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Air Testing and Purification

Wind Turbines on Water

​There are a lot of organizations offering certification for Indoor Air Quality testing and Indoor Mold testing professionals.  Some of them are, frankly, bunk (organizations that created their own program and gave themselves permission to offer certification).  To my knowledge, the "real deal" certification organization is the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).  The top two certifications for air quality specialists are:

  1. Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) and just below that

  2. Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE).  ​​​

Air Quality Testing

Air Filters

How Air filters are rated (CADR, CCM vs HEPA).  This article essentially explains why the traditional rating system is not helpful and why HEPA filtration is important. 2nd Article.

As with water filters, there are several technologies that get used in air filtration:

  1. HEPA - pleated random fiber "paper" that captures particles

    • HEPA filters vary wildly in effectiveness depending on the tightness of the ​pores and how tightly sealed the filter is within its unit. Some can filter down below the micron level, some just catch larger dust particles. 

    • HEPA language is not standardized and the various terms don't necessarily mean any standard has been met

    • Generally HEPA is for catching particles above a certain size (whatever the particular filter is built for)

    • They don't catch airborne chemicals (VOC's)

  2. Activated carbon - binds charged molecules (including VOC chemical gasses)

  3. Charge capture plates - metal plates magnetized by charging with electric current - particles with opposite charge will cling to plates (until they are saturated).  Usually generate ozone.  Can miss lots of particles. 

  4. Ionization - most create ozone - which does kill things, but will also damage lung cells if concentrations are high enough to smell the ozone.  I generally do not recommend these due to risk of respiratory irritation or damage. 

  5. I like these articles online; they do a good job of explaining the different types of filter technology, what each is good for and where each falls short. (Note that these links are to companies that sell filters)




Types of Air Pollutants

  • Particles

    • Dust, pollen, mold spores, mites, insect feces​

    • Fires and car exhaust (traffic) produce some particulates called POC (products of combustion)

  • VOC

    • Volatile Organic Compounds

    • Toxic gasses that evaporate off of: new paint, new carpet, new cabinets, new foam furniture​

    • Also created by fires and car exhaust.

    • Many VOC's produce an obvious odor, some are odorless

    • Toxic mold spores and other microbes present in water damaged buildings can release VOCs that affect health more than the spores themselves (VOCs are the main cause of mold related illness)

  • Smoke

    • Produces a combination of VOC and particulate​

  • Infectious agents

    • Bacteria, virus, mold, etc​

How to know what air filter technology you need

Recommended Air Filters

  • Most Researched 

    • IQ Air Purifiers​​

    • Used in Asia to control the SARS epidemic​

    • Smallest particle elimination possible, plus great clearance of VOC

    • Big, heavy activated carbon unit plus highest quality HEPA

    • Expensive

    • Recent reports of decrease in build quality

  • Highly Recommended

    • Austin Air filters

      • Very high-quality HEPA filter that includes a large activated carbon block

      • Moderately expensive

    • AirPura V600 (and several other models)

      • Solid HEPA filtration​

      • Hefty activated carbon modules

      • Wide variety of sizes, and filters for special circumstances

    • AllerAir AirMedic Pro 4, 5, 6 lines

      • Solid HEPA filtration​

      • Hefty activated carbon modules

      • Wide variety of sizes, and filters for special circumstances

      • Can customize a filter for your specific situation

  • Recommended with reservation​

    • Intellipure

      • Recommended by mold expert Jill Crista

      • Lacks large carbon sink

      • I have not been as impressed with this as with Austin Air, but it does seem to make a significant difference

    • Molekule

      • New technology (PECO), reported to not just capture pollutants, but destroy them on an molecular level​

      • Research is in house - not independent​​, track record unknown

      • Initial reports from mold sensitive folks are positive

  • Adequate for most and much cheaper

    • GermGuardian 

      • HEPA (unknown quality), Carbon, UV light, Titanium Oxide​ 

    • Any Air Purifier that has a True HEPA filter

      • Better if they also have a carbon filter​

      • Better if they also have UV light, or some other way alter the molecular structure of pollutants


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