Friday, October 03, 2008

The Fall of Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze Ushers in a New Age of Air Purifiers

When Air Purifiers burst onto the scene, Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze quickly became a household name and alerted people with the importance of air purifiers. After a couple of rough years and a flurry of controversy about the its actual effectiveness, the Ionic Breeze began to fade from the public's mind. However, the importance of air purifiers began to grow. New technology, smaller and more energy efficient machines began to permeate the market. While the Sharper Image might have made air purifiers “cool”, other companies made them work and have been taking the time to educate the public about these important tools.

2007 has showed that Air Purifiers are no longer just a “niche” market. They have had over 511.2 million dollars in sale alone. The internet is the leading source of sales and information about air purifiers. Consumers go online to discover vital information about new technology, trends and consumer reports. Vendors have also learned from Sharper Image by making information readily available to potential buyers, to help educate them about the importance and difference between the various types of air purifiers.

Air purifiers offer plenty of options to get desired effects. A fallout from Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze, is the effectiveness of HEPA technology. HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of airborne materials down to the 0.3-micrometer. These filters are often used in hospitals for their effectiveness. It is important to make sure to purchase a true HEPA product and not on labeled “HEPA-type”, “HEPA-like” or “99% HEPA” as they do not perform effectively when compared to HEPA.

Other market trends include the rise of portable air cleaners. These are great for rooms outside the home whether in offices or dorm rooms. Perhaps one of the reason of the gain in popularity is that people are not content to have clean air merely at home. They realize it is important to keep air clean where germs have the largest area to spread. Companies have taken this opportunity to add different styles, shapes and colors to their models letting consumers pick portable air purifiers for that suit them best. Air Sanitizers are adding to the variety of air purifiers.

Of, course companies have decided to offer “green” air purifiers designed specifically to be eco-friendly and energy efficient. An Energy Star Label goes a surprisingly long way to reassure customers that they are purchasing an energy efficient product that will save them money on their electric bill.

Outside of creating more effective air purifiers, companies have been including additional features on air purifiers like change-filter indicators and sensors or automatic fan control to detect air quality. Vornado Air Circulation Systems marketing director Mark Zarich has this to say. “Most of us are trying to establish a path for consumers to believe in after the Ionic Breeze fell…Consumers want to have a healthier home environment.”

By no means is the air purifier dead, after the Ionic Breeze. Studies have shown that customers still crave them, they only wish a more information and more variety. You can expect that as time goes on air purifiers will offer more options, be even more effective and have new designs that you will never have to hide in the room.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Why Buy a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner?

For the past few years, numerous studies and government organizations have sung the praises of HEPA filters, and this was especially true immediately after the September 11 attacks. Due to the potential for contaminated dusts from the World Trade Center Disaster and other hazardous airborne substances, this has prompted the need for appropriate air filtration systems, and HEPA has been shown to be most effective.

As an acronym for “High Efficiency Particulate Air,” HEPA filters originated in the 1940’s and were introduced to commercial markets shortly thereafter. A True HEPA filter has the ability to remove up to 99.97% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger, including contaminants such as dust, animal dander, smoke, mold, and other allergens. Thus, HEPA filters are most often used in air purifiers and cleaners.

However, in addition to air filtration devices, HEPA filters can now be found in many other appliances such as vacuum cleaners because of their ability to remove allergens from the air in a room. A HEPA vacuum cleaner is a vacuum that utilizes a HEPA filter as the last filtration stage, and because traditional vacuum cleaners tend to kick up large amounts of dust, HEPA vacuum cleaners are especially useful for those suffering from respiratory problems such as allergy and asthma.

With that said, when selecting a HEPA vacuum cleaner, be sure the model utilizes a True HEPA filter, as lesser grade filters with names like “HEPA-like” are not as efficient when it comes to particle abatement. Also, it is equally important to ensure that the vacuum be designed and constructed so that all the air taken in is passed through the HEPA filter before it is exhausted (often referred to as a “HEPA sealed system”).

Lastly, when comparing different HEPA vacuum cleaners, keep in mind that HEPA vacuum cleaners are usually more expensive than conventional vacuums. Also consider factors such as the cost of replacement bags and filters; noise levels; and performance specifications like CFM, water lift; and the power of the motor.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Do You Have an Asbestos Problem?

Asbestos is a mineral composed of long, thin fibrous crystals, and the name is derived from a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks named asbestos the “mineral miracle” because of its soft texture and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.

