The UltimateAir® News

I (Don’t) Smell Danger

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012

After working here a few weeks and getting a crash course in ERVs and the Passive House, I have started to discuss these topics with family and friends. Most of them are blissfully carefree about indoor air quality. It is not that no one has heard of IAQ issues. They might know all about Radon. Many homeowners can name sources of windowformaldehyde and other VOCs too. So the obvious question arises: what then, stops someone in the know from properly ventilating their home? The most popular response: "Money. I can't shell out the cash at the moment." Don't despair, Green Builders, because while there is honesty in their responses, it's not entirely true. Many homeowners would rather buy a new TV or finish their basement; they find it difficult to prioritize the invisible. But if you could constantly see nasty air being forced down your throat, wouldn't you do something about it? These toxins are small and subtle enough that we do not perceive them on our own. When we say "passive home" styles we don't mean "passively poisoned."

OK, so sometimes you do smell stenches. Let's say that you do come home and your pet has left you a present. Or perhaps you'll return from vacation this summer to a musty odor. You can open your door, but as was explained to me my first week here, your nose stops smelling it after 5 minutes, no matter what. That's right, it’s not an open window or spray freshener. It's your body acclimating to the smell.

As a coffee fiend, I was immediately reminded of Starbucks. Theirdescribe the image cafes exude a unique aroma. This smell is essential to the company's brand. Four years ago, they scrapped their egg-sandwich from the menu because its smell was overwhelming the traditional coffee bean scent. Needless to say, their customers raised a stink. This scent works so well because customers enter over and over again -- they grow to expect a certain smell. Because we are indoors 90% of the time we lose whatever scent there is. Whether we are coming, going, or just hanging around it is always there. It takes something like "Egg-sandwiches" to make us sit up and notice.

So what can we do about this? How do we convince ourselves and others to fix that we cannot sense? Not sure. However interesting, continuous discussion of IAQ is somewhat frugal amongst those already in the field. As an outsider, my best piece of advice is to find more like myself, and educate them however briefly on the importance of good Indoor Air Quality.

Please share this, and let me do some of the educating for you!
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Tags: Homeowners, Indoor Air Pollutants, indoor air quality, Clean Home Air, recoupaerator, Ventilation Strategy

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Bathroom

Posted on Thu, Aug 04, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside you home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air. 

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In our first post, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the bedroom. This week, we will concentrate on the bathroom. Because of the shower, sink and toilet, the bathroom becomes wet throughout the day. It also tends to be the place where we store household cleaning products. For both of these reasons, the air within bathrooms is both susceptible to contaminated air and fertile grounds for unwanted allergy triggers to live.

Wet surfaces cause mold. According to the National Association of Realtors, mold causes allergies and asthma, and can generate illnesses in ourselves and our pets. Thankfully, we can prevent the accumulation of mold throughout our home with the use of an air filtration system and other simple steps.

How to Remove Mold From Your Bathroom

    • Remove the mold by cleaning the surface with an air-friendly cleaning product such as baking soda and water.

    • After drying it well, make an effort to keep it dry by applying towels, using an exhaust fan, or by leaving the door and window open after using the shower.

While we are removing mold and keeping it at bay in our bathrooms, we should also audit underneath bathroom sinks and in bathroom closets, where many people store their household products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cleaning, disinfecting, and cosmetic products all contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be very dangerous if breathed in. Ammonia, for example, is present in many of these products.

How to Make Our Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Solution

Thankfully, we can protect our air quality (and even save some money!) by making our own non-toxic cleaners. It is very simple.

    • Baking soda and water, though perhaps old-fashioned, is just as effective as any modern product.
    • And vinegar is a great disinfectant; it can be used to clean grout, shower curtains, sinks and toilets.

To ensure a continuous air exchange in the bathroom, where pollutants can be created and stored, consider adding an air filtration/ventilation system that can exhaust mold spores and VOC’s, and supply clean, fresh, filtered air.

Though bathrooms are vulnerable to poor indoor air quality, these best practices are necessary to ensure a healthy environment in your bathroom – and are very simple to take.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, indoor air quality, Clean Home Air, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Indoor Air Quality Tips, EPA

How to choose an air ventilation filtration system

Posted on Mon, May 16, 2011

clean home airKeeping the air in your home clean starts with preventative steps such as proper ventilation. According to the American Lung Association, quality ventilation and air filtration inside your home are at the top of the list of proactive measures to protect your health.

To ensure a clean, healthy and comfortable indoor home environment you want to be able to exhaust contaminants generated in the home, and replace these with fresh filtered outside air on a continuous basis.  You want a high performance, balanced ventilation system.

With so many systems to choose from, it may seem overwhelming to decide which one will be best for you, but there are some important criteria to consider if you want clean home air – a high quality filter, a high energy transfer rating, the moisture transfer efficiency, the cost of ownership, and the ease of installation.

The first thing to consider when choosing your ventilation/filtration system is how well the unit can filter contaminants. A high-quality filter will reduce or eliminate dust particles and airborne contaminants to levels that no longer threaten your health. UltimateAir® offers an effective filtration system, but don’t just take our word for it, consider also what the industry has to say.

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating is a recognizable and respected standard to measure the performance of large whole-house air purifiers. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the fewer harmful airborne contaminants and dust particles can pass through the filter. MERV ratings measure filtration of pollutants such as dander, tobacco smoke, dust, viruses, wood, bacteria and pollen.

UltimateAir®’s RecoupAerator® scores a 12 on the MERV rating scale, stopping all particles in the 1.8 and above micron range and ranking as superior for residential air quality control.

The second consideration should be the energy transfer rating, or the percentage of outbound energy transferred to inbound air. The UltimateAir® RecoupAerator® has the highest energy transfer rating on the market – keeping that energy (heating or cooling) – which you paid for – in the home, where you want it, while supplying you with fresh outside air.

Next, consider moisture transfer efficiency, another important criterion that looks at how effectively the system manages moisture. It’s important to install a ventilation/filtration product that transfers heat, and moisture. The UltimateAir® RecoupAerator® leads the industry with 95% heat transfer efficiency and up to 69% of the moisture. This means that most of the energy (heat and moisture) you paid for is transferred from the air being exhausted back to the incoming fresh air stream.

Cost of ownership is also an important factor in choosing your ventilation/filtration system. You want something that will reduce or eliminate toxins in your home without costing you significantly. The UltimateAir® RecoupAerator® solution offers the lowest cost-of-ownership when compared to other systems and brands.

Lastly, consider the ease of installation and services required for your ventilation and air filtration system. You want clean home air to be something that happens behind the scenes, automatically and with minimal interruptions to your life. 

UltimateAir®’s solution is quiet, unobtrusive and easy to install, requiring minimal maintenance. Filters are easy to remove by following our free guidelines and only need to be replaced about every 12 -18 months.

Find your ventilation/filtration approach today, and help defend against harmful toxins in your home.

Tags: Clean Home Air