If it’s alive, kill it. If it’s dead, trap it. That’s a rule of thumb for improving indoor air quality. When it comes to molds and other microbials, which are living organisms, we must both kill and trap them.
In nature, hydroperoxides kill pollutants through two attack modes: They either break them down through a process call cell lysis or alter their structure and render them useless. The problem is, creating hydroperoxides requires three ingredients: water vapor, oxygen and electromagnetic energy. Because electromagnetic energy comes from the sun, there are naturally less hydroperoxides indoors, which leads to higher concentrations of pollutants.
So how do we generate enough hydroperoxides to gang up on indoor air pollutants? Answer: PHI generators.
Photohydronicionization (PHI) generators use an energy source (UV light) and a metal element to create hydroperoxides. The PHI generator is installed in the duct of the HVAC system, which enables the hydroperoxides to be distributed with the airflow and enter the conditioned space, where they can do their work.
Unlike the familiar UV lights that only work best when allowed to shine on a surface, hydroperoxides work on surfaces in the home and in the air to break down pollutants. The bad stuff in the air (free radicals) are effectively neutralized by the oxidizers – just as they are in nature. Independent testing of one PHI generator, the RGF Guardian Air REME, showed 97% airborne mold reduction.
PHI generators have many common names: plasma generators, ionic oxidizers, PHI, photohydronic oxidizers, ionic purifiers, and others. While the technology that creates the oxidizers may be slightly different from different manufacturers, they all work similarly by creating oxidizers that attack and neutralize free radicals in the air and on the surfaces of the home. However, they are not all the same.
As we discussed, a true PHI generator neutralizes the free radicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home by cell lysing or molecular disassociation (or degradation). Many plasma generators, or ionic oxidizers, simply bind the bad stuff together which causes it to fall from the airstream (the air we breathe and walk though). These devices kill the nasties by gathering them in a collector, or on other surfaces, where they eventually smother. The problem with this is these pollutants can end up en mass on surfaces where we interact with them again – this time in larger quantities because they have been bundled together. A true PHI generator (like the RGF Guardian Air REME) kills them so we never have to interact with them again.
In our next indoor air quality discussion, we’ll cover how to trap the pollutants we’ve now killed.