't be downloading the app, however it does bring up a good point - if you have allergies, your best weapon is information. While we're never going to be able to stop allergens from existing in general, there are things we can do to keep them from existing in our homes, but you've got to be informed. It's easy to see these small air purifiers and see a solution, but fixing a room isn't as good as fixing your home. There are better, holisitic solutions for your home. Central Air Filters, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers all have their place in fixing your indoor air quality problems.

Check out the informational link from eMedicine health and then some information from us at Aprilaire. After all, information is your best weapon.

eMedicine health
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/indoor_allergens/article_em.htm
Aprilaire
http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=IAQ&category=filtration


What amount of ozone is generated by the Aprilaire 5000?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Aprilaire Team
To answer this question:  If you do not open your windows will the ozone levels continue to compound exponentially? No, they will not.  Levels of ozone inside our homes typically range from 10 - 70 % of the level found outdoors, primarily depending on whether windows  and doors are left open.  (ref: "Ozone Decay Rates in Residences", Harvard School of Public Health, Environmental Science and Engineering Program).  The reason indoor levels are lower than outdoor levels is because ozone readily reacts with other gases and surfaces.

You may also call us at 800-334-6011 Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm Central time.




>>> Webmaster 3/23/2011 2:50 PM >>>

What amount of ozone is generated by the Aprilaire 5000?

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Your posts concerning the ozone produced by your model 5000 air cleaner still leaves me uncomfortable. You begin by trying to dismiss the problem by saying there is such a high background level of ozone that the 2ppb created by your machine is inconsequencial and that all produce some from its AC power cord, anyway. Then you finish by saying that for sensitive people you should use different filters. It is what you are not saying that is the problem. I worry that if you do not open your windows will the ozone levels continue to compound expoentially? If you know this can happen and you do not address it I would read your statements as misleading and selfserving. So can this happen?
 
 


This Blog Blows - And So Does My HVAC System

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by Tom Ruse

I was sitting in a meeting yesterday and the subject of uneven heating and cooling in the home came up . Oh, yes it did!  I obviously have no life to speak of (so why would you be interested in my blog, you might ask? Not a bad question, really).

Anyway, the point of the conversation was that several of us have experienced first hand,  that running your HVAC system blower more often than just when there is a call for heat or cool can help even out the temperature differences throughout the house. You know, it works!

I've even found this to help when I have a roaring fire in the fireplace, which I know sucks all the heat out of the house and results in huge swings in temperature from one room to the next. If I run the blower constantly, this uncomfortable, energy-sucking effect is minimized to a degree.

Don't get me wrong, running the blower is not a great solution to an energy-hogging fireplace. But if doing so helps even out temperature swings a bit, it's better than NOT doing it. And if you're not using a fireplace, the idea of running your blower more often is even more effective in giving your system a helping hand to keep you comfortable.

This works especially well in older homes like mine with undersized ductwork, inadequate return ducts, and one system trying to heat or cool two stories. Running the fan more often circulates the air more which not only evens out the temperature throughout the house, but it also cleans the air more often.

Whenever you are circulating the air you are also circulating the airborne dust and pollutants that are floating in the air. It circulates back through your return ducts and is trapped in your furnace filter - or if you have an air cleaner instead of your standard furnace filter, you're trapping a helluvalot more contaminants before the air is returned to your system to be heated or cooled and put back into your house.

----
I was told that this blog was going to have the capability of adding mp3. If I had figured out how to do this, I would have inserted the Rolling Stones' 'She's So Cold' into this blog post.

How much ozone does the Aprilaire 5000 produce?

Monday, February 28, 2011 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

How much ozone does the Aprilaire 5000 produce?

You did NOT answer the question...
So can you try again: How much Ozone does the 5000 produce, and while you are at it, what is the ozone production for the 4200 and the 4400.


Aprilaires' response:

Aprilaire shares our customer’s concerns about ozone, and wants to reassure you that our Model 5000 Whole Home Electronic Air Cleaner is not designed to produce a significant amount ozone.

Ozone is produced as a result of many factors, some are man-made and some originate from nature. On any given day in the US, outdoor levels can be as high as 150 ppb.  More polluted areas typically have higher outdoor ozone levels because there is a greater concentration of the components that create ground level ozone.

Levels of ozone inside our homes typically range from 10 to 70 percent of the level found outdoors, primarily depending on whether windows and doors are left open. (ref. “Ozone Decay Rates in Residences”, Harvard School of Public Health, Environmental Science and Engineering Program).  The reason indoor levels are lower than outdoor levels is because ozone readily reacts with other gases and surfaces.

As a manufacturer we look to government organizations to set the standards as which to develop and produce products by.  As such, we offer an air cleaner that produces 2 ppb, well below the established FDA standard of 50 ppb for medical devices and the UL standard to evaluate products for consumer safety.

