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Saturday, November 20, 1999
by Glenn Haege
Air Life Environmental Products, LLC installs a Dynamic Electronic Air Cleaner. The air cleaner’s 1-inch width means that it can be installed in any natural gas furnace without extensive sheet metal modifications.
My publisher was so excited about the new Dynamic Electronic Air Cleaner that he dragged me over to see it at this fall’s WXYT Home Expo. He had made an instant decision that he wanted the Dynamic installed in his home as soon as possible.
The reason for my publisher’s excitement was that the new product combines the maximum efficiency of an electronic air cleaner with the disposability of a heavy media filter.
The concept behind electronic air cleaners such as the Trion SE 1400 or the Honeywell F50 is first rate. Through a combination of electronic charge and filtration, an electronic air cleaner can filter airborne particles up to .01 microns in size. Both Trion and Honeywell claim that, at their best, electronic air cleaners have an efficiency rating of up to 95 percent on the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) Atmospheric Dust Spot Efficiency Test.
By contrast, media air cleaners have an efficiency rating of between 20 and 40 percent. That might sound low, but it is two to four times better than electrostatic filters and four or five times better than the filters most people have on their furnaces.
The reason why all this is important is that according to Environmental Protection Agency studies, the air inside today’s homes is 10 to 100 times more polluted than outside air. Forty million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma.
According to Trion Corp., a leading manufacturer of filtration and air cleaning equipment, 10.3 million of us have chronic asthma, 22.2 million suffer from hay fever and allergic rhinitis, and 12.6 million suffer from bronchitis.
Most of these maladies are caused by the two heaping teaspoons full of microscopically small pollutants the average person breathes into his lungs every day, says Roger Ferguson of Air Life Environmental Products LLC and representative of the Environmental Dynamics Group, which makes the Dynamic Electronic Air Cleaner. A vital first step to getting healthier is getting rid of the pollutants in the air we breathe.
Properly functioning, a good electronic air cleaner does just that. It can filter out viruses and smoke particles up to 100 times smaller than a top-of-the-line thick media filter. It can filter out pollutants 1,000 times smaller than the typical replaceable filter most people use in their furnaces.
The problem is that electronic air cleaners are high-maintenance items. Most are so filthy that they are ineffective. Electronic air cleaner manufacturers warn that the products need to be cleaned at least once every 90 days.
Even when you wash an electronic air cleaner in the dishwasher, it is a rather time-consuming process. In the real world, most people are so rushed that they do not do the proper maintenance and their electronic air cleaner becomes less and less effective.
Because of the high maintenance, Jim Williams of Williams Refrigerating and Heating in Warren, (810) 758-2020, says that most reputable HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) contractors recommend the less effective media filters such as the Trion Air Bear or the Honeywell F25 Media Air Cleaner, which only require annual replacement.
These units are effective on particles as small as one micron in size. They do an excellent job filtering out pollen, skin flakes, plant spores, dust mites, much household dust and some insecticides.
Unfortunately, they are ineffective against pollutants in the .5 to .01 micron-size range. These exceptionally small pollutants include most viruses, smoke, smog, many insecticides and some bacteria.
Media filters are very effective against “hunks and chunks.” However, if you have asthma, allergies or any other breathing condition, you really need an electronic air cleaner, which can become worthless within a year if not maintained properly.
That’s why my publisher’s hopes were so high when he discovered the Dynamic Electronic Air Cleaner by Environmental Dynamics Group. It combines the efficiency of the electronic air cleaner and the ease of maintenance of a media filter.
Unlike ordinary electronic air cleaners and media filters, the Dynamic is only 1-inch thick so it may be installed in any forced-air furnace without extensive revisions to the duct work.
The unit is made up of three parts: a powerhead, aluminum screen exterior and a disposable fiberglass pillow with an aluminum or charcoal mesh center. The powerhead converts a 2-watt trickle of electricity into a 6,500-volt charge that runs through the aluminum screen and polarizes the pad, trapping particles as they pass through.
The only maintenance required by the homeowner is to replace the central pillow every 90 days.
Roger Ferguson of Air Life Environmental Products LLC and representative of the Environmental Dynamics Group, (800) 916-7873, says that most Lennox dealers and many other heating and cooling contractors are starting to carry the new product.
They can help you start breathing a lot easier.
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