12 Questions to Analyze & Compare IAQ TechnologyWhether you are interested in portable HEPA filters, UV technology, Bipolar Ionization, or any other IAQ technology you have been presented that you feel may help you improve your schools’ IAQ, here is a blueprint for what you should be asking for:

  1. Does the unit produce harmful ozone? Is it UL2998 Ozone free?
  2. How long has the specific technology the vendor is marketing to you actually been on the market?  NOTE: This is a very important question. UV technology and Bipolar ionization technology have been around for many decades, however, some of the original technology is being used in applications that are ineffective (ie. UV being used in HVAC ducts to sterilize the air, or gadgets claiming to be ionizers on Amazon)  NOTE 2: Does the supplier have a list of clients that are using the IAQ technology in its current application? Unfortunately, vendors may give you a list of clients that are using the technology they are offering you in a different application (ie. UV suppliers boast about the fact that their technology is “hospital-grade” which is true however the hospital application they are referring to is a UV technology used for surfaces when the UV technology they may be referencing to you is for air)
  3. Is the technology proactive?   You want a product that is working while the students are in the classrooms, not one that works at night or after hours.
  4. Does the product restrict HVAC airflow? Is there any effect on HVAC system?
  5. A 3rd party engineer who has experience testing for air data should always be part of the process. Any vendor should be willing to prove their technology works in your school not just in a lab. Pilot tests that can show the following data validating the safety and performance of the technology should be performed: Data/Samples should be taken for the following before and after units are operational: Ion count VOCsFormaldehyde Ozone.Particle counts (.3 to 10 micron)Bacterial air sample should be taken to lab (this may require an industrial hygienist)     NOTE 1. Be aware that some vendors may like to change the data to create more value for their technology. Ie. UV suppliers may push for surface data rather than air samples. NOTE 2: If you know of a school that has already undergone this extensive pilot test, it may be an alternative solution, but it’s always great to have your own data.
  6. What is a realistic estimate of what the cost of the unit may be installed?
  7. How easy or difficult is it to install the new technology? Are there different models to meet your needs for all classrooms and large spaces (ie. Gym, cafeteria)?
  8. What does maintenance require? Do you need skilled employees? Do you need to pay for a service contract? If so, what are those costs?
  9. Life expectancy of unit, what needs to be replaced, how often?
  10. How long is the warranty on unit?
  11. What is the energy consumption of unit?
  12. Does unit meet any ASHRAE standards or any other standards that may allow it to decrease your schools’ energy consumption?

The Author is Peter Cantone, CEO and Founder of Pandemic Solutions LLC and the National K-12 Dealer for AtmosAir, a manufacturer of patented bipolar ionization technology. Peter’s experience comes from building and developing supply and training businesses in the spray polyurethane foam insulation market where he’s been helping to better IAQ for over 16 years. For a free consultation email info@pandemicsolutons.net.