IAQ TRUST TIP #1
It was easier to sell IAQ when it was more common for people to smoke indoors. Decades ago, people would smoke anywhere they wanted to, but even smokers didn’t want lingering smoke or tobacco odors in their homes. The “pain” was obvious and the primary solution our industry provided was an in-duct, whole-house electronic air cleaner.
The technology used in these products was established nearly 100 years ago to knock out particle generation in industrial smoke stacks. In the 1950’s was applied to a residential device that is very similar to what we are still using today. Impressive, really, as there are not many technologies that have lasted a century.
There were commercial products as well, such as a “smoke-eater” for bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, bingo halls and public places where people smoked. They were even applied in entire high-rise building applications where banks of these same machines were installed in ducted systems that were as big as a truck.
Today, there are more IAQ products than ever and new ones continue to pop up, particularly in the retail market. This year there will be an estimated 11,000,000 portable air purifiers of all kinds that will be sold worldwide, up from half of that just four years ago. By 2021, just three years from now, it is forecasted to be 21,000,000.
Who is buying these products? Your customers!
Why? Because they want cleaner, healthier and safer air for themselves and their family.
According to ASHRAE, EPA, the American Lung Association, Consumer Reports and many others, the only technology that has been proven to safely provide a health improvement benefit in the home is the high-efficiency media air filter.
How can this be? To begin with, every reference I find for performance verification, such as killing bacteria, cites a study done in a laboratory. Okay, I believe that when the bacteria were injected into a controlled environment, like a test chamber, the bacteria were killed. But where is the study that shows what happened in the air that we breathe? Are the airborne bacteria in the living space removed and brought back through the duct system and then killed? Apparently, this wasn’t studied. ASHRAE and the EPA both point out the weakness of testing in controlled environment vs. the living space, and advocate that there should be standards established for it.
In addition, look at some IAQ product literature and you’ll find references to “friendly” byproducts that clean the air “naturally”. These references are often to ozone or hydroperoxides which are specifically cautioned against by each of the organizations I mentioned. Here is a link to the current EPA Guide to Residential Air Cleaners where you will see multiple references to this.
Studies have been showing absolute connections between airborne particulate, pathogen and VOC levels to illness, cancers, diseases and even premature death. These are high stakes and our industry is perfectly positioned to provide effective solutions to many of these problems.
I started out in this industry with helping contractors sell IAQ products. It has always been a passion of mine and I’m taking it up again with renewed interest. I’ll be sharing research, studies, white papers and all of the information that I’ve been finding. You will be blown away by what you read. And I’ll provide the best help I can with tips on how to communicate what you learn to your customers, and how to give them appropriate choices that can make the air in their homes cleaner, healthier and safer.