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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    I'm probably going to be getting a new downstairs ac unit before next spring, and there seems to be a ton of new IAQ products available. My research on the Trane Clean Effects stuff brought me here - and i'm not comfortable with the ozone production from it so i've ruled that out. However another local vendor uses Energy Miser products, i've not seen them talked about much on here, but they have something called PHI Cell or Photohydroionization Cell technology.

    I don't see much from a search on PHI of the forums...following breathe easy's mantra of "if it sounds to good to be true it usually is", i'm wondering what are the downsides of this type of system...I pasted in some details (hype) from the site about it below...i wasn't sure if a direct link was ok, there were also some fancy pictures.

    also - doing a little more research (typing Photohydroionization Cell into google) i found a site that had in the header: "IMPORTANT NOTICE!
    Because of ongoing problems, we have dropped RGF Air Purifiers.
    For a superior replacement Air Purification technology, see Air Oasis Air Purifiers" wonder what that means, maybe part of the too good to be true thing?

    How Does It Work?
    Step 1: We install a super-high efficient 4” thick, MERV-8 Air Filtration Unit to remove airborne particles such as pollen, animal dander and household dust, from the air stream.
    Step 2: An intense cleaning of the Evaporator Coil and Pan to remove any algae, and slime buildup.
    Step 3: We install a PHI Cell or Photohydroionization Cell manufactured and tested by RGF Environmental Group. This cell radiates Oxidizers that attack and destroy pathogens in the air such as viruses, mold, bacteria and odors without causing any harm to the occupants or the environment. These naturally friendly oxidizers such as Hydroxides, Hydro-peroxides, Ozonide ions and Super Oxide Ions, then break down themselves into harmless oxygen & hydrogen. The system doesn't create any chemicals that remain in the air and are completely harmless. The PHI Cell is installed in the duct work of your air-conditioner and is completely out of sight. Since the air in your home is exchanged every four hours, the unit completely scrubs the air to eliminate 98% of viruses, mold, bacteria and odors.

    Isn’t This Just Like UV Lights?
    No. This is very different. UV light is used when mold is discovered on an air-conditioner coil. The light is effective at removing that mold, but does not affect air-borne pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores.

    Is This Like An Ionic Air Cleaner?
    No. Ionic Air Cleaners operated by electrically charging a field between metal plates. Particles are charged and attracted to a collection grid which must be changed on a regular schedule. Ionic cleaners only remove particles, not bacteria, viruses or mold.

    How do I know It Works?
    You can smell the difference. In a test at a nursing home in Aiken, SC, where they had 34 elderly patients in diapers, this technology completely eliminated the odor within 48 hours of installation.
    This product is approved by the USDA for food purification and approved by the Chinese Government as the only device which provides protection against the SARS Virus. It also is responsible for eliminating the Norwalk (Cruise Ship) Virus after it was installed in cruise ships. Why risk getting sick?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Lubbock Texas
    Photohydroionization Cell technology. Its a cheap marketing ploy in terminology try photo-catalytic oxidation.
    Using a PCO cell doesn't receive enough of a sample of the air stream to be really productive. I tested configurations like that 5 years ago and come to a quick conclusion of not even trying to produce a cell. That's 20 year old technology that the Universities have been testing in their labs for a while. You don't get enough bang for the buck in the short version. The technology works great if configured correctly in the air stream.

  3. #3
    I like the MERV 8 filter!

    The rest is classic black box, miracle indoor air, cure-all marketing hype. Let's see - we put this tube with holes in it and four metals on it and then we shine a UV light on it to create various reactive oxygen species (ROS). It instantly gets rid of all the bad things in indoor air and converts it to "oxygen and hydrogen." Plus it kills mold, bacteria, viruses, SARS, Avian Flu, the common cold, anthrax, etc, etc. What was that mantra: "if it sounds too good to be true, . . ."?

    Several of our HVAC contractor companies asked us to look into this product about 6 months ago. We have not tested it but the "verification" RGF supplied raised more questions than it answered. Every point stated in the verification was questionable. There is an article on our website reviewing these findings.

    For example,it looks like it does produce ozone - and it could be fairly significant. Some of the tests were done "in-house" in the company bathroom. The tests did not follow standard protocols. They used data derived from some university tests on the use of this technology for food contact surfaces and assumed it would apply to indoor air. It goes on.

    To give you an example, alot of research has been done recently on ozone/terpene reactions. Terpenes are the scents in most consumer products. Researchers have found that these reactions create millions of easily respirable sub-micron sized particles and some very unhealthy byproducts such as formaldehyde and other aldehydes.

    Terpenes are VOC's. The RGF people claim their product reduces VOC's by 85%. To prove this they produced a test which showed the PHI reduced styrene by less than 50% and, get this, terpenes by 85%. They had no clue about the potentially adverse reactions from this combination.

    Just as importantly, they produced no research on the effects of this system on the organic chemistry based components of the HVAC system such as mastic, wiring, pans, flex duct, filters, etc. All of this stuff will prematurely deteriorate unless it is protected.

    Like I said, I like the MERV 8 filter. But I would go with a MeRV 11.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    I thought it would be good for a laugh. Yeah, i'm seeing more and more the simplest solution is the best, just using good ole filters. The information you guys have shared on the site has really opened my eyes on this stuff, its so easy to "buy the snake oil" once they throw in a few buzzwords, some science terms, and scare you with virus stuff. A little real world research sure does go a long way!

  5. #5
    Rgf Stuff is good. Though I market an upgraded version of the PHI cell I still would hold them in high regard from an effectiveness perspective.They only dropped the product because RGF requires that you go through a distributer now who basically jacks up the price. We offer the same technology for $289 and PhotoCatalytic oxidation cells are safe and effective email me a and I will send you spec sheets testing ets

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Miami, Fl
    These products create undesirable odors. A friend of mine has one and he has to air out his home to let the smell out. I don't think this is the type of indoor air quality people are looking for.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Ask RGF for the test protocol. It involved the inoculation of stainless steel coupons which were placed inside a controlled atmosphere 3' x 3' chamber equipped with a phi cell. And in 18 years since the product came out, it has never been confirmed. It's an Ozone generator, with a bunch of great marketing.

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