With regard to UV technology, UV lights purify by attacking contaminants and microbes at their basic molecular level and then damage them enough so that they may no longer reproduce. However, this process is directly related to three essential factors: the intensity of the UV light spectrum, the amount of time the organism is exposed, and the distance the light is to the organism.

This technology works very well on wet surfaces, such as a coil or pan. But even though there have been advances in UVC technology, they don’t work well in an airstream. So, mandating duct cleaning, or ducts with UV technology, without clear performance results would be overkill.

Measuring airflow can help lead to IAQ solutions
Using an airflow matrix

Prescriptive Mandates Achieve Little

Mandates and directives are often prescriptive. For instance, in 2005, the California Energy Commission introduced their prescriptive mandates that included: duct leakage, fan watt draw, and refrigerant charge requirements. Each system had to meet a certain standard.

The energy savings were minimal after the state spent millions of dollars on incentive programs and completed thousands of houses. So, you can imagine that trying to put a prescriptive mandate on IAQ would be next to impossible.

Whether the HVAC industry could handle the issue of IAQ by themselves, without mandates, depends largely on the working knowledge and education of the contractors. IAQ is often a team approach. It is also multi-discipline. A contractor may need to team up with a certified industrial hygienist, a mold remediation company, an asbestos abatement company, an air-sealing and insulation company, or a building science professional.

By taking on IAQ investigative processes, we can not only serve our customers better, but we can also avoid the mandated solution mistakes of the past.

John Ellis not only owns Dynamic Air Consulting, but he also teaches a NATE-approved course on Indoor Air Quality Principles through Daikin/Amana/Goodman. You can find this course at ncilink.com/AQP. He is also a business coach and field service trainer for The New Flat Rate. In addition, John is an author (ncilink.com/IAQ-SP) and speaker. Email John at ncilink.com/ContactMe.