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Thread: Cold Plasma Air Purification

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjk_cmh View Post
    Dunno how well it does/doesn't work, but GPS plasma systems are being spec'ed in a commercial job that we are installing right now on a school. They seem to believe in them.

    A school might be a poor example of a product's value because mostly just the school board needs to want it. They often are not professionals in the air quality field. Here it's mostly political.
    Someone up the ladder just needs to be sold on the hype.
    I would like to know if any white papers are out there from a neutral party that has shown value.
    Give me a relay with big enough contacts, and I'll run the world!

    You can be anything you want......As long as you don't suck at it.

    If a person wants to create a machine that will be more likely to fail...Make it complicated.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by energy_rater_La View Post
    very timely for me, that this old thread surfaced.
    SO's brother was talking about installing the cold plasma
    purifier @ their mother's house.

    thanks for the link!
    Was the cold plasma purifier ever installed? If so, what were the results?

  4. #23
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    Phenomenal Aire Bipolar Needlepoint Ionizer Just Installed in Home

    Quote Originally Posted by Beltit View Post
    Was the cold plasma purifier ever installed? If so, what were the results?
    Less than 24 hours ago, we installed a Phenomenal Aire bipolar needlepoint ionizer in our heatpump cabinet. The unit is located in the airflow: Media Filter -> Phenomenal Aire -> coils -> blower.

    Background in Brief

    Location: Southeastern US
    We installed this after exhausting other options to eliminate the source of my wife’s mold allergies. After crawlspace mold remediation (from storm damage), encapsulation and installing a Santa Fe dehumidifier in the crawl, things were fine in the house in heating mode during winter. Then the heatpump changed to cooling mode. The damp coils must have created the perfect environment for organic matter to start growing again. Cleaning the coils was risky because during mold remediation one company might have used Sporicidin on the coils, which, according to the company that manufactures Sporicidin, should not be mixed with anything containing chlorine bleach, which at least some coil cleaners might contain.

    We’d tried a UV light, but no matter where the light was placed, it reacted with something in air handler cabinet creating the odor of a hot beach ball.

    After a lot of online research, we decided to avoid the PCO devices citing *possible* implications in creating formaldehyde, ozone, and ultrafine particles produced as the titanium dioxide catalyst breaks down. We decided to try a bipolar ionization device. The other option was to replace this 5-year-old HVAC, though we couldn’t confirm that the air handler was the source of the problem. (We had also had our 50-year-old metal ducts cleaned and the insulation removed during the mold remediation & encapsulation.)

    Results
    Though only anecdotal, in under 24 hours the Phenomenal Aire seems to have reduced household odors, so much so that I thought it had effected my sense of smell. When I opened a couple of windows I didn’t notice an immediate “fresh air” sensation but could smell the fragrant flowers of honey suckle.

    My wife says there is a slight improvement in the odor coming from the vents. It’s probably too early to tell if this will work. (I would describe the odor from the vents that we’re trying to eliminate as a little like a sharpie marker, slightly medicinal, slightly sour. It’s very faint, so much so that most HVAC techs shake their head and say they don’t smell anything.)

    Our Dylos 1100 Pro particle counter was giving very low particle counts this morning until I opened the windows. I don’t have a VOC detector, so I’ve got no clue there.

    The Phenomenal Aire didn’t add any discernible odor to the airstream—no ozone-like odors.

    Concerns

    Calibration
    How are these things tested to ensure the negative and positive ions generated are approximately the same?
    Long-term Health Effects

    Cons
    Price. This thing is expensive and nothing about it looks expensive. There is something to be said for research and development, and for quality control, but I have no idea how many ions this produces or how balanced the productions of negative vs. positive ions is. My guess is that these are a really money maker for HVAC companies.

    Warranty. The Phenomenal Aire has a 2-year warranty. This seems very short for a device that is so expensive and so new on the market.

    Pros
    The only maintenance required is to have a tech clean the needles (which actually look more like small wire artists paintbrushes).

    Low energy draw.

    Generates no noise.

    If this works, I’ll scream its benefits from the mountain tops or just report back here.

    Disclaimer

    It’s probably apparent, but I’m not a scientist, health professional, or HVAC pro and some of the info I’ve posted here might be erroneous, in particular the info I’ve read about PCO devices.

    I’ll report back here after this thing has had more time to run and any placebo effect has at least diminished.