Asbestos became very popular among builders and manufacturers during the late 19th century because of its resistance to heat, electricity, chemical damage, sound absorption, and strength. In fact, many building materials manufactured before 1975, including insulation, floor tiles, cement shingles, roofing, and ceiling tiles, contained large amounts of this mineral. However, due to the health effects associated with asbestos, the EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have banned it from use, and most products made today do not contain the mineral.

Nonetheless, as mentioned above, long-term exposure to asbestos fibers have been associated with a range of health problems. Asbestos fibers are too small to be visible and they can become airborne when materials containing asbestos are disturbed or improperly removed. Once inhaled, asbestos can lead to increased incidence of lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining and chest), and even irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal (also known as asbestosis). Unfortunately, symptoms of these diseases often do not show up until many years after exposure begins, and most people suffering from asbestos-related diseases were exposed to high concentrations while on the job.

To address asbestos problems, it is sometimes best to leave asbestos material alone, assuming it is in good condition, because material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. However, these materials should also be periodically inspected for damage and properly handled and disposed according to appropriate officials. Also, if the asbestos material is even slightly damaged, the EPA recommends removal by a professional.

If you have had asbestos removed or sealed from your home or workplace, your second level of clean up can involve using an air purifier with a high-quality, warm-rolled, True HEPA filter, or even vacuuming floors with a HEPA vacuum. Asbestos fibers range anywhere from 0.1 to 50 microns and length, and HEPA filters must be capable of removing at least 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. Therefore, while a HEPA air purifier or vacuum should not be your only line of defense against asbestos, it can certainly help filter out large fibers and keep you breathing cleaner air.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Fun Flu Vaccine Facts


According to the National Institutes of Health, influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses which pass through the air and enter the body through the mouth or nose. It is estimated that roughly 5% and 20% of all Americans will contract the flu each year. While the flu may be little more than an unavoidable annoyance indicative of the cooler months for some people, for the elderly, newborn babies, and adults with certain chronic illnesses, the flu is serious and can even be deadly.

Therefore, in light of the fact that a large percentage of Americans will get the flu this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the week after Thanksgiving, November 27 to December 2, as National Influenza Vaccination Week. Because the flu vaccine is the main way to keep one from getting the flu, this weeklong event is aimed at highlighting the importance of continuing flu vaccinations, as well as encouraging the public to get vaccinated during the months of November, December, and beyond.

Here are a few facts about the flu and the flu vaccine:

1. Flu season runs from October through May, and the best months to be vaccinated are October and November.
2. The injected vaccine actually contains a killed virus, and is recommended for those over the age of 6 months.
3. The nasal form of the vaccine (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”) is made from a weakened virus and is recommended for those between the ages of 2-49, but not recommended for pregnant women.
4. Two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine, your body has developed the antibodies needed to protect itself against certain strains of the flu virus.
5. While you cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine, you may experience minor side effects such as aches, pains, a low-grade fever, and swelling. As well, you cannot develop the flu from the nasal spray vaccine, but headaches and sore throats are possible side effects.
6. Each flu vaccine contain three flue viruses: one A (H3N2) virus; one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change every year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will be circulated in a given year.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can prevent influenza symptoms by improving your hygeine, eating a diet rich in whole foods, using supplements containing probiotics, getting additional sleep, reducing stress, and by improving your indoor air quality through sufficient ventilation and/or with the use of an air purifier with HEPA filtration.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to Deal with Pet Allergies

Millions of American pet owners suffer from pet allergies, but the benefits of owning a pet oftentimes outweigh the drawbacks of experiencing hay fever symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Studies have shown that 15 percent of the American population is allergic to dogs or cats, and one third of Americans who are allergic to cats live with at least one cat in their household.

To people who are allergic to animals, all dogs and cats are considered allergenic. Contrary to popular belief, pet allergies are not always caused by an animal’s fur. Rather, the glands in an animal’s skin secrete tiny allergy-triggering proteins that both linger in the fur and float in the air. Allergens can also be present in an animal’s urine or saliva, which may become airborne when dried. Also, more people are allergic to cats due to the cat glycoprotein Fel d 1, a substance excreted a cat’s sebaceous glands and most commonly found in a cat’s saliva and skin. This substances is oftentimes more prevalent because cats constantly lick themselves to stay clean.

In order to live comfortably with your best friend, follow these few simple suggestions:

Create an “allergy-free” zone in a specific area or room in the house where the pet is not permitted to roam.

