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Indoor Air Quality Solutions: The 2021 Buyer’s Guide

Demand for indoor air quality solutions that measure and improve your air has spiked drastically since the global pandemic.

Sales for indoor air quality monitors have grown 800% since 2015, and advanced air cleaning technologies like bipolar ionization and air purification machines have become household terminology.

*Global Indoor Air Quality Market 2015-2020 | TechNavio
*Global Indoor Air Quality Market 2015-2020 | TechNavio

But before you or your facilities team look to empty your wallets, it’s important to get an understanding of what these solutions do, and how to pick the most effective setup for your buildings and occupants.

Table of Contents:

  • How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality?
  • Indoor Air Quality Measurement Solutions
  • Indoor Air Pollution Remediation Solutions
  • Service-Related Indoor Air Quality Solutions


Let’s start by answering a question:

“How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality?”

Taking the leap to improve indoor air quality can be a daunting task. Between guidelines from regulatory agencies and sales pitches from technology vendors, there is a lot of market noise impeding your ability to make an informed decision.

Before buying an indoor air quality solution, it’s important to first understand your indoor environment with a data-driven approach:

  • Consult Experts: Analyzing your facility’s indoor air quality is a meticulous task that requires in-depth knowledge of the built environment, HVAC systems, and how outdoor air quality affects indoor air.
  • Understand your Air: Use a measurement strategy like continuous air quality monitoring to gather data on your air quality health to identify problem areas.
  • Implement Research-Backed Strategies: Take action once a root cause is identified. Choose only data-supported strategies to remediate your problems.
  • Get Evidence of Improvement: Make sure everything has worked as it should. This is achieved using the data from your continuous monitoring solution.
  • Take a Long-Term Approach: Air quality is dynamic, so a dedication to ongoing improvement is the only way to ensure you are consistently providing clean air to your occupants.

Indoor Air Quality Measurement Solutions

Gathering data on your indoor air quality is a vital part of your clean air strategy. Without it, you’ll have no idea what problems your facility has, how to solve them, or if they are effective once implemented. The two most common IAQ measurement strategies are:

  • Indoor Air Quality Spot-Testing
  • Continuous Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

Indoor Air Quality Testing

Using a handheld probe or measurement device is one of the most common ways to get a read on your air… but it’s also one of the least efficient ways to do so. The problem is that indoor air quality tests only assess your indoor air quality at a singular point in time.

As we mentioned previously, air quality is ever-changing. The issues you uncover at one point in time could be due to unusually high outdoor air pollution, increased occupancy, or some anomaly like the installation of a new piece of machinery.

Conversely, there can (and will) be more air quality-related issues that arise after the assessment has already taken place. If this is the case, you will be basing your clean air strategy on outdated data.

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring (Continuous)

Collecting real-time data on your air quality health is the best way to go about IAQ measurement.

With continuous indoor air quality monitoring, you’ll receive data in minute-by-minute readings as the air flows through different areas of your facility. This is really the only way to get accurate data on the status of your indoor health.

There are typically two types of indoor air quality monitors:

  • Single-Pollutant Sensors
  • Multi-Pollutant Sensors

Single Pollutant Sensors

These are devices that only measure one air quality parameter, like particulate matter (PM), carbon dioxide (CO2), or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you have a very specific problem that you are looking to address, this may be a good use of resources.

Multi-Pollutant Sensors

Multi-pollutant sensors track the concentration of a combination of different air quality parameters. An example of this is the qlair SPS 208, it tracks pollutant concentrations for most major parameters:

  • PM2.5
  • PM10
  • CO2
  • VOCs
  • Formaldehyde

Indoor Air Pollution Remediation Solutions

Selecting a remediation solution for areas with problematic indoor air pollution should be considered after a thorough IAQ assessment from testing or monitoring. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll separate IAQ remediation solutions into 2 categories:

  • Portable Air Purification (Air-Cleaning) Machines
  • Central Air Purification Systems

Air Purification Machines

Portable air purifiers are the most common means for cleaning the air indoors. They are typically installed in spaces with high indoor air pollution, increased occupancy rates, or machinery that increases particles and gasses.