The high voltage power supply contained in this (and any other) electronic air cleaner produces ozone only as a byproduct of operation; the small amount of ozone generated dissipates by the time clean air filters out and into your home. In addition, the Model 5000 removes particles from the air that have proven by research to be harmful to humans.

There are a select group of people who are sensitive to ozone.  For these people, we recommend using the Aprilaire High Efficiency air cleaners Model 4200 or 4400 which is a passive media air cleaner producing no ozone.  For everyone else, the Aprilaire Model 5000 is the best air cleaner for your home.



Health Benefits of Air Cleaning

Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Tom Ruse


Good point about keeping the carpet clean. Another tip is to keep your system blower fan running shortly before, during and after you vacuum or clean that nasty carpet so air is circulating more often and any crap that is kicked up can be sucked into air ducts and trapped in the air cleaner.


Health Benefits of Air Cleaning

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The carpet is actually the biggest "air filter" in your home. This is good, as the carpets hold pollutants which would, on a hard surface, be stirred up by people walking or by ventilation. This carpet "filter" needs to be vacuumed frequently with a HEPA vacuum. Even with a HEPA vacuum, it is best not to vacuum when young children are in the room. The carpets should also be professionally cleaned every 12 months.

Health Benefits of Air Cleaning

Monday, February 21, 2011 by Tom Ruse


Our friends at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) have a nice website that among other things, explores air filters. It correctly communicates that the HEALTH benefits of using an air cleaner are of a dubious nature; that there are conflicting viewpoints and studies out there. But then, the website goes on to quote that the EPA recommends air filtration.
 
It also compares various methods for air cleaning. In particular, an air cleaner installed with the heating and cooling system has the advantages of using: 

" the great force with which air will pass through the filter. And it eliminates a space-consuming appliance and an additional sound in your home. On the other hand, the filters may be more expensive and more difficult to handle; and they may need to be changed more often. Consult your doctor and your heating service on this alternative to a portable system. Applying the already-existing fan"
 
One note to clarify; these whole-house systems, once installed,  are typically LESS difficult to handle and need to be changed LESS often than portable room air cleaners. And yes, the filters are more expensive than 1" filters you buy at the hardware store. But you only change them once every 1 or 2 years. You can get two of them for about sixty bucks online. So its $15 - $30 a year for a filter.

They also provide the added benefits of keeping your expensive heating/cooling system cleaner and running more efficiently.

Back to the HEALTH benefit - it's totally true that the jury is still out on that as it relates to air cleaners. It's also totally true that high efficiency air cleaners installed in your HVAC system capture alot more crap than any portable device or regular furnace filter. Just look at a dirty filter coming out of one some time. All that crap is airborne before it's trapped in the filter.

It's also totally true that I know allergy sufferers who swear by them.

THE EPA is putting Indoor Air Quality at a Priority

Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Tom Ruse
Say what you want about the government and the goodness or badness of "Obama Bucks",  the EPA looks like it's spending at least some of our hard earned tax dollars wisely.

Asthma triggers and other respiratory problems associates with indoor air pollution has for years been considered as a big health concern.

Particulate control, maintaining cleaner air and surfaces in the home, proper humidity levels and properly maintained HVAC systems are all good ways to help control the health of your indoor air.

Hopefully the EPA follows through and spends the resources wisely. Read more about their plans.

How much ozone does the aprilaire 5000 produce?

Thursday, September 2, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

I was reading the most recent CR evaluation on air cleaners and they warn against ozone generation by some cleaners. There was no mention of ozone in your FAQ. How much ozone does the aprilaire 5000 produce?


Aprilaires' response:

Aprilaire shares our customer’s concerns about ozone, and wants to reassure you that our Model 5000 Whole Home Electronic Air Cleaner is not designed to produce a significant amount ozone.

Ozone is produced as a result of many factors, some are man-made and some originate from nature. On any given day in the US, outdoor levels can be as high as 150 ppb.  More polluted areas typically have higher outdoor ozone levels because there is a greater concentration of the components that create ground level ozone. 

Levels of ozone inside our homes typically range from 10 to 70 percent of the level found outdoors, primarily depending on whether windows and doors are left open. (ref. “Ozone Decay Rates in Residences”, Harvard School of Public Health, Environmental Science and Engineering Program).  The reason indoor levels are lower than outdoor levels is because ozone readily reacts with other gases and surfaces.

As a manufacturer we look to government organizations to set the standards as which to develop and produce products by.  As such, we offer an air cleaner that produces 2 ppb, well below the established FDA standard of 50 ppb for medical devices and the UL standard to evaluate products for consumer safety.

The high voltage power supply contained in this (and any other) electronic air cleaner produces ozone only as a byproduct of operation; the small amount of ozone generated dissipates by the time clean air filters out and into your home. In addition, the Model 5000 removes particles from the air that have proven by research to be harmful to humans. 