Use a HEPA air cleaner throughout the rest of the home and avoid dander-catching furnishings such as curtains and carpeted floors.

Bath your pet on a weekly basis to help reduce the allergens in the fur by as much as 84 percent. Cats can even be bathed this often after they slowly become accustomed to regularly baths.

Look into immunotherapy shots which desensitizes one’s immune system to allergies (though they cannot eliminate them completely).

Prevent excessive shedding in your pet by regular brushings, feeding nutritionally-rich food, and by the addition of supplements containing fish oil with Omega-3 fatty acids which help moisturize the coat.

Although suffering from allergies and keeping a pet may not be easy, through the adherence to the above guidelines, you can experience the joy of keeping a pet without exacerbating your allergy symptoms.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Its Portable Air Conditioner Season right? Well spring is also Air Purifier Time

right now its portable air conditioner season, get your cooling products before the summer rush right? Get the new more efficient models right? Right. But its also spring, and that means its also air purifier time.

I will keep it simple. DONT buy just an ionizer. Honestly they are usually worthless for removing particulates (small things in the air that bother us). Now some HEPA air purifiers have option ionizers and thats fine but just make sure you get a HEPA filter. The Airsopure MS-980 is the best model that i know of as it uses a multilevel process.

A HEPA air puifier can usually only clean smaller areas like the bedroom but at least it will clean that area compared to the promises of ionizers cleaning your whole house

So save a few $ on your portable air conditioner purchase so you have enough to get a good HEPA air purifier also, it will last you for years and energy use is usually pretty limited

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Monday, May 15, 2006

This is how air purifiers work

HEPA Air Purifier Information: HEPA filtration technology was developed by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to remove airborne radioactive particles. In order to be considered a true HEPA filter, it must be capable of removing 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is 1/75,000 of an inch, or 1/300 the diameter of the human hair. HEPA filters are used in other places such as hospitals and manufacturers’ clean rooms where clean air is absolutely vital. The HEPA filter maintains its efficiency over it's two (2) to five (5) years of life.

HEPA filtration is rapidly coming into many medical applications such as isolation of patients under treatment involving immunological isolation, care for burn victims, orthopedic surgery, etc.

Ionic Air Purifier Information: Ionic air purifiers contain negative ion generators that charge airborne particles so they become attracted to and settle on room surfaces, effectively removing harmful particles from the air you breathe. However, room activity may stir up and release the particles back into the air. For this reason many ionic air cleaners contain electrostatic precipitators which trap particles on oppositely charged metal plates. The plates need to be cleaned periodically for optimal performance.

Ultraviolet Air Purifier Information (UV): Ultraviolet light is one of the more effective methods to reduce and control airborne pathogens. For this reason ultraviolet purifiers are commonly used in hospitals. As contaminated air is passed through intense ultraviolet light, bacteria, viruses and some organic compounds are destroyed. In short, the ultraviolet light damages the DNA of microorganisms and renders them harmless and unable to reproduce. Ultraviolet light is used in much the same way for water purification systems. Because viruses are too small to be trapped by HEPA filters, ultraviolet light is one of the only ways to eliminate airborne viruses.

Ozone Air Purifier Information: Ozone is popularly known for its ability to filter ultraviolet light in the upper atmosphere. Ozone in the lower atmosphere can be used to reduce airborne contaminants. The basic oxygen molecule in the air we breathe is composed of two oxygen atoms. Ozone is composed of three oxygen atoms. Ozone's extra oxygen atom can become detached from the ozone molecule and reattach to molecules of other substances, altering their chemical makeup and often leaving only carbon-dioxide, oxygen and water. This is the basis for ozone air purifiers. Ozone air purifiers release an ozone enriched gaseous plasma into the air that seeks out airborne contaminants. This purification method does not draw the surrounding air into a central filter, allowing for large areas to be purified efficiently.

Activated Carbon Information: Activated carbon filters behave as sponges and trap most airborne gases and odors. Activated carbon is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open millions of small pores between the carbon atoms. These pores adsorb harmful gases and odors. Due to the large surface area of the carbon granules, carbon filters are excellent at trapping gases that pass through traditional particle filters. However, as the pores become filled with trapped contaminants the filters loose effectiveness and will need to be replaced.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

HEPA Filter Quality

HEPA Filter Quality is not a strongly regulated item when it comes to manufacturer claims. Items such as the AirSoPure S-980 come with a HEPA filter that removes more that 99% or particulates down to 0.3m microns. Filters that can remove particulates at this rate are considered high quality filters. Other manufacturers claim that they have have high quality HEPA filters but claims might just be that. These filters might very well be HEPA quality but often only to 95% - that's a big difference. Other examples of high quality HEPA purifier makes are AllerAir HEPA Air Purifiers and IQAir HEPA Air Purifiers. For orange county wedding photographer The point is, not all HEPA filters are equal.

