The UltimateAir® News

7th Annual North American Passive House Conference

Posted on Tue, Oct 23, 2012

The Passive House standard strictest building energy standard in the world—and that standard is not met without UltimateAir’s RecoupAerator. Buildings that meet the Passive House checkmarks use 80 percent less energy than buildings that don’t, all while creating an environment of finer air quality.

UltimateAir’s own Jason Morosko attended The Passive House Conference in Denver last month. In addition to giving a lecture on the importance of earth air tubes, Morosko also had the opportunity to see ten current Passive Houses at various stages of construction. Sponsored by Passive House frontiersman Brian Fuentez, the tour showcased his current projects.

IMG 6012

The 2012 event was the 7th annual North American Passive House conference. This year proved to have an increase in attendees, exhibitors, and presentations. The Passive House standard is growing rapidly in the United States. It truly is the standard of tomorrows building market. 

Passive House is the only standard within the US that requires mechanical ventilation like the RecoupAerator in its building code criteria with minimum performance standards.  “This is the best market for us,” said Morosko. “It’s the only building code that mandates our product.”

The best way to get started on your own Passive House is to find a Passive House consultant near you. Mososko serves as a consultant in Athens, Ohio. Morosko's personal work can be viewed here

For Morosko, the best part about owning a Passive House is that there is no utility bill. “That just doesn’t get hold,” he said. “It’s nine times more efficient than any standard construction.”

 IMG 5977

UltimateAir's RecoupAerator waiting to be installed in a Passive House. Passive House standards cannot be met without the installation of our product. 

 

Tags: indoor air quality, ERV or HRV, Passive House, Passive House Design, Air Filtration Passive House, UltimateAir.

Jason Morosko's Passive House

Posted on Fri, Aug 10, 2012

jasons family Jason Morosko started working at Ultimate Air in 1996, literally the day after he graduated high school. He continued throughout college and is now an engineer and the Vice-President of UltimateAir. Jason's career and lifestyle go hand in hand, for he lives with his wife and guitar-toting son in an energy efficient Passive House (which he built himself!). While financing the project was a “nightmare,” Jason wants everyone to know the relatively easy time he had constructing the home. He elaborates on the wonderful experience, "I was looking for the option that made the most sense to me in regards to carbon footprint and energy efficiency. I found out about Passive House around 2004, and built my home in 2010. It took about 18 months. It has the Green Building Council, Energy Star, and Passive House Institute US stamp of approval - but what really matters to me is my utility bill and the comfort of my home. Seriously, I heat and cool a 3200 sq. foot home for next to nothing; the inside temperature is always the same too. I sleep directly under my vent, and for someone who doesn't register pollen, even I notice a tremendous difference from my last home.”

Jason's family life and interests are characterizedJasons passive house by the same attributes that dominate his profession. "My fathers side of the family are all engineers. My father is a wannabe engineer, my brother is sort of an engineer, I AM an engineer!" laughs Jason. His biggest hobby is building things. "I've been building things since I was three: Legos, cabinets, houses, you name it, hehe. On my day off last week I started building a tree-house by myself. Right next to my passive house, I've built a passive chicken coop. If someone were to drive by my house they would think, 'Man this guy has a passion for shed roofs!'"

You can check out Jason's Passive House on his website: http://www.sustainablepath.us/home

Tags: indoor air quality, Passive House, Passive House Design, recoupaerator, UltimateAir., green building

IAQ at London 2012

Posted on Mon, Aug 06, 2012

While Indoor Air Quality does not get the media coverage it should, we have all seen its relevance on our television sets for the past few weeks. Roughly 8% of athletes at the London Olympics suffer from asthma. While it might seem extreme to compare the “average” person’s asthma to the best athletes in the world, it is a fact that they, like everyone, struggle with respiratory problems.

Even if you’re not a  Superhuman describe the imageyou can live healthily with asthma or dysfunctional breathing. British runner and world record holder Paula Radcliffe developed asthma as a child. Gymnast Daniel Leyva was born with severe asthma as was volleyball phenom Misty May-Treanor. These Olympians have achieved amazing results under tough conditions; they are unphased by their asthma. While you may not even be able to do a cartwheel, you should be able to breathe as easily as them.

