PRODUCTS - HEPA FILTERS
A study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that indoor exposure to harmful air pollutants could be up to 100 times greater than outdoors. The EPA now classifies indoor air quality as one of our most important environmental concerns.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institute of Health), indoor airborne allergens and pollutants can trigger a wide range of symptoms including:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy or watery eyes
People with weakened immune systems can be especially susceptible to more severe complications, such as bronchial infections or pneumonia. While medical science has made great strides in developing medications to treat allergic reactions, health professionals generally recommend reducing or eliminating exposure over merely treating symptoms.
Common indoor air particulates include dirt, dust, fibers, tobacco smoke particles and fireplace or wood stove soot. Airborne particles can range from 0.1 microns in size to 100 microns in size; however, studies have shown that more than 99% of the particles suspended in air are ultra-fine, one micron (1/1,000,000 of a meter) or smaller.
To put this size in perspective, the width of a human hair is about 50 to 200 microns. Most of us can’t see particles smaller than 10 microns. These particles can remain airborne for very long periods of time, unlike larger particles that tend to settle on surfaces.
Ultra-fine particles are called “respirable” particles because they are inhaled in the lungs and are small enough to bypass the human body’s defense mechanisms. According to the American Lung Association, "While larger particles (greater than 10 microns in diameter) get caught in the nose and throat, and are cleared naturally by coughing or swallowing, particles smaller than 10 microns in diameter are easily inhaled into the lungs. Of these, the smallest particles are most likely to reach the alveoli, where they can remain embedded for years, or in the case of soluble particles, be absorbed into the bloodstream.”
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
Volatile organic compounds include potentially harmful or irritating derivatives of alcohols, ketones, hydrocarbons and aromatics, such as formaldehyde or benzene. VOC are often created from “off-gassing” of man-made materials such as carpeting, composite wood products or household chemicals. They can also be caused by secondhand tobacco smoke, which is known to include more than 200 different VOC.
| Some molds and other fungi can produce microbial VOC (MVOC) that can be toxic to humans. MVOC can especially affect people with allergies, asthma or other sensitivities, or suppressed immune systems. MVOC emissions may also include unpleasant odors, such as the characteristic musty smell often associated with molds. MVOC can also cause more serious indoor air odor problems, such as “dirty socks syndrome.”
Home IAQ Check List
If you can answer yes to two or more of the following questions, you may want to take steps to improve the IAQ of your home:
- Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems?
- Do they notice that their symptoms (headaches, fatigue, nasal congestion, sore throat, etc.) are worse at night or in the morning?
- Does any family member have immune system problems or illness?
- Do you have an infant child or elderly family member?
- Is there a smoker in the house?
- Are there any pets?
- Do you notice a stale or musty odor when the furnace or air conditioner runs?
- Do you notice dust on furniture shortly after cleaning?
- Is your home new?
- Is your home more than 10 years old?
- Does dirt or dust accumulate on your supply or return air grills?
A Healthy HVAC System Means Cleaner Indoor Air
IAQ experts now estimate that more than 70% of all indoor air quality problems involve the operation and/or maintenance of HVAC systems. Like any other part of a home or building, dirt, dust and other particulates can accumulate on system components and in ductwork. Studies have shown that even a thin coating of dirt and dust on critical HVAC components can significantly reduce energy efficiency.
Some duct systems are insulated with fiberglass or fiberboard on the inside surfaces for sound insulation. These materials can trap dirt, particulates and bioaerosols. They can also absorb moisture from the air stream, making these surfaces a perfect breeding ground for additional microbial growth.
HVAC systems are most susceptible to moisture-related microbial problems during the warmer months, especially when air conditioning is used. In the cooling cycle, cooling coils reduce the temperature of the warm air. Much of the excess moisture is condensed into water and collected in a drain pan. However, the relative humidity of the air coming out of the coils is often elevated as well, making these and any downstream HVAC components vulnerable to mold, fungi and bacteria proliferation. Cold-water humidifiers can also increase mold growth by increasing the moisture in the air.
Homes in hot, humid climates or homes that have experienced moisture, water or sewage leakage problems are at even greater risk of microbial contamination.
CAP600/CAP1200 True HEPA Series
These models are the ultimate in home air purification. They feature several stages of filtration, including a true hospital-grade HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air) rated at 99.97% efficiency against 0.3-micron particles. An internal motor/blower unit helps pull dirty air through these high-efficiency filters without adding to the load on the existing HVAC motor and blower. A high-output germicidal UV-C or UV Plus lamp is optional.
CAP50/CAP100 Inline Series
These two-stage particulate filtration systems include a high capacity 5”-deep MERV 11-rated final filter. A high output germicidal UV-C or UV Plus lamp is optional for microbial and VOC protection. The lamp module can be purchased with the unit or added as an upgrade later.
CAP500 Series UV Lamp Models
The state-of-the-art Abatement CAP500 Series UV-C or UV Plus lamp models deliver effective germicidal UV protection at an economical price. These units are specially designed to supplement existing particulate filtration systems with germicidal UV-C or UV Plus ultraviolet light to help control microorganisms like bacteria and molds, plus odors from cooking, pets or smokers.
“A growing body of evidence now suggests that particulate matter poses a serious threat to public health in many American cities and may contribute to premature deaths from heart and lung disease.”
–Dr. Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator
“An estimated 8 percent of the adult population and 20 to 25 percent of children in the population suffer from Type 1 allergic reaction to fungi.”
“Formaldehyde is a common chemical, found primarily in adhesive or bonding agents, for many materials used in households or offices including carpets, upholstery, particleboard, and plywood paneling. The release of formaldehyde into the air may cause health problems such as coughing, eye, nose and throat irritation, skin rashes, headaches and dizziness.”
–American Lung Association
“Bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses can breed in stagnant water that has gradually accumulated in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans.”
–Article appearing in Health Facilities Management, June 1997
You don’t have to live with mold and smelly odors