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Advertised Square Footage...

Advertised numbers are often exaggerated to make the sale. You can see that with car sales where mileage usage and horsepower are often exaggerated. This is also true of air purifiers.

Most often this is seen with HEPA air purifiers. Remember that these air purifiers must draw the air through to purify. To do this in a large house is difficult, in a two story house - almost impossible. The reason is that the air has to circulate around the house to do this; moreover, if windows are open the volume of air is effectively increased further.

what to do? Use HEPA air purifiers in areas under 1000 sq. ft. and generally under 400 sq. ft. for best results and run the units continuously.

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New Technology Can Deactivate Airborne Viruses, May Work Against Corona

An air purifier that can kill airborne viruses and bacteria? Read on, looks like Sharp Corporation is thinking they have a solution.

More than just viruses this technology can deactivate a range of microbes - "The technology has been shown to deactivate airborne viruses such as influenza, mite allergens — which are responsible for most cases of asthma — and MRSA, a strain of bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics".

The technology works very similar to current ionizers with a twist: "Plasmacluster Ion Technology is unique as it generates large numbers of both positive and negative ions, unlike other devices which only use negative ions. These ions form clusters around micro-particles and react chemically with them, rendering airborne fungi and viruses inactive."

Hospitals may be the first revenue stream for sharp as "the technology has been shown to deactivate airborne viruses such as influenza, mite allergens — which are responsible for most cases of asthma — and MRSA, a strain of bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics."

This seems to be the most legitimate step in what has long been a promise of air purifiers - to free the air of pathogens and increase the quality of air purifiers. Most HEPA air purifiers promise to clean the air of bacteria and viruses but only in the air they actually filter. Since HEPA filters have to draw air through the filter to purify it, it has really become a fallacy to believe that they can sterilize a room. But a technology like this one has more promise since the air being purified does not have to travel through the purifier allowing for the purification of larger areas.

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Air Purifiers?? Air Cleaners?? What Should I Buy?

We have all heard the claims - "perfect clean air" "safe for anyone anyware" "No filters needed".

How do you tell if the air purifier you are buying is going to work or do the job it is intended or guaranteed to do. Will that Ionic Breeze Air Purifier really purifier and clean the air? In the past 10 years a great deal of new technologies have entered the market. Consumers can still purchase traditional HEPA air purifiers but now have the option to buy UV air Purifiers, Ionic Air Purifiers, PCO Air Purifiers and more.

We hope to make your decision a bit easier by providing the information below.

An article written by the EPA concludes that "Recent research showed that efficiency of filters with permanent electrostatic fields (electrets) drops significantly when the filters become dirty. The filters show this drop in efficiency when collecting particles in both ambient (outdoor) air and indoor air".Moreover this report has questions regarding air purifiers intended to remove VOC's concluding that "it appears that the useful life of organic vapor air cleaners is a strong function of the chemical composition and indoor concentration of the organic vapors being collected and the relative humidity and temperature of the indoor environment. Lifetimes of typical commercially available air cleaners, under typical indoor conditions, are less than 1 year; under conditions of high pollutant concentration, they are less than 1 month."

Does this mean that VOC air purifiers or Active Carbon Air Cleaners do not work? Not really, it just means that we need to make better decisions as consumers look for true quality when purchasing air cleaners and air purifiers. Look for testimonials, don't by the least expensive system that just happens to promise the world. We are working right now on setting up a consumer comparison reference to help you out, in the meantime keep reading and send us your comments.

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Too Much Ozone is not a Good Thing

Although many manufacturers are now producing air purifiers that emit ozone, this may be more of a cost saving feature than quality addition. Read below what the EPA has to say regarding ozone air purifiers.

"The same chemical properties that allow high concentrations of ozone to react with organic material outside the body give it the ability to react with similar organic material that makes up the body, and potentially cause harmful health consequences." Read More?

Looks like "old" HEPA and Carbon technology may not be outdated yet...

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