It is amazing that these people can overcome their asthma, but why should this be a point of discussion? Everyone should be able to breath freely, and without heroics. Olympians with asthma, however, show that respiratory issues do not only affect children. Many athletes are victims of late onset asthma; they develop the condition as they get older, and this is something about which many people are unaware.  Athletes’ asthma can be blamed on cold describe the imageenvironments, air pollution, and long term intensive training. Asthmatic skater Kristi Yamaguchi trained for years (in a cold environment), as did cyclist Bradley Wiggins, but these conditions do not account for all cases. Not all athletes breath in the airway-damaging cold air nor the smog-laden London/Beijing fumes. Two months before the London Olympics began the American Lung Association published an article interviewing Peter Vanderkaay, an Olympic swimmer, about his asthma. He explained that “The chemicals in the pool can definitely make a difference in the air quality of an indoor pool. If a pool has too much chlorine, it can have a negative impact on performance. It can also affect people who don’t have asthma because of the caustic nature of the chemicals.” 

While there is a lot of media hype about the smog in London (as there was four years ago in Beijing) it is hard to see how the Olympic committee can change the outdoor environment. Smog, weather changes, and chlorine fumes are difficult to control. However, describe the imageinside is something we can control (the 2000 Sydney Olympics had strict IAQ regulations!).

These athletes win because they make a point to overcome their respiratory issues. Their trade is managing and developing their bodies. You might not be able to spend every waking minute consciously watching your body like an Olympian, but you can overcome respiratory issues and you can be aware of their causes.

Tags: indoor air quality, asthma, iaq, respiration, olympics

Energy Recovery Ventilation or Heat Recovery Ventilation

Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012

           describe the image

             There is quite a bit of debate out there as to where ERVs should be used and where HRVs should be used. For those of you who do not know, HRVs, like ERVs, are ventilation systems that transfer heat. However, unlike ERVs they do not transfer moisture.  We see a lot of maps claiming that ERVs should be used in the humid South, to reduce incoming moisture, while HRVs should be used in the colder North. However, these maps are inconsistent (for example, some suggest HRVs in the arid Southwest). Moreover they are wrong; ERVs can and should be used everywhere.
           While the "Bermuda Triangle" comparison might be something of a hyperbole, instances where an HRV would make more sense are few and far between. If you do not need to actively increase or decrease the humidity level inside your home at anytime during the year, then sure, an HRV would be an acceptable choice. At the same time, so would the ERV because you will not just be using the moisture transfer ability. But the claim that ERVs are bad outside of humid regions is just untrue. By transferring moisture as well as heat, they effectively assist moderate indoor humidity for optimal comfort and safety. Buildings in the dry Southwest that need humidity benefit from ERVs. Homes in the cold North would suffer similarly without retaining some humidity inside. The myth that HRVs are prefered in the North is based on a freezing problem that ERVs experienced twenty years ago. This problem has long since been fixed. However, some still use it as a misleading justification. The HRV industry survives on this misinformation.

Energy Recovery Ventilators are more efficient and practical. They are the ventilation system of choice for Passive Homes and commercial buildings. If you are making the investment for your health and your home, why would you go halfway? Maybe in a place where the laws of physics don't apply, like the Bermuda Triangle. Get lost HRVs.

Tags: indoor air quality, Home, ERV, energy efficient, Air Ventilation System, HRV, ERV or HRV

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!
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RecoupAerator
Follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/RecoupAerator

Tags: Homeowners, Indoor Air Pollutants, indoor air quality, Clean Home Air, recoupaerator, Ventilation Strategy

Moisture, Mold and Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Thu, Feb 02, 2012

The Problem

Mildew is a mold that grows under warm (temperatures between 77 – 86 degrees F.), wet, and humid conditions (relative humidity between 62% - 93%).

Window condensation is one visible manifestation of excess humidity, but ideal conditions also are found lurking out of sight within wall cavities, in crawl spaces and attics.
mildew.curtains hanging

Under saturated conditions wood will rot, giving rise to frequent and expensive repairs, and mold spores serve as triggers for allergies and contribute to an unhealthy home environment.