There are a select group of people who are sensitive to ozone.  For these people, we recommend using the Aprilaire High Efficiency air cleaners Model 4200 or 4400.  For everyone else, the Aprilaire Model 5000 is the best air cleaner for your home.

If you have any other questions please contact us at 800-334-6011..



I am looking for a portable dehumidifier because I have FHW heating and cannot use a wholehouse.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

I am looking for a portable because I have FHW heating and cannot use 
a wholehouse. But, according to your discussion of advantages/
disadvantages, even your 1710A would not be recommended. Does your 
portable meet the same standards as your wholehouse? and if so where I 
can I purchase one.


Aprilaires' response:

Thanks for contacting us about your interest in our dehumidifiers. Our whole home dehumidifiers are best used for home that have the proper duct work. You mention that you have forced hot water heat but you do not mention if you have Air Conditioning and if so what type. If you have forced air cooling, you may be able to use a whole home unit. Can you inform me to your A/C situation?

Our 1710A is our portable unit and we recommend it for situations where you need to dehumidify a certain area without the need of ducting. But with the laws of humidity, it is impossible to allow a dehumidifier to only  a given space and not effect the surrounding area. For instance, if you were to place our 1710A in your lowest level to help with humidity, you would eventually notice a change in the humidity level in the upper levels  because as the air in your lower levels dry out, the humid upper level air will trickle down to the drier parts of the home. This will cause a indirect dehumidification of the whole home. You may notice that the areas furthest from the area being dehumidified  are more humid however.

Hopefully, This gives a little more insight to your decision.

Please let us know if we can help you any further. I'd be happy to assist you.

What amount of ozone is generated by the Aprilaire 5000?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

We are building a new home and the HVAC contractor has recommended Aprilaire 5000 as a possible air cleaner because I have allergies. We have had an electronic air cleaner for many years in our current home and have been pleased with it. Newer homes are designed and built tighter, leading to a concern that small amount of ozone which most electronic air cleaners emit is potentially harmful to our health. The latest issue of Consumer Reports of September, 2010, declined to rate electronic air cleaners for that reason.  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/heating-cooling-and-air/air-purifiers/air-purifier-buying-advice/types-of-air-purifiers/electrostatic-precipitators/closeup-electrostatic-precipitator-advice.htm
What amount of ozone is generated by the Aprilaire 5000?


Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us with regards to our Model 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner. Aprilaire shares our customer’s concerns about ozone, and wants to reassure you that our Model 5000 Whole Home Electronic Air Cleaner is not designed to produce ozone.

Ozone is produced as a result of many factors, some are man-made and some originate from nature. On any given day in the US, outdoor levels can be as high as 150 ppb.  More polluted areas typically have higher outdoor ozone levels because there is a greater concentration of the components that create ground level ozone. 

Levels of ozone inside our homes typically range from 10 to 70 percent of the level found outdoors, primarily depending on whether windows and doors are left open. (ref. “Ozone Decay Rates in Residences”, Harvard School of Public Health, Environmental Science and Engineering Program).  The reason indoor levels are lower than outdoor levels is because ozone readily reacts with other gases and surfaces.

As a manufacturer we look to government organizations to set the standards as which to develop and produce products by.  As such, we offer an air cleaner that produces 2 ppb, well below the established FDA standard of 50 ppb for medical devices and the UL standard to evaluate products for consumer safety.

The high voltage power supply contained in this (and any other) electronic air cleaner produces ozone only as a byproduct of operation; the small amount of ozone generated dissipates by the time clean air filters out and into your home. In addition, the Model 5000 removes particles from the air that have proven by research to be harmful to humans. 

There are a select group of people who are sensitive to ozone.  For these people, we recommend using the Aprilaire High Efficiency air cleaners Model 4200 or 4400.  For everyone else, the Aprilaire Model 5000 is the best air cleaner for your home.

The Model 5000 and ozone?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Comment submitted on the consumer blog:
 
I was shocked to read the Consumer Reports story on the ozone generated by the Aprilaire 5000. If the machine only produces 2 PPB, why hasn't this information been given to CR?


Aprilaires' response:

Consumer Reports is an independent testing agency that performs unbiased testing of products. As a result they do not consult with us or any manufacturer on the performance of products so their results may remain unbiased. This is why we were unable to inform them of the amount of ozone generated by our Aprilaire model 5000 air cleaner.

