Haier advances take IAQ to higher level
You walk into your hotel room, greeted by stale air permeating the space.
To generate airflow, you switch on the HVAC unit. But within seconds, the device spews out an odor that reeks of mustiness reminiscent of a gym’s locker room.
Oftentimes, that scent, known in the HVAC industry as dirty sock syndrome, stems from ice buildup and condensation collected in the unit and filters that inadequately clean the conditioned air it releases.
Haier, a global HVAC leader, has spearheaded efforts to boost air quality and comfort by improving unit efficiency through coil protection and keeping filters at peak performance. The company showcased new solutions, currently available in Europe and Asia, at AHR Expo 2018.
“There are a lot of products with fancy things,” said Nick Shin, vice president of air quality for Haier America. “For impacting the health of the user, there really are very few products out there.”
Most people don’t realize the harm HVAC units designed to improve indoor air quality actually pose to the people they’re designed to help, Shin said.
“That moldy and mildew smell is not good for you,” he said. “All that means is that there’s a buildup in those coils.”
Haier has coated the coils of its mini-splits with a blue coating and incorporated self-cleaning capability that locks particulates and contaminants from the air into ice that typically builds upon those coils. The technology then warms and washes the coils, enabling the ice to slide off, and evaporates any pooling liquid.
The process also prevents corrosion of the coil and prolongs unit life.
Haier also has instituted a means for keeping HEPA filters effective for longer periods of time.
The company’s units sense the quality levels of air in a particular space. When it’s at less-than-desirable conditions and needs to be cleaned, that air is cycled through the HEPA filter.
Most HVAC units automatically run all air through its HEPA filter, meaning that filter is constantly in use – even when it doesn’t need to be. That tends to reduce performance and airflow. But Haier’s units can be switched to cycle air through the HEPA filter only when quality levels are at peak, or near peak, conditions – perhaps for a couple of hours at a time.
“We did this in a way that’s useful, but it also makes sense for performance and comfort,” Shin said.
Much of the HVAC industry’s focus in recent years has been on controls and automation – technology with which Haier’s devices are equipped. So the company has honed in on how its devices can benefit end-users from an air quality and comfort standpoint.
“As we learn more about (air quality), we want to meet the needs of our customers,” he said. “We’re continuing to monitor different ways to improve air quality.”
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