You don’t have to open doors and windows to bring moisture into our home. Outside humidity, moisture generated in the home, vapor pressure (the drive that causes moisture to migrate to dryer areas), all contribute to the problem.  Exhaust only ventilation (bath fans, range hoods, dryers) as well as the stack effect from a chimney will accelerate the infiltration of outside humidity through poorly installed (or non-existent) air barrier. Cumulatively this moisture can add hundreds of pounds  of water per day to a home.

Solutions

Here is where an ounce of prevention is worth 100s of dollars of expensive water removal using dehumidification/air conditioning, building repairs and potentially medical expenses and even debilitating illnesses for family members.
1261482123f1q22N

Remediation and Prevention

Building/remodeling right and ventilating right, along with occupant awareness to reduce moisture generation will have a major impact on the prevention of moisture issues that lead to mold growth.

The Building Envelope

Minimize paths of infiltration by sealing your home and adding insulation, install a vapor-permeable air barrier, prevent water from entering basements and crawl spaces with proper sealing, drainage, and landscaping.  Don’t forget to clean the gutters.

A Ventilation Strategy
describe the image

Install an Energy Recovery Balanced Ventilation System.  The UltimateAir® RecoupAerator,® model 200 DX will exhaust excess humidity (along with odors, stale air and pollutants) in the winter and leave a percentage of the humidity outside in the summer while bringing in an equal amount fresh filtered air.  This balanced ventilation approach will help prevent unwanted infiltration by keeping the home at balanced or slightly positive pressure most of the time.  It is also the most cost effective way to provide the ventilation necessary for a safe, comfortable and durable home.

A well-ventilated, balanced- pressure home with a 35 – 45% RH is one of the best investments you can make to prevent mold, reduce allergy triggers (both pollens and mold spores) and insure the health of your family.

UltimateAir's Jason Morosko writes about moisture, mold, indoor quality and other topics.  Stay tuned!  

describe the image

Tags: indoor air quality, Ventilation Strategy, Remediation, Prevention, Moisture, Mold

The Masking Tradition and Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside

JLB New Mask resized 600

Today’s well-insulated and sealed homes trap odors and chemicals from rugs, furniture, and household cleaning products. Common sense and studies have shown that the by exhausting the pollutants and replacing this exhausted air with filtered, fresh air from outside, the quality of the home environment is uncommonly improved.  By adding heat and moisture recovery to this air exchange (in essence, recovering the energy already used to heat and cool the home), ventilation and filtration can be done for as little as 25 cents per day.

 

Green Cleaners

However, consumers are confounded by a bewildering array of sprays, powders, candles and plug-in devices to mask IAQ issues. Indeed, these masking agents - “air fresheners”, “aerosol air cleaners”, and candles - significantly contribute  to degrading the home environment and causing allergic reactions.

Check out the green cleaner experiment - you can see formadhyde levels rise.

We also used to powder and perfume ourselves instead of bathing, go on pilgrimages to avoid the plague, and build homes without insulation... And how did this work out?

Choose a better indoor air quality with the RecoupAerator

To insure the health, safety and comfort of your family, choose the real long-term solution to a better indoor environment, the UltimateAir RecoupAerator Ventilation and Filtration system.

Tags: Homeowners, indoor air quality, Air Filration, recoupaerator, Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Outdoor Air Quality

Attend an Exclusive Air Filtration Technical Training Webinar

Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011

As part of our newly launched educational series, UltimateAir® is presenting a comprehensive look at our RecoupAerator® air filtration/ventilation system's performance specifications and air flow controls as part of our Technical Training Webinar.

attend webinarTo be held on Friday, November 18 at 1pm EST, UltimateAir®'s Jason Morosko, vice president of engineering, will host the presentation that will serve as an excellent resource for builders, HVAC installers, design professionals and even homeowners.

Our featured product, the RecoupAerator®, is a whole-house Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) that exchanges the stale air of an average-sized home with clean fresh air.

It exceeds competition with:

  • 95 percent heat recovery ventilator.
  • MERV rating of 12.
  • WarmFlo Defrost system that allows it to be used year round in any climate.

Learn more today and sign-up for the free webinar by clicking the button above. After you've registered, we will send you all of the necessary information and instructions regarding how to call-in on the exclusive presentation date.

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Filration, Air Ventilation System, recoupaerator, HVAC Installer

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Basement

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2011

1242266400 resized 600UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean air inside your 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.

