The UltimateAir® News

RecoupAerator Installed in Massachusetts' First Passive House

Posted on Wed, Aug 10, 2011

passivehouseUltimateAir and the RecoupAerator have been featured in the Green Building Advisor’s latest blog article, “Matt Beaton’s Fill-Court Passivhaus Press." 

Built last September, a home in Shewsbury, Massachusetts has become the first certified Passive House in the Bay State. 

The Recoupaertor plays a vital role; because it's so energy efficient, it's contributed to Beaton's home's Passive House U.S. Certification, which was issued in July.

Passive House standards are growing in popularity throughout the United States because of the demand for environmental friendliness, long-term energy savings and exceptional indoor air quality. Because the Passive House is air-tight it is imperative that one has a quality air filtration system installed - and that's where we come in.

These homes will serve as a model for future homes and Ultimate Air was happy to be a part of this project and many more to come.

Read the full article over at Green Building Advisor, and visit www.BeaconConstruction.com for more information.

Tags: indoor air quality, Indoor Air Pollution, Passive House, passivhaus

What you need to know about Volatile Organic Compounds

Posted on Wed, Apr 27, 2011

vocpaintVolatile organic compounds are toxic gas emissions from solid and liquid sources that can be harmful to health that are indoor air pollutants . VOC sources include but are not limited to: paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and office equipment such as copiers, printers, glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions. All of these products give off invisible gases that can be toxic.

Concentration of certain VOCs can be 10 times higher indoors than outdoors, and a lot of these VOCs come with adverse health effects. Research from the Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank found there were moderate to strong increases in respiratory and allergic health effects in children who came from homes with high concentrations of certain VOCs.

Since so many VOCs come from products we use daily indoors, it is a challenge to counteract adverse health effects. What’s more, the symptoms of VOC exposure---irritated eyes, headaches and dizziness can easily be confused with other causes. However, keeping the air inside your home or office clean and toxin-free is one of the best measures to ensure health and safety.

Though it’s true that VOCs are all around us and are safe at certain levels, you can and should take proactive steps to eliminate these compounds. Doing so begins with improving indoor air quality by eliminating these indoor air pollutants.

Clean indoor air is the key to combating VOCs.

The first step in reducing toxic levels in your home or office is to eliminate the source. Purchase products that are less toxic and use them according to the instructions. When possible, only buy enough paint for immediate use and avoid mixing different household cleaners and solvents together. 

The second step to reduce the levels of VOC in your indoor space is to clean the air with filtration.  Caution:  many appliances promise to purify household air, but few really provide the solution you need.

  • Electronic air cleaners are effective in removing airborne particles, but not gases, and many of them can produce ozone that may irritate the lungs.
  • Ion generators may remove small particles (tobacco smoke) from the indoor air.  However, they do not remove gases or odors, and they do not do a good job removing large particles, such as pollen and house dust allergens.

The third step is to provide adequate ventilation – defined as bringing fresh air into the home. If you or your children have respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis or chronic colds, getting the proper amount of fresh air is even more important.

Our Indoor Air System ventilates, bringing fresh, filtered air into your home, dramatically improving your indoor air quality.

For additional information on VOCs, visit the EPA’s website or the Minnesota Department of Health.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Pollution

Allergy, Asthma Triggers, and your Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011

asthma allergy triggersAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency roughly 25 million people suffer from asthma each year. Seven million of these sufferers are children. Air pollutants commonly found in homes, schools and other buildings trigger asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. Left untreated, asthma attacks can be life-threatening.

Some of the major asthma triggers include:

  • Second hand smoke: Second hand smoke is the leading cause of asthma triggers for children. The pollutants in cigarette smoke can come from adult smokers in the home, or travel through vents and cracks in windows and doors from conjoined housing units.
  • Mold: Mold grows in damp, poorly ventilated places such as kitchens and bathtubs. Toxic spores linger in the air, adhere to damp surfaces and grow. Touching these toxic spores can trigger asthma and symptoms of hay fever, which includes sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes.
  • Dust Mites: Dust mites are tiny critters invisible to the naked eye. They live in bedding, stuffed animals, upholstered furniture and other places. Dust mites can easily make their way into homes and schools.
  • Pet Dander: While many people love their pets, furry animals leave dead skin flakes, urine, hair, feces and saliva that can trigger asthma. Urine or saliva from warm-blooded animals including cats, dogs, mice, rats, gerbils, birds have been reported to trigger asthma episodes in individuals who are sensitive to animal allergens.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide: This odorless gas is a byproduct of indoor fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, gas or oil furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves. Nitrogen Dioxide can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat and trigger shortness of breath.

You can prevent asthma triggers by taking proactive measures to maintain a clean environment with optimal indoor air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency advises there are three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality:

  • Source Control
  • Improved Ventilation
  • Air cleaners

Additionally, the EPA, has an asthma program, recommending the following steps for source control:

  • Don’t allow smoking in your home or car.
  • Dust and clean your home regularly.
  • Clean up mold and fix water leaks.
  • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.
  • Use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and off soft furniture.
  • Control pests—close up cracks and crevices and seal leaks; don’t leave food out.

For ventilation and air cleaning, the best choices are air exchangers with filtration devices that introduce fresh, filtered air into your home.

The RecoupAerator® exchanges the stale, polluted air of an average-sized home with clean, fresh, healthy air about once every two hours. It provides both ventilation and filtration (air cleaning) – removing the many contaminants created from inside the home and capturing pollens and mold spores. And, it maintains your home’s air temperature while refreshing indoor air.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Pollution, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Why indoor air quality is so important

Posted on Mon, Mar 21, 2011

indoor air qualityBreathing quality indoor air is critical for good health. Most Americans spend a significant amount of time indoors--either in the home, office or other types of buildings--where gas, chemical and other pollutants can cause headaches, eye irritation, allergies and fatigue. Serious pollutants can cause certain types of cancers and other long-term health complications.

Clean air can prevent many environmental health hazards such as asthma, which according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, affects 25 million people, including 7 million children in a given year. Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits.

Common indoor air pollutants include:

  • Second hand smoke: A serious indoor air pollutant which can worsen symptoms for asthma sufferers, increase risks of ear infections in children and increase risks for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Radon: A dangerous gas pollutant identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer, Radon enters homes through cracks and other improperly sealed openings.
  • Combustion Pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide: These gases come from burning materials or improperly vented fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas which is not easily detectable by human senses, and interferes with oxygen delivery throughout the body. Carbon monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea; and toxic amounts can lead to death.

Nitrogen dioxide, which is also a colorless and odorless gas causes eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and increased risk for respiratory infections.

Indoor air quality is a critical public health issue that continues to be addressed at the local, state and federal levels. Recognizing the importance of air quality, states such as Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin have implemented broadly encompassing legislation to address health concerns.

In Wisconsin, a statewide indoor smoking ban has already improved air quality in restaurants and bars by more than 90 percent, according to findings from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Before the law, air quality in 21 percent of all tested establishments was rated hazardous, the most dangerous level according to standards set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. After the law was enacted, over 97 percent of restaurants and bars had good or satisfactory air quality ratings.

Indoor air quality continues to be a critical concern that requires immediate action from governments and homeowners alike.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Pollution, Common Indoor Air Pollutants