1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 15, 2008

:289 Change Filters

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:289 EcoTip: Even if you don’t have a full scale service and cleaning for your heating system, you should change the filters. As the filter loads with dirt the air flow is reduced – which can waste energy. See EcoTip :110 for information on upgrading filters.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :110

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September 14, 2008

:258 Respirators

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:258 EcoTip: A variety of respirators are available to help protect against breathing harmful gases and particles during disaster recovery. In order for a respirator to be effective it must be used properly. Improper use of respirators can be dangerous. Not everyone is fit to wear tight fitting respirators. In order to pull the air through the cartridges – the wearer must have healthy lungs. Everyone wearing tight fitting respirator should have training, a medical evaluation and fit testing.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :256, :257

This is the third in a series of EcoTips about protecting oneself when remodeling and working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

For more information about worker respiratory protection training go to http://www.restcon.com/training.restcon.com/WRPA/index.php

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July 19, 2008

:201 Shower Filters

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:201 EcoTip: Shower filters with KDF (kinetic degradation fluxation) are good for chlorine removal since they work better with hot water. Activated carbon works better for cold water.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :195,

KDF is a zinc and copper alloy that reacts with chlorine transforming it into a chloride salt. The zinc and copper alloy metal helps control bacteria growth and can remove some heavy metals. Since KDF works well at higher temperatures, it outperforms other purification measures for shower and bath water, but the range of contaminants removed is somewhat limited.

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July 14