    Frank

    PS
    Might also be of interest to people trying to avoid producing ozone in their homes:
    PCO to Glass & Needlepoint Ionization Ozone and Ion Output Comparison on YouTube. Test conducted by Global Plasma Solutions. (They sell needlepoint ionizers.)
    Search YouTube for Global Plasma Solutions / PCO to Glass & Needlepoint Ionization Ozone and Ion Output Comparison. If the audio is very buzzy, you've got the right one.
    Last edited by Frank10; 05-24-2018 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Addtional Content

  5. #24
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    Using a TriField Meter (Model 100XE), magnetic and electrical fields drop off to nothing (or no more than ambient fields) at around 15 inches from the back of the Phenomenal Aire Series R 6.0.

    If you are concerned about the ions or changes to the air stream, I can only tell you that my wife is very sensitive to fragrance and odors and the Phenomenal Aire, in the 24 hours we've been running it, seems to improve things.

    A good HVAC company might let you try the Phenomenal Aire and remove it if you have issues. Ours offered to.

    Good luck!

    Frank

  6. #25
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    After several months using the Phenomenal Aire in our heatpump we are skeptical about its efficacy for our situation. We’ve tried pulling the fuse on the Phenomenal Aire and running the heatpump for days and then reinstalling the fuse and running it again.

    The Dylos 1100 Pro particle counts drop whenever the blower runs, with or without Phenomenal Aire running. I guess the 4” media filter is doing its job.

    We had the evaporator coil replaced a couple of months ago because the original was leaking.

    We had the ducts scoped last week and they appear clean.

    My wife is still having mold or dust reactions when the HVAC is on.

    We’re beyond frustrated with this 5-year-old Lennox system and thought the Phenomenal Aire might be Hail Mary solution, but that hasn’t been the case.

    When the HVAC is off, my wife’s allergy symptoms vanish.

    Another HVAC company has suggested installing an Air Knight on the supply side, but I hate to keep introducing gadgets to our HVAC and adding anything else to the air we breathe.

    Frank

  7. #26
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    The Phenomenal Aire device uses GPS hardware. I agree with your impressions. GPS makes all sorts of claims about VOCs with very little to no testing other than repeating the same stories other manufactures tell.

    A good quality (and many are available at low cost) HEPA filter will remove both dust and mold spores.
    See:
    https://smartairfilters.com/cn/en/
    https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-air-purifier/

    Mold *smells* are VOCs generated by mold metabolism. Other than destroying mold growth the best way to remove these are:
    1. Ventilation
    2. Effective carbon/adsoprtion technologies.

    I've used high grade industrial PID meters (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoionization_detector) to measure the the effectiveness of VOC remediation methods.

    So far I've obtain the best bank for bucks with this fan/carbon cannister available from Amazon. It's intended for indoor marijuana growers but works fantastic for removing VOCs in my residence measured with a high quality industrial PID meter. It's not pretty or quiet but it reduced VOCs reading by 50% - 80% in very short order. Before this I used a Austin Air+ that reduced VOCs by 25%-30%. Nothing to sneeze at but it cost 3 times as much and was 1/3 less effective.
    See:
    Carbon filter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    FAN - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Remember: It's not pretty, It's loud, and when first using you must clean for carbon dust - But it works great for VOCs.

  8. #27
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    Thanks, Randy.

    Is the PID meter useful for tracking VOC sources (like hound dogging) or does it take more of an ambient room sample over time? What’s the make of the PID meter you’re using?

    I didn’t realize Phenomenal Aire used GPS hardware.

    Yesterday I used a non-contact voltage tester to ensure both legs of the bipolar needlepoints were energized. From about 4” away from each leg the sensor indicated power, but I have no idea how much. (Phenomenal Aire support says these should read around 5,000 volts on the brushes [ needlepoints ].) The installation instructions recommend place the PA after the filter in the airstream because “the filter will capture or stop the ions.” (The Phenomenal Aire is located: return -> 4” Merv 11 Media Filter -> Phenomenal Aire -> Coils -> blower -> supply.) I really wonder how many ions remain after the air passes over the coils and through the blower into the supply.

    I’d looked at that inline fan and carbon filters on Amazon and considered building a free-standing cabinet or stand for one. Thanks for sharing your experience with it. (We’re currently running an AirMega 300 [by Coway] in one bedroom and a BlueAir 402 in another. Soon we’re going to have more filters than furniture in this small humming house.) I might still buy the fan & carbon filter for a stopgap until we can get this thing figured out.

