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  1. #1

    some simple or not so simple questions

    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a new AC/furnace system, and I have a real concern about air quality, allergies and such. Can anyone give me the pros and cons of:

    Eletronic air cleaners (Lennox PureAir, Carrier Infinity)--are they all more effective than a good static filter, such as a Lennox Healthy Climate 16 Media Air Cleaner (MERV 16)?

    For overall air quality, how important is MERV.....and how important is CADR? I've seen quotes anywhere on CADR from 520 (Lennox Healthy Climate 10) to 1900 (Lennox Healthy Climate 16) which seems like a big difference for two filters from the same company.

    If I like the Lennox static filter better than the Carrier EZ Flex filter is it reasonable to ask for a Carrier unit, but request a Lennox filter?

    My Trane dealer gave me a quote, but indicated they could not install their electronic air cleaner (Trane Clean Effects) because of "lack of vertical space". It makes me wonder if that was an excuse with their problems with the Clean Effects system being recalled....

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post
    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a new AC/furnace system, and I have a real concern about air quality, allergies and such. Can anyone give me the pros and cons of:

    Eletronic air cleaners (Lennox PureAir, Carrier Infinity)--are they all more effective than a good static filter, such as a Lennox Healthy Climate 16 Media Air Cleaner (MERV 16)?
    EACs, especially the old ones, are a PITA, requiring frequent cleaning (plates, grids) and providing inconsistent and unreliable performance. Newer models are better. Some people here like the Lennox PureAir (genesis). I'm still on the fence, waiting for more evidence and safety testing, after having problems with the Aprilaire 5000 (once bitten twice shy). EAC's generally cause problems by generating oxidants and various compounds normally not present in air, or they increase their quantity (e.g., ozone). The Lennox PureAir is not supposed to, but I'd like to see independent safety test results, especially under unfavorable conditions (neglect by owner, etc...). If I could I'd try the Lennox Healthy Climate 16 Media Air Cleaner (MERV 16), or even better the IQAir perfect 16 (I'd trust that one much more because the HC 16's performance can degrade as the filter gets dirty).

    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post
    For overall air quality, how important is MERV.....and how important is CADR? I've seen quotes anywhere on CADR from 520 (Lennox Healthy Climate 10) to 1900 (Lennox Healthy Climate 16) which seems like a big difference for two filters from the same company.
    The CADR rating is flawed to start with (see my other post on the subject). Quoting CADR for whole house systems is inappropriate, irrelevant and silly, and reflects poorly on the people doing so. I question their competence.

    I think the higher the MERV rating the better if you have strong allergies. Normal people can do with MERV 8 filters. If you want your house to be at least "friendly" to allergic people you should use at least a MERV 11 filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post

    If I like the Lennox static filter better than the Carrier EZ Flex filter is it reasonable to ask for a Carrier unit, but request a Lennox filter?
    You're the one who's paying. They should do what you ask unless there is a technological reason to not do it. There isn't in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post

    My Trane dealer gave me a quote, but indicated they could not install their electronic air cleaner (Trane Clean Effects) because of "lack of vertical space". It makes me wonder if that was an excuse with their problems with the Clean Effects system being recalled....

    Who knows, but you're better off without it IMO, at the very least until all the problems are sorted out.

  3. #3
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    Oh, and don't forget humidity control (both humidify and dehumidify) and ventilation, that's as important.

  4. #4
    4 or 5" media only work fine or even better than many EAC's so keep it simple and relatively cheap without the ozone.

    You might also look into humidity & fresh air controls.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post
    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a new AC/furnace system, and I have a real concern about air quality, allergies and such. Can anyone give me the pros and cons of:
    ....
    Air filtering--OK More critical for IAQ is maintaining <50%RH and fresh ventilation when occupied! Controlling mold/dust mites and purging pollutants/renewing oxygen are the critical issues. Recently devices like the ventilating dehumidifier are being used to maintain the best possible IAQ in home located in green grass climates. Dehu TB

  6. #6

    choices EAC/media, and Infinity

    Thanks for the response pmeunier, and others.

    I am assuming that going with either EAC or something like Lennox HC16 or IQperfect16 will be a great deal better than the 30+ year old unit I currently have with the cheap 1 inch filter. I am told whatever I do should cut down on the amount of dust we see...is that true?

    And, once getting the new system with better filter, is it best to keep the blower going most of the time to keep air recirculating and clean?

    Anyone have any great opinions on Carrier's Infinity EAC?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post
    Thanks for the response pmeunier, and others.

    I am assuming that going with either EAC or something like Lennox HC16 or IQperfect16 will be a great deal better than the 30+ year old unit I currently have with the cheap 1 inch filter. I am told whatever I do should cut down on the amount of dust we see...is that true?
    Good question. Obviously the system can't capture dust when it's not running, so you won't see much difference in spring and fall when the system doesn't run much. Even in other seasons it's hard to say how much dust will be removed and whether this will be enough for you (what are your goals?) unless the blower is running most of the time on low speed.

