Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
“In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”
Finn Power shares in the growing concerns of indoor air quality. As we build newer, more efficient homes and buildings, the results are often tightly-sealed structures. The downside of this is that no air escapes; therefore the same air is circulated over and over again. Fortunately, there are products and services Finn Power offers to help you clean up and control some of the problems that can cause poor indoor air quality.
• Electronic filters
• Media filters
• HEPA filters
The ultraviolet light technology literally sterilizes microorganisms. UV reduces or eliminates germs such as molds, viruses, bacteria, fungi and mold spores from the indoor air of homes, offices and commercial buildings, ensuring a higher indoor air quality. UV light has been proven for decades to effectively disinfect air. UV air cleaners can help your family, students or employees live, work or study in healthier environment, especially if any of them suffer from allergy, asthma or another respiratory disease.
If you are a health conscious person and have a concern with the indoor air quality of your home or public facility, make sure you've seen the UV light. While a good filtration system in your HVAC is necessary, most filters capture dust, mold particles, mold spores and pollen but some viruses and bacteria are too small for them. Only the ultraviolet air cleaners effectively remove microbes from the indoor air. UV air cleaners are required in public buildings. Now they are available to homeowners also.
About Ultraviolet (UV) Light Used for Air Disinfection
by Edward A. Nardell, M. D. Harvard Medical School
What is UV or ultraviolet light?
Ultraviolet light is part of the spectrum of electromagnetic energy generated by the sun. The full spectrum includes, in order increasing energy, radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays and cosmic rays. Since UV is not visible, it is technically not "light", but use of the term "ultraviolet light" is so widespread that, it will be used here. Most sources of light generate some UV. For air disinfection, UV is generated by electric lamps that resemble ordinary fluorescent lamps.
What is germicidal UV?
This is UV of a specific type (253.7nm wavelength) known to kill airborne germs that transmit infections from person to person within buildings. Germicidal UV is aimed at the upper room air so that only airborne microbes are directly exposed. Room occupants are exposed only to low levels of reflected UV - levels below that known to cause eye irritation. Germicidal UV has been used safely and effectively in hospitals, clinics and laboratories for more than 60 years. UV does not prevent transmission of infections (e.g. colds) by direct person to person contact.
Is UV harmful?
We are all exposed to the UV in sunlight. UV exposure can be very harmful, or harmless, depending on the type of UV, the type of exposure, the duration of exposure, and individual differences in response to UV. There are three types of UV:
UV-C - Also known as "shortwave" UV, includes germicidal (253.7nm wavelength) UV used for air disinfection. Unintentional overexposure causes transient redness and eye irritation, but does NOT cause skin cancer or cataracts.
UV-B - A small, but dangerous part of sunlight. Most solar UV-B is absorbed by the diminishing atmospheric ozone layer. Prolonged exposure is responsible for some type of skin cancer, skin aging, and cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye).
UV-A - Longwave UV, also known as "blacklight", the major type of UV in sunlight, responsible for skin tanning, generally not harmful, used in medicine to treat certain skin disorders.
Air filters remove particles of various sizes from the air. The most important step in filter improvement is to make sure that all the air that goes through the electric air handler or gas furnace is filtered. Filters come in different efficiencies that are measured in the percentage of blocked particles. The higher percentage means that the filter is blocking smaller particles. The other factor that must be considered is the resistance to air flow. The filter should let enough air through to allow the system to function properly.
This is the premiere filter system on the market today. An electrostatic grid is powered when the AC or heat comes on and attracts particles to it. The grid is cleaned as needed with a water hose or in the dishwasher. This is the most efficient filter system available. This type of filter normally fits the same space as a Fiberglass filter, but does require modification to the ductwork and wiring to be installed in your air conditioning system.
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These filters are up to 4 inches thick and come in limited sizes, though the size selection is increasing. Rated at 90 to 95% efficiency, these filters are changed 2 to 3 times a year. Media filters require a special frame to be mounted in the wall or mounted directly to the furnace or air handler. There are some media filters that come with special adapters that allow them to be mounted in a standard filter frame that has 4 inches of clearance behind it.
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The term HEPA refers to High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (filters). Military Standard is used to rate high efficiency air filters, those with efficiencies above about 98 percent. The efficiency of HEPA filters has been traditionally measured at 0.3 microns. While it gives some performance guidelines for the efficiency of particulate filters, it does not tell us anything about which particles the filter is least efficient at filtering. While a HEPA filter may filter out 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns, it may filter significantly less at smaller particle sizes.
The EN (European Norm) 1822 is a two part test, which identifies the particle size that penetrates the HEPA filter most easily, hence the name MPPS (Most Penetrating Particle Size). EN 1822, which was released in the year 2000 is world's most advanced and stringent air filter standard for particulate filters. Many high-tech manufacturers such as Intel already require their filter suppliers to supply them with EN 1822 certification.
During the cold winter season the result of turning on the heat is usually dry, indoor air. This heated, dry air is often the culprit for such common problems as itchy or cracked skin, eye irritation and dry nasal passages. Dry indoor air can also increase the possibility of catching cold and flu viruses. Control the moisture in your home or building and increase the indoor air quality.
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Reducing humidity in the air handling system during the cooling season will improve indoor air quality by preventing condensation and reducing the growth of mold and mildew. Control the moisture in your home or building and increase the indoor air quality.
Dust, dirt, pollen, animal dander and other airborne contaminants are pulled into your system every time the furnace or air conditioner is on. Eventually, these contaminates build up inside your ductwork, making your system a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, fungus, mildew, and other microbes. As the air inside your home re-circulates, this build-up can impact the health and comfort of your family. Those who suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, especially children and the elderly, are vulnerable to the effects of indoor air pollution.
A newly cleaned system will run more efficiently than a dirty one, resulting in lower utility bills, and a cleaner, less dusty home. More importantly, clean air ducts can have a significant positive impact on your family’s health.