    Thanks again for your tips. They’re much appreciated.

    Frank

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank10 View Post
    Thanks, Randy.

    Is the PID meter useful for tracking VOC sources (like hound dogging) or does it take more of an ambient room sample over time? What’s the make of the PID meter you’re using?

    I didn’t realize Phenomenal Aire used GPS hardware.

    Yesterday I used a non-contact voltage tester to ensure both legs of the bipolar needlepoints were energized. From about 4” away from each leg the sensor indicated power, but I have no idea how much. (Phenomenal Aire support says these should read around 5,000 volts on the brushes [ needlepoints ].) The installation instructions recommend place the PA after the filter in the airstream because “the filter will capture or stop the ions.” (The Phenomenal Aire is located: return -> 4” Merv 11 Media Filter -> Phenomenal Aire -> Coils -> blower -> supply.) I really wonder how many ions remain after the air passes over the coils and through the blower into the supply.

    I’d looked at that inline fan and carbon filters on Amazon and considered building a free-standing cabinet or stand for one. Thanks for sharing your experience with it. (We’re currently running an AirMega 300 [by Coway] in one bedroom and a BlueAir 402 in another. Soon we’re going to have more filters than furniture in this small humming house.) I might still buy the fan & carbon filter for a stopgap until we can get this thing figured out.

    Thanks again for your tips. They’re much appreciated.

    Frank
    Hi Frank,

    The PID meter I used is a ppbRae-3000 see https://www.raesystems.com/products/ppbrae-3000.
    I rent for Pine Environmental. http://www.pine-environmental.com/
    They've got about 30 offices across the US. Pine is great, but there can be calibration issues. If you rent send me a PM I'll expand.

    Chances are, if your blower has been running, the VOCs in your residence will be equally diffused, but not necessarily.
    The PID meter provides immediate readings in real time. It's got a built in pump so it samples continuously every couple of seconds
    The PID meter is good for:
    1. Determining if you have an issue.
    2. Testing mitigation strategies immediately. A good chunk of carbon with decent air blow can reduce readings by 50% - 70% within minutes directly out of the exhaust of the fan. In a couple of hours it can reduce levels in large areas. You could also test immediately out of your registers with the fuse in and out of the Phenomenal Aire.
    3. Opening a door or window with some air flow in or out illustrates the immediate power of ventilation

    You need at least 5lbs and preferably more than 15lbs of carbon to be effective. I don't think the AirMeag has much and not sure about the Blue Air.
    I think some of their models at one time had useful levels of carbon.

    If your HEPAs help your wife then your issue is Particulate pollution, if not then VOCs could be the culprit. Keep in mind these are two distinct animals. Also keep in mind that VOCs in the air are off gassing from solids/liquids on your surfaces. That's a massively under appreciated fact.


    For a 100 -200 bucks you can rent a kit or passive device to accurately measure VOC levels .
    See:
    www.fikeanalytical.com
    https://homeaircheck.com/products/
    https://www.assaytech.com/

    The first two companies provide a suction device to take an air sample. The sample is returned and results are available in about a week max.
    The 3rd link provides passive badges that are left exposed for 24 hours and then returned. Results available in about a week.

    I'm planning a massive post soon on all issues related to indoor VOCs soon.

    Randy

  10. #29
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    Thanks for the great info and links, Randy.

    I look forward to your post on VOCs. Will you be posting here or on a blog?


    Frank

  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank10 View Post
    Thanks for the great info and links, Randy.

    I look forward to your post on VOCs. Will you be posting here or on a blog?


    Frank
    Hi Frank,
    The post will be here and Reddit.
    Thanks
    Randy

  12. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank10 View Post
    Thanks, Randy.