    I would suggest *not* spending big money on furnace filters if you don't intend to run the blower continuously. The amount of dust captured during the short times the furnace runs won't make much difference for allergies (it could help a little sometimes, but it's a poor investment). The main advantages of buying a high MERV furnace filter and running the blower continuously on low speed are reduced noise, increased energy efficiency and saved floor space compared to running HEPA filters in many rooms. If you don't already own HEPA filters due to allergies, perhaps that's a sign that you don't need the high MERV furnace filters.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyroccocco View Post

    And, once getting the new system with better filter, is it best to keep the blower going most of the time to keep air recirculating and clean?
    Just my opinion I don't like to see a blower ran all the time in the AC season. When the Ac shuts off the blower will put the moisture from the wet evaporator coil back into the air If you get a humidifer for winter comfort I would run the blower during the heating season. The Lennox pure air has good results for us. Safe in my opinion Has the dust removal of a good high MERV filter (can't remember value) as well as microbe killing capabilites of UV lights also has a titanium dioxide catalyst to remove odors. Only draw back is maitanence costs runs around 1200 bucks to maintain every couple years. You replace the media likeonce a year and the bulbs and the catalyst every 2 years. Salesman don't usually tell that one In most cases a good Merv 10 like the Aprilaire 2200 or 2400 is usually sufficent for most people.
    duct tape and cable ties will fix anything, if that don't work add a 90-340.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse21 View Post
    Just my opinion I don't like to see a blower ran all the time in the AC season. When the Ac shuts off the blower will put the moisture from the wet evaporator coil back into the air If you get a humidifer for winter comfort I would run the blower during the heating season. (...)
    But winter is when you need the filtration the least. Water evaporation on the A/C coil is just one more reason to use a dehumidifier. You can't rely on the A/C to control humidity unless it has a special mechanism for that hooked to a dehumidistat. Even then you can't rely on it in the spring and fall. Use an A/C for cooling, and a dehumidifier to dehumidify.

    What would you say to someone who relies on a dehumidifier for heating during fall and spring, without any temperature control (thermostat)? To me, relying on the A/C for humidity removal, without a dehumidistat, is as absurd. Both humidity and temperature need to be controlled.

  10. #10
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    MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Value Rating, and tool used to rate air filters. MERV 8 is a good choice because it is fairly efficient at trapping fine particles, does not have a large resistance across the filter and is relatively low cost.

    With more efficient filters, the resistance across the filter becomes an issue and may cause low reduced air flow. Also since air travels the path of least resistance the seals on the filter casing may be important

    Moisture control and cleaning are very important to promote good air quality. Ideally relative humidty should be less than 50%. Even with good filtration on the HVAC unit there will be contaminants such as pet allergens, dead skin cells and dust mites that may accumulate but not be trapped by the filter. That is why cleaning and hard surfaced floors are important

    California is proposing to regulate ionizers, electrostatic air cleaners and ozone generators. Ozone is a known respiratory irritant and asthma trigger. People have been interested in ozone to disinfect and purify the air for 50-60 years and the scientific consensus is that ozone at low levels does not have positive effects.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by teaman View Post
    Moisture control and cleaning are very important to promote good air quality. Ideally relative humidty should be less than 50%. Even with good filtration on the HVAC unit there will be contaminants such as pet allergens, dead skin cells and dust mites that may accumulate but not be trapped by the filter. That is why cleaning and hard surfaced floors are important
    .
    Maintaining <50%RH provides dust mite and mold control regardless of the surfaces. Carpeting and upholstered surface are mite free provided the humidity is <50%RH. This includes bedding and materesses. Also <50%RH is very comfortable. Also consider the ducts around the cooling coil. The coil and ducts need to be dry several hours everyday to prevent mold spore from growing in the ducts. Using the a/c ducts to distribute the dry air from a dehumidifier helps dry ducts preventing mold growing the a/c ducts. Dehu TB

  12. #12
    Whoa, Teddy!
    Keeping humidity below 50% will reduce dust mites and molds. It is not a panacea and it certainly will not keep mattresses, pillows and carpeting mite free. (Look at the Arlian studies that are the basis for the humidity claim).

    Keep in mind that dust mites are allergenic dead or alive. Even if lower humidity were capable of killing 100% of the dust mites (which it is not) you will still have millions of dust mite carcasses in beds, pillows and carpeting. Smooth floors as well as dust mite proof encasements for beds and pillows are a good idea for anyone with allergies.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by teaman View Post
    MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Value Rating, and tool used to rate air filters. MERV 8 is a good choice because it is fairly efficient at trapping fine particles, does not have a large resistance across the filter and is relatively low cost.(...)
    You can't judge the resistance to air flow of a filter just by the MERV number, it's an oversimplification. The material used could make a MERV 8 filter have more resistance to air flow than a MERV 10 filter, all else being equal, for example if the MERV 10 filter uses an electrostatic charge to get its rating and the MERV 8 doesn't. The total surface area of the filter matters too. A filter with more area (e.g., more pleats) can compensate for the use of a more resistive material for the same final effective resistance to air flow.

    Also, MERV 8 filters are the same as no filter as far as allergic people are concerned...

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