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  1. #1

    IQAir CleanZone plus a carbon filter?

    Hi:

    I really like IQAir and their IQAir Perfect 16 for my house. I am super sensitive to dust, molds and VOCs. I was wondering if anyone could advise me on if (and how) I could add a carbon filter to the IQAir Perfect 16?

    Thank you in advance!

    A

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    906

    use a separate unit

    I'd suggest not adding one in series with the IQAir filter, but buying a separate unit. I've thought a long time about this problem, and here's a quick summary:

    1. Active carbon filters use several mechanisms: adsorption, catalytic decomposition of ozone and related oxidizers, and absorption. Adsorption means that whatever the filter captures is only captured temporarily and can get desorbed later on. Absorption uses up the carbon. The catalytic mode remains functional even if the carbon is saturated with VOCs, but its degree of activity declines slowly with time. To be effective in absorbing VOCs, you need *pounds* of activated carbon. The little carbon meshes don't come close -- I'd guess that they'll absorb a few puffs of Lysol at most, and the air isn't in contact with enough carbon to catalytically reduce ozone much. It's better than nothing but don't count on them for much.

    2. The carbon filter meshes restrict air just like a regular filter, so the total pressure drop becomes too much for the furnace to handle when you use both a regular filter and a carbon filter.

    3. Carbon alone doesn't deal well with all VOCs.

    4. Residential photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) units are being touted as a solution but their safety is controversial, they are new (not time-tested, see recent recall), require expensive UV bulbs to be changed yearly, those bulbs contain a lot of mercury that requires special disposal, and hope you don't break one in your house. They'd be safer if they were followed by a substantial carbon filter but then you're back to square one -- why bother with PCOs then. PCOs have their place in some industrial situations but I'm not convinced about their appropriateness in most residential applications.

    Separate units can use mixes of carbon and zeolite or other compounds to be effective against a broad range of VOCs and pollutants. In my house I use a Carbonaire filter (40 lbs of carbon, I found it very effective) with a Fantech fan running continuously, and ducted to the furnace's air return. I also have boxes of sodium bicarbonate close to the return vents, but not blocking them, that act like an acid trap because bicarbonate is alkaline -- that takes care of the smelly sulfur (acid) emissions by the high fructose corn syrup plant nearby.

    You may already know this, but just in case... Molds will become inactive if you measure, reduce and control the humidity.

    Ventilation can reduce VOCs too, but obviously can't reduce it below the outside level of pollution... With filters you can attain lower VOC levels than with just ventilation.
    Last edited by pmeunier; 08-09-2007 at 02:18 PM. Reason: added note on humidity

  3. #3
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    quote: Residential photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) units are being touted as a solution but their safety is controversial, they are new (not time-tested, see recent recall)
    Pmeunier your entitled to your own opinion but a recent recall I haven't herd of this. Please enlighten me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    906
    Quote Originally Posted by genesis View Post
    quote: Residential photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) units are being touted as a solution but their safety is controversial, they are new (not time-tested, see recent recall)
    Pmeunier your entitled to your own opinion but a recent recall I haven't herd of this. Please enlighten me.
    I was referring to the Trane Clean Effects recall. It's like buying a new model car in the first year of production, some things go wrong. Hopefully it will be all sorted out in a few years. Regardless of production quality problems, there are other issues. I'm ozone-sensitive. If the small amounts that an Aprilaire 5000 emits affects me, I bet that the ozone from the Clean Effects would affect me as well. Paying hundreds of dollars for months of unease and then discovering that the symptoms go away when the unit is turned off isn't pleasant, I can tell you that -- I think I was ripped off and the HVAC company never came back to remove the unit despite my requests. I had to rip it out and put the old 4" filter I had before back (thankfully I had saved it and I'm fine now). So, when I talk about safety, I realize that most people aren't as sensitive as I am, but then what good are safety belts that break off for 10% of the people? You can't call them safe.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2003
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    Oh, re-reading that I guess it sounds like I was saying it was a safety recall that would apply to PCO units in general. Poor wording on my part, sorry; it was a safety recall but due to design/production problems in the Clean Effects (high ozone production, arcing, etc acording to posts in the other thread).
    Last edited by pmeunier; 08-10-2007 at 07:44 AM. Reason: nuances -- trying to be precise

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Lubbock Texas
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    lol scared me . Thought that's what it was. We are just finishing a project to head out the door for a ship that has over 600 UVGI Tubes up to 7 feet, and 500 catalyst panels. Was hoping to be on the lake fishing those few weeks
    instead of being the general on the install.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the replies. One additional question: Do the Residential photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) product Ozone or does the clean effects produce ozone from some other process?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lubbock Texas
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    Andrew the clean effects produces ozone from the ionization process(charging the air to magnetize it). A true PCO process doesn't produce ozone. Lennox's Clean Air System, Mann Unit or our Genesis Air. Lennox's unit uses the UVA band width to activate the catalyst but doesnt do much for the germicidal needs. Mann's and our unit both use the Philip's UVGI twin tube bulb that doesn't produce ozone because of the quartz glass its made of and the band width production doesn't go below 254 nm. These are the only residential PCO systems I have looked at that I would trust.

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