Since whole-home product installations are out of the question, here’s one convenient trick that may help improve the indoor air you breathe everyday: house plants.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
As the new college intern beginning my summer with Research Products-Aprilaire, I had little to no idea what IAQ even stood for. Only after a couple weeks did I learn the importance of keeping home air clean and safe. It’s true that most college students and young adults could care less about the air quality in their low-rent homes. Since whole-home product installations are out of the question, here’s one convenient trick that may help improve the indoor air you breathe everyday: house plants. Plants remain the most simple and organic way to purify your air. Those of you like me who have little cash to spend on home air improvement can quickly and affordably improve your air by purchasing a few house plants. Besides making your home look nice and well-cared for, plants do a fine job at removing VOC’s and other allergy causing toxins in your home. Some recommended plants include: Aloe, snake plant, golden pothos, chrysanthemum, weeping fig, azalea, English ivy, Chinese evergreen and warneck dracaena. If you rent and aren’t quite sure what air purifying system is in your residence, I recommend visiting a nursery and picking up a few house plants!

I have a slight formeldahyde problem in a manufactured home it is 1700sq ft. Would this 8100 ventilation system work for me and if so how long after installation should I wait to have my air retested?

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

I have a slight formeldahyde problem in a manufactured home it is 1700sq ft.  I had my air tested and it came back with a .12 ppm I am below government standards however I would like to reduce the level.  Would this 8100 ventilation system work for me and if so how long after installation should I wait to have my air retested?

Aprilaires' response:

Our model 8100 moves 120 CFM. In an hour we can move 7200 CFH. Based on your home being 1700 sq. ft  the model 8100 will provide .50 air change per hour(based on 8 ft ceiling height). Formaldehyde off gases from a variety of products. Exactly how long it will take to exhaust the formaldehyde is difficult to answer. We suggest you run your model 8100 24/7 in an effort to reduce the formaldehyde as quickly as possible.

What is your suggestion for ventaltion in an installation for a home with two HVAC units in the attic?

Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

What is your suggestion for ventaltion in an installation for a home with two HVAC units in the attic? Can I use just one Aprilaire 8126 unit and control somehow?


Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us with regards to our Aprilaire Model 8126 Ventilation Control System. This system is designed for use with just one HVAC system. It will ensure that your home receives the proper amount of fresh air each hour to meet ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation requirements. Calculations are done based on distance between the HVAC system and the fresh air intake, the measured air flow resistance and type of duct used. A fresh air delivery rate can be calculated and then compared to the volume of air required to meet the ASHRAE standard. If the delivery rate exceeds the required air, one system can be used. If the requirement exceeds the delivery rate, more than one system will be needed.

Zoning and Stats, oh my!

Monday, June 28, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
We need to use the 8870 thermostats to work with our automation system, but we also need them to work with a dampering system in our home.  Our second and third floor run off the same unit.

How can this be done?


Aprilaires' response:

Based on the information provided, you're referring to a zoned system. A Zone Control Board ties multiple thermostat inputs into a common location and forwards the heating/cooling/fan call. It also controls dampers for each zone so that when a mode is requested, any non-calling zone closes, directing that air flow only to the floors that need it. Our thermostats work as any standard thermostat would in terms of equipment control, they simply add another level of communication so that a home automation system has access.

Does the Aprilaire 5000 generate ozone? What is the MeRV rating of the Aprilaire 5000?

Friday, June 25, 2010 by Aprilaire Team
Blog question:

Does the Aprilaire 5000 generate ozone? What is the MeRV rating of the Aprilaire 5000?

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us. 

Aprilaire shares our customer’s concerns about ozone, and wants to reassure you that our Model 5000 Whole Home Electronic Air Cleaner is not designed to produce ozone.

 

Ozone is produced as a result of many factors, some are man-made and some originate from nature. On any given day in the US, outdoor levels can be as high as 150 ppb.  More polluted areas typically have higher outdoor ozone levels because there is a greater concentration of the components that create ground level ozone. 

 

Levels of ozone inside our homes typically range from 10 to 70 percent of the level found outdoors, primarily depending on whether windows and doors are left open. (ref. “Ozone Decay Rates in Residences”, Harvard School of Public Health, Environmental Science and Engineering Program).  The reason indoor levels are lower than outdoor levels is because ozone readily reacts with other gases and surfaces.

 

As a manufacturer we look to government organizations to set the standards as which to develop and produce products by.  As such, we offer an air cleaner that produces 2 ppb, well below the established FDA standard of 50 ppb for medical devices and the UL standard to evaluate products for consumer safety.

 

The high voltage power supply contained in this (and any other) electronic air cleaner produces ozone only as a byproduct of operation; the small amount of ozone generated dissipates by the time clean air filters out and into your home. In addition, the Model 5000 removes particles from the air that have proven by research to be harmful to humans. 

 

Unfortunately the Model 5000 does not have an actual MERV rating.  The reason is because the MERV test is performed with a carbon-like dust.  As we all know, carbon cannot and does not conduct electricity.  If we were to perform a MERV test on the Model 5000, the carbon dust would cause the unit to short out and not operate properly. 

 

Therefore, we conducted our own MERV-like test in our facilities by using a synthetic dust.  The results show that the Model 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner can be compared to a MERV 16.