    Yesterday I used a non-contact voltage tester to ensure both legs of the bipolar needlepoints were energized. From about 4” away from each leg the sensor indicated power, but I have no idea how much. (Phenomenal Aire support says these should read around 5,000 volts on the brushes [ needlepoints ].) The installation instructions recommend place the PA after the filter in the airstream because “the filter will capture or stop the ions.” (The Phenomenal Aire is located: return -> 4” Merv 11 Media Filter -> Phenomenal Aire -> Coils -> blower -> supply.) I really wonder how many ions remain after the air passes over the coils and through the blower into the supply.
    Frank
    Quick note Frank. The only way I know of to see if the Phenomenal Air is producing both positive and negative ions is with this device - https://www.alphalabinc.com/product/aic/
    The other big question is if these ions actually degrade VOCs. Most of the Cold Plasma Devices that I've seen in the science literature that degrade some VOCs often use catalyst. Also these devices use a totally different method to produce ions than the GPS technology. Some of the consumeer manufacturers of these devices claim that the positve and negative ions cause VOCs to congeal and form larger particles that fall to the ground or can be trapped by filters (including HEPA). Even if true (and that's a big if) that is not degrading VOCs. When these devices are noted in the science literature they can degrade VOCs through an oxidizing process similar to what happens with PCO technology.
    I'm really interested in testing the GPS technology, lots of folks rave about it. GPS's video are impressive under contrived conditions. Seems to work for cigarette smoke in a very small compartment, but smoke is particulate matter not VOCs. And - a small fish bowl is not 5000cu ft living room.

    Randy

  13. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyf View Post
    Quick note Frank. The only way I know of to see if the Phenomenal Air is producing both positive and negative ions is with this device - https://www.alphalabinc.com/product/aic/
    The other big question is if these ions actually degrade VOCs. Most of the Cold Plasma Devices that I've seen in the science literature that degrade some VOCs often use catalyst. Also these devices use a totally different method to produce ions than the GPS technology. Some of the consumeer manufacturers of these devices claim that the positve and negative ions cause VOCs to congeal and form larger particles that fall to the ground or can be trapped by filters (including HEPA). Even if true (and that's a big if) that is not degrading VOCs. When these devices are noted in the science literature they can degrade VOCs through an oxidizing process similar to what happens with PCO technology.
    I'm really interested in testing the GPS technology, lots of folks rave about it. GPS's video are impressive under contrived conditions. Seems to work for cigarette smoke in a very small compartment, but smoke is particulate matter not VOCs. And - a small fish bowl is not 5000cu ft living room.

    Randy
    GPS claims their sensors detect both ions: https://gpshvac.com/sensors

  14. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjk_cmh View Post
    GPS claims their sensors detect both ions: https://gpshvac.com/sensors
    Thanks - I wasn't aware of that.
    I also see they are offering MOS technology VOC detectors. This technology, as far as VOCs goes has limitations. I don't know which company's
    chip they are using but these devices have not been established with regards to VOC testing.

    All GPS or any of these other companies has to do is measure TVOCs in a rationally controlled manner. Take samples with a PID meter or GC testing before and after turning their device on. MoleKule, of which I have been critical, at least has done this by a reputable 3rd party. GPS has no problem showing they can control mold or cigar smoke in a small fish bowl (and how that relates to a 5000cu ft living room is questionable) but I"ve seen no effort on their part to show they degrade/oxidize VOCs.

    I approach them for a return if their device didn't work and I also offered to share my test results with them. I agreed to not post anything without their permission. They turned me down.

    I still plan on testing somehow and I would be a strong advocate if it works. And you know what - it might work. Just a shame they haven't provided any good evidence that it does. I'm only speaking of VOCs. It might be effective for biologicals and particulates.

  15. #34
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    Thanks for the AlphaLab link, Randy.

    A little searching and I see that Phenomenal Aire also sells a duct-mounted ion meter under its commercial product. (I can't post a link due to forum restrictions, but it's under the commercial section of their website.

    I wonder if this built with GPS guts from the link RJK provided.

    My wife is out of the house so I’m running the heat mode and fan on continuous trying to burn off any dust on the heat strip and set free anything that might have grown on the 2-month-old evap coil during cooling. Phenomenal Aire is on. Dylos showed particle counts low and falling until I opened the windows. (A neighbor has a fireplace or firepit going.) No odor when only the fan is running, but under heating (strip or coil) there is some dusty odor. This isn’t the first run of the season, so I’m a little disappointed that there is still an odor.

    I'm temped to clean the evap coil with Pro-Green (Diversitech), but at 2 months in it seems overkill...unless the coils were warehoused in cave prior to installation.

    Frank

  16. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beltit View Post
    I'm hoping to get feedback on this technology. This thread started back in 2005 I think. Anyway, it's been over a decade and hoping someone has installed the Phenomenal Aire Purifier and can give me some info. Since I'm hyper-sensitive, creating a magnetic field in my home kinda worries me.
    So what were the final thoughts on the Phenomenal Aire? We are planning on getting one and putting it under the A coil in our handler. 2 ton split heatpump system sitting on the return box.