In previous weeks, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the living roombedroom and bathroom. This week, we will focus on the basement. Because many of us don’t spend a lot of time in here we often overlook the potential safety hazards within it.

For several reasons, basements tend to become wet, and this wetness is the perfect atmosphere for biological contaminants to thrive. Even more serious, poorly-installed or poorly-maintained utilities and appliances in our basements may leak dangerous gases, as the basement is a particularly susceptible “gateway” for toxins!

They become wet for several reasons, and when they become wet they breed contamination such as mold. This occurs because they tend to be less insulated than the other areas of the house we spend our time in. When we use outdoor hoses, we may be unknowingly allowing water to seep into our basements. And when carpets or stored items in the basement become wet, we tend to keep them there, which perpetuates the problem.

One proven way to prevent mold growth is by installing an air filtration/ventilation system. The RecoupAerator® influences both temperature and  humidity to keep mold spores (and other dangers) from surviving and multiplying.

In addition to investing in a product solution, there are other simple steps you can take to prevent dangers to air quality:

  • Move down spouts away from the foundation of your home.
  • Insulate basement walls.
  • Throw away wet items from basement.

Washers, dryers, furnaces and heaters can all release dangerous gases into the air if they’ve been installed incorrectly or not properly maintained. This is particularly dangerous since these gases—unlike mold—have no smell! A whole house ventilation system, like the RecoupAerator®, is a great way to ensure clean, safe air, but it is also recommended that annual checks are conducted to ensure there are no leaks and that all of the filters are clean.

 

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Filration, Indoor Air Quality Audit

How to Evaluate your Local HVAC Installer

Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011

describe the image

Just as there are several options when it comes to heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units for your home or business, there are also several options for selecting the right HVAC installer.

 

How does one differentiate between all of them? 

How does one find the best service at the best price?

 

Steps to Choosing the Right HVAC Installer

1. Look for a certified technician, such as a NATE-certified technician in your area.

2. Consider proposals from the certified HVAC technicians in your area. Do not be afraid to ask them questions.

    • Is the contractor complying with state and local codes?
    • Has the contractor provided you with a list of professional, business and trade references?
    • Will the contractor stand behind your installation?
    • Can the contractor service your new system in the future?

3. There are certain steps you want a technician to take before, during, and after installation. So before you choose a contractor, ensure they are going to take each of the steps.  These steps should include:

    • A review of the condition of your duct system
    • That the contractor ensures the unit is safe electrically
    • That the contractor provide a copy of the installation checklist with a record of all measurements taken during installation

4. Before installation, ensure that the technician ascertains the heating and cooling requirements of your home or business. This calculation requires much more than square footage. A technician should consider several other factors:

    • Ventilation needs
    • Insulation
    • Location of windows
    • Air tightness

5. During installation, it is important that the technician measures and documents the airflow. If the airflow is not optimal, energy will be wasted, your health might be at risk, and you will not be as comfortable as you should be with a functioning HVAC system.

The RecoupAerator® removes this concern for your ventilation by requiring no air flow balancing. It insures that the airflow exhausting household odors and pollutants is the same as the fresh, filtered outdoor air being distributed throughout the home.

When ventilation systems are difficult to install, it becomes more likely that the unit will be installed improperly. The technician should not only ensure that the electricity is safely provided, but should install a product that is simple to install and maintain. The RecoupAerator® is the closest to ‘plug & play’ among whole house energy recovery ventilators, and is flexible enough that tinkering is not required to adjust to different settings.

Rating your HVACs Installation Performance

After installation, if ducts were repaired or installed, the technician should measure leaks so that the air you are paying for is being delivered. There are several ways to measure potential leaks, and the technician should not only tell you how it was measured, but what the results were, and how it will be remedied.

Before the technician’s work is complete, several documents should be provided to you. You should ask for the newly-installed unit’s owners manual and accompanying warranties. And the technician should demonstrate to you how you can maintain your unit!

At first glance, it appears difficult to find the best installer and the best unit at the best value. But by relying on respected organizations like NATE and by asking questions, you can locate a great technician. And by relying on independently-tested whole house ventilation systems like the RecoupAerator®, you cannot go wrong.

To learn more about installing a RecoupAerator® and air filtration system in your home, click here.

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Ventilation System, HVAC Installer