Re: RGF Guardian Air Photocat in HVAC?
A Reader writes:
First off great site and I'm sure glad I came across it.
Recently, I decided to upgrade my current HVAC system and as part of the system the contractor I hired sold me on this Guardian Air HVAC cell by RGF Environmental Group.
At the time I didn't think very much of it and thought it was a good thing to add on.
However, after reading through your site I fear that this Guardian Air cell may be emitting ozone as part of its way to "attack pollutants".
I'm not entirely sure if that's the case as the brochure and website (RGF.com) are somewhat vague so I wanted to ask you if you think it does.
I've actually searched a couple websites selling it and one said it produces no ozone but others say it does. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Btw, I’m still waiting for the gas company to install a gas line before I get my new HVAC system so I still have time to cancel this product.
RGF Environmental Group, Inc., based in West Palm Beach, FL, makes a wide variety of cleaning technologies.
I do not pass judgment on the company beyond analysis of the immediate issue - Guardian Air installation in an HVAC overhaul.
While RGF's Guardian Air Cell is a state of the art photocatalytic oxidizer ("photohydroionization" is extraneous marketing jargon), I'd modify the order to eliminate the RGF cell.
This is a photocatalytic oxidizer, not something to be added permanently to your home.
Ads refer to "safe low levels of ozone" and assert that ozone levels "will not exceed the recommended Federal safety limits for ozone (0.04 ppm) in an occupied room."
This means YES there is ozone produced - enough to disqualify the purchase.
There is absolutely NO such thing as safe levels of ozone, and NO Federal standard for chronic ozone exposure in residential settings.
But there is more.
Photocats and other oxidizers, whether HVAC or free standing, produce partial oxidation byproducts, especially where aldehydes are heavy.
Company literature states that "Gases, VOC’s and Odors can also be reduced significantly," (not "eliminated completely").
Before your decision, be sure to review my page on Whole House Purifiers vs. Portable Air Purifiers, concerning efficiency and cost/effectiveness issues of HVAC air cleaners.
I consider whole-house air purifiers a pure luxury, to be installed when you have an extra four grand left over after putting several premium room air purifiers where you sleep and spend time.
No air purifier is a substitute for thorough source removal and frequent HEPA vacuuming.
Oxidative air cleaners are best used cautiously, which means they should not be hidden away in the HVAC plumbing. Several free standing oxidizers are reviewed here - I am a fan of the Sharp Plasmaclusters - but these, while automated and user-controllable, are not advocated for the naive.
Make sure your contractor leaves the entire system completely clean and dry, all drip pans draining properly. I'd insist that no chemicals be used to mold-proof the ducting.
Be sure to inspect any interior surfaces yourself while the system is open.
What is important long term is the cleanliness of the HVAC interior spaces, evaporator coils, and drip pans. This can be accomplished with ordinary MERV-11 or better furnace filters and careful maintenance to avoid dust, moisture, and therefore mold growth, in the HVAC.
Good luck with your project,