  17. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinyork View Post
    So what were the final thoughts on the Phenomenal Aire? We are planning on getting one and putting it under the A coil in our handler. 2 ton split heatpump system sitting on the return box.
    We installed the Phenomenal Air unit a year or so ago and it's been okay. Haven't noticed a significant change in air quality, in fact, at times we thought it was worse.

    Getting a heat pump system installed in the fall so good to know there's a way to keep the Phenomenal Aire unit. We thought it wouldn't be compatible with the new system.

  18. #37
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    We haven't really noticed a difference with the Phenomenal Aire R on or off, but we keep it on with the hope that it is doing something. (This is magical thinking.) It's now installed at the start of our supply line. We also have a UV-C bulb shining on the back of the slab coil, but the UV-C creates a plastic odor after about an hour and has to be shut off.

    About four months ago we replaced our Lennox heatpump with a Carrier 3-ton, 5-stage unit, which helped the issue a lot, but it hasn't solved it. Our trunk line is the only part of the system that hasn't been replaced, so we're thinking it might be the humid, chilled air activating something biological on the 50-year-old galvanized metal when the unit is cooling. The trunk line has been professionally vacuumed & brush cleaned, but that certainly doesn't get it all. There are access doors to the trunk line, so I monitor them and hand clean as much as I can.

    Phenomenal Aire Service Bulletin
    Phenomenal Aire issued a service bulletin that recommends using a dedicated transformer to power the unit to avoid a possible floating ground that can occur when pulling power from the HVAC unit. (Correct me if I've got this wrong.) The floating ground would greatly reduce the power to the unit.

    Final thoughts on the Phenomenal Aire
    I don't know if the unit has done a thing except transfer money from my bank to theirs. We still suffer from allergies when the heatpump is cooling.
    We switched HVAC companies. They sell something called the iWave by Nu Calgon. This might be a Global Plasma Solutions repackaging, but I can't keep them all sorted. The service manager at our HVAC company said they installed one in a service van used by a smoker. After about two weeks they saw an improvement in the van's odor.

    I will say that we have very little odor in our house, but we also run two room air filters, vacuum regularly with a hepa vacuum, and don't smoke or cook at high temperatures.
    If the neighbors didn't burn in firepits and fireplaces so frequently I would install a fresh air intake (energy recovery ventilator).

    Good luck solving your issues. It has been a simmering nightmare for us.

    Frank

  19. #38
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    PS
    Our downflow 3-ton system

    Air Flow from attic => Supply => April Aire Filter (merv 13) => slab evaporator coil => Fresh-Aire UVC bulb on its own switched transformer =>Blower fan=> Phenomenal Aire (powered by its own transformer, mounted in trunk line in conditioned crawlspace [maintained at 69-70 F & 40-50% RH])

  20. #39
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    [QUOTE=Beltit;25894847]We installed the Phenomenal Air unit a year or so ago and it's been okay. Haven't noticed a significant change in air quality, in fact, at times we thought it was worse.

    Getting a heat pump system installed in the fall so good to know there's a way to keep the Phenomenal Aire unit. We thought it wouldn't be compatible with the new system.[/QUOTE

    Phenomenal Aire suggests installing the unit after the air filter and before the evaporator coil in the air flow. The second preference, according to their paperwork, is installing after the coil.

  21. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank10 View Post
    We haven't really noticed a difference with the Phenomenal Aire R on or off, but we keep it on with the hope that it is doing something. (This is magical thinking.) It's now installed at the start of our supply line. We also have a UV-C bulb shining on the back of the slab coil, but the UV-C creates a plastic odor after about an hour and has to be shut off.

    PS
    Our downflow 3-ton system

    Air Flow from attic => Supply => April Aire Filter (merv 13) => slab evaporator coil => Fresh-Aire UVC bulb on its own switched transformer =>Blower fan=> Phenomenal Aire (powered by its own transformer, mounted in trunk line in conditioned crawlspace [maintained at 69-70 F & 40-50% RH])

    Frank
    I am no expert, but... the supply side, I thought was between the handler and the vents leading to the registers. I would move the UVC lamp... and make sure that it is UVC... to the return side (where the air hitting the slab comes from) and protect any plastic or wires the light hits. It must be UVC... It is supposed to keep stuff from growing there.

    I read the instructions for the Phenomenal aire and they actually recommend the return side as well...

    This sounds very discouraging. Make sure you are running long cycles if possible (with multi stages is should be...)and not short ones. which would also keep down the humidity.

    Are you bringing in outside air?

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