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New Technologies

 

Air Filtration - UV Light Treatment
For years, UV light treatment equipment has been used, and is sometimes mandatory, in health care facilities, commercial buildings, hotels, schools, daycare centers and food processing plants. Today it is becoming even more common in the home to sterilize and neutralize airborne bacteria, molds, dust mites and odors.

While independent research has not been done on the technology's effectiveness to reduce airborne bacteria and allergens in the home, a 2003 study published in The Lancet medical journal found ultraviolet light purifiers used in three office buildings reduced overall worker sickness by about 20 percent, including a 40 percent drop in breathing problems. The ultraviolet lamps were aimed at the cooling coils and drip pans in the ventilation systems of the buildings. The lights were turned on for four weeks; then turned off for 12 weeks. The cycle was repeated three times for almost a year. The use of the lights resulted in a 99-percent reduction of the concentration of germs on irradiated surfaces within the ventilation systems.

How It Works
Installed in the main supply or return duct of an air-source heat pump or air conditioning system, UV lights disinfect the air stream as it passes through the HVAC system. The lights usually operate continuously 24 hours a day, but only require between 15 Watts to 85 Watts depending on the system.

UV lights do not typically disinfect the air flowing through your ducts in just one pass, but your home's air re-circulates more than 50 times a day during normal operation of a heat pump or air conditioning system, and with every pass more and more contaminants are destroyed.

Source: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute

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Mechanical Air Filters
Mechanical air filters (also called Media Air Filters) use filter media to remove particles from the air stream in HVAC systems. Filter media, at the microscopic level, consists of an interlocking network of fibers that appear quite porous. This porosity is necessary to allow air to pass through the unit with minimal pressure drop. The interlocking fibers of the material form a web that captures particles in the air stream. Mechanical air filters are typically found next to your furnace in your home.

Source: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute

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Air filtration - TRANE's CleanEffects™
TRANE CleanEffects utilizes patented, breakthrough air cleaning technology to remove up to an astounding 99.98% of airborne allergens from the air that passes through the filter, making it 8 times more effective than even the best HEPA room filters and up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1" filter. TRANE CleanEffects has been performance-tested by LMS Technologies and Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), and the results verified by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health.

LMS Technologies is a technology consulting company that specializes in air flow measurement, filtration testing and particle analysis. Environmental Health & Engineering is an environmental consulting and engineering services company that is dedicated to ensuring safe and productive environments, and is co-founded by Dr. John D. Spengler, PhD of the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard.

And new research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with scientists at Environmental Health and Engineering Inc., (EH&E) shows that Trane CleanEffects™ removes more than 99 percent of the common flu, or influenza A virus, from the filtered air.

Source: TRANE

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High Efficiency Systems
(Two-stage compressor)
Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80 percent of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there's a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.

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High Efficiency - Variable speed motors
The indoor air handler (fan and motor) provides the energy to move air through the ductwork of a central air conditioning or heat pump system to the rooms of your house. In most standard central cooling and heating systems, the fan and motor runs at one speed, which means the system is either on or off.

A variable speed motor (VSM) uses control technology, meaning the VSM automatically changes speed based on your home's heating and cooling requirements. It slowly increases up to maximum speed instead of coming on at full capacity all at once. This eliminates the sudden blast of air you feel with a one-speed system and results in the system running at a lower speed most of the time. This eliminates noisy start up, while reducing wear and tear on the fan and motor, resulting in a substantial reduction in operating costs due to major energy efficiency improvements.

Source: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute

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Humidifiers for Central Air Systems
In the winter, it is especially important to add moisture to the air, since dry winter air can drive down the relative humidity level in your home to as low as 15 percent, which is drier than the air in most deserts. A whole house humidifier works with your central heating and cooling system to help keep the humidity in your home at the proper level. It even saves money on winter heating bills because properly humidified air feels warmer, allowing homeowners to turn their thermostats down a few degrees.

Unlike portable room humidifiers, which need constant adjustment and regular manual attention, whole-house humidifiers automatically respond to changes in outdoor temperature and indoor relative humidity to deliver whole-house humidity.

Some whole-house humidifiers are equipped with a built-in fan that circulates humidified air throughout your home through the furnace's duct system. Other types use the air handler or furnace fan to direct humidified air to every room in your home.

The evaporative humidifier operates in conjunction with the furnace blower motor. When the humidistat, a device that measures the amount of water vapor in the air and turns a humidifier or dehumidifier on and off accordingly, calls for humidity and the blower motor is operating, water flows to the distribution pan located at the top of the unit. The water is uniformly distributed across the width of the pan and through a system of outlets. It flows by gravity over the evaporative media filter. Dry, hot air is moved through the moisture-laden evaporative media where evaporation takes place.

The now-humidified air carries moisture in vapor form throughout the home. The correct water flow is determined by an orifice in each unit. When the unit is operating, there will be a small, steady stream of water to drain, which flushes away most trouble-causing minerals contained in the water supply. Minerals and solid residue not trapped by the replaceable evaporative media are flushed down the drain. The drain also eliminates problems caused by stagnant water.

Whole house humidifiers are usually controlled by a manual humidistat installed either in the living area or in the cold air return. It is important to anticipate a drop in temperature and reduce the setting accordingly to avoid excessive condensation. For example, with an outside temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit the correct setting will be 35 percent relative humidity. If the temperature is expected to fall to 0 degrees Fahrenheit that evening, reduce the setting to 25 percent several hours prior to the temperature change. Observance of the recommended relative humidity level on your humidistat is an important safeguard.

Condensation in the form of fogging or frost on inside windows is usually an indication of excessive relative humidity. The same condensation can take place in other areas in your home with the possibility of resulting damage.

Be sure to keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use. They provide an excellent escape route for heat, as well as humidity.

Source: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute

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