ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 14

TECHNICAL FEATURE

New Guidance for
Residential Air Cleaners
BY LEW HARRIMAN, FELLOW/LIFE MEMBER ASHRAE; BRENT STEPHENS, PH.D, MEMBER ASHRAE; TERRY BRENNAN, MEMBER ASHRAE

As HVAC&R professionals, we in the ASHRAE community are sometimes asked questions about residential indoor air quality (IAQ) and how to improve it. What contaminants are most hazardous? How do I get rid of a particular smell? Should I use this
air cleaner or that filter? Sadly, our friends and family generally lose patience when
we helpfully suggest: "Well, it's complicated. But just read Chapters 46, 60 and 62 in
the ASHRAE Handbook-HVAC Applications, because there's great information in there."
In general, we find that information seekers are frustrated by such helpful advice.
Usually, the question is repeated (with some heat) in a form such as: "You're the
professional. Can't you boil it down? What should I DO in my HOUSE?"
Fortunately, two new resources can help you better
answer such questions. First, the ASHRAE Residential
Indoor Air Quality Guide1 is a comprehensive summary of
IAQ for homes and apartments, written by our member colleagues and published by ASHRAE in 2018. This
book will be useful for professionals, and for others who
have a deeper interest in understanding and improving residential IAQ. Still, a 280-page book is more than
most consumers might choose to digest. Frequently, the
homeowner or renter's IAQ concern is simpler and more
specific, having to do with air filtration, i.e.: "What kind
of air filter should I use?"
Some of us have heard more questions lately, because
public awareness about particle air pollution is high.
Wildfires in North America and Europe, blowing dust in
Asia and Africa, and burning biomass in South America
and Southeast Asia are often highlighted in both

mainstream and social media. When you get questions
from friends and family about residential air filtration
and air cleaners, you may find the U.S. Enivronmental
Protection Agency's recently updated publications helpful.2 The 2018 EPA guidance is specifically written to
inform consumers, as well as technical professionals.
Here's a simple summary of that guidance:
* First, the most effective ways to improve indoor air
quality are to reduce or remove the sources of pollutants
and to ventilate using clean outdoor air. For example,
refraining from smoking or vaping indoors makes an
immediate and important improvement.
* If those measures don't address the problem or
can't be done, running a portable air cleaner and/or
upgrading the air filter in a central furnace or HVAC
system can help to improve IAQ.
* Portable air cleaners can be used to filter the air in a

Lew Harriman is emeritus director of research at Mason-Grant Consulting, Portsmouth, N.H. Brent Stephens, Ph.D., is associate professor and department chair: Civil, Architectural
and Environmental Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Terry Brennan is principal and founder, Camroden Associates, Westmoreland, N.Y.
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - September 2019

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 4
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 6
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 8
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 9
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 10
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 11
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 12
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 13
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 14
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 15
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 16
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 17
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 18
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 19
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 20
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover4
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