Air purifiers often clean the air by pulling in polluted air and reintroducing it as fresh air through:

  • Advanced Filtration
  • Disinfectant Technology

Advanced Filtration

To provide a greater level of purification on your indoor air, portable air cleaners typically employ high-efficiency air filters to capture and remove particles and gasses.

HEPA filters are often used in hospital environments because they have 99%+ removal efficiency. Air cleaners that incorprate HEPA filtration have some of the highest likelihood for reducing indoor pollution and provided clean, fresh air.

While HEPA filtration can be seen as the ‘gold standard,’ it’s not required for adequate purification. An air purification device that employs a high-efficiency air filter, such as MERV-13 or higher, will be able to significantly increase your air-cleaning efforts.

Disinfectant Technology

Some air-cleaning devices employ advanced disinfectant technology like Ultra-Violet Irradiation or a UV-C Germicidal bulb.

When air is pulled into the filters of the air purifier, particles and gasses are killed off by radiation so that clean air can be reintroduced into the space.

Central Purification Systems

Be wary of any company or solution provider that claims to be a “silver bullet” to your indoor air quality problems.

This is not to say air-cleaning devices don’t work, but a thorough investigation should be done by IAQ experts to identify if it is the right solution for your building.

Common examples of advanced air-cleaning technology include:

  • Ionization Air Purifiers: An ionizing air purifier produced charged particles that attract and capture particles in the air. Groups of tiny particles stick together and become too heavy to remain airborne, or they get captured by the HVAC filtration system.
  • Ultraviolet Light Air Purifiers: Ultraviolet technology is often used in conjunction with HEPA air purifiers. An HVAC ultraviolet air purifier can kill tiny microorganisms, such as bacteria, using rays of UV light.
  • Electrostatic Air Purifiers: Many HVAC air purifiers also contain electrostatic fields to capture microscopic particles, including viruses. Electrostatic air purifiers clean the air by using static electricity. An electrostatic charge is generated by air flowing through a network of static-prone fibers. The static charge traps airborne particles until the filter is washed.
  • Carbon-Activated Filters: A carbon-activated filter is a good choice for VOC, smoke, and odor removal. These filters contain tiny absorbent pores to trap contaminants as they pass through the filter.

Service-Related Indoor Air Quality Solutions

Portable air purifiers are the most common means for cleaning the air indoors. They are typically installed in spaces with high indoor air pollution, increased occupancy rates, or machinery that increases particles and gasses.

Air purifiers often clean the air by pulling in polluted air and reintroducing it as fresh air through:

  • HVAC Repairs: When HVAC systems are not performing effectively there’s a good chance a part is broken or damaged. If your fan or belt isn’t working properly, the ability for your system to deliver clean air to your indoor spaces may be compromised. Get a technician to carry out a thorough investigation of what’s going on so that you can fix the root cause of the issue.
  • Duct-Cleaning: HVAC systems have multiple ducts that acquire dust and debris over time. When left uncleaned, these ducts can significantly impact the amount of fresh air
  • Source Control: The practice of removing pollutant-generating materials from your indoor spaces. This can mean cleaning up a chemical spill, doing a deep clean on upholstery, or properly sealing storage rooms and closets.
  • Filtration Upgrades: Sometimes, the filters in your HVAC system do not possess adequate filtration efficiency. Upgrading to a MERV-13 air filter, or the highest grade your HVAC system can handle, will result in improved removal of particulates and dust.


Not sure where to start?

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Important Update: Changes to qlair

We want to inform you about some important changes to qlair. To better serve our customers, MANN+HUMMEL is making organizational changes. Consequently, we will be sunsetting our qlair website and will no longer actively promote the qlair Clean Air Management Platform.

If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected], Subject: qlair Clean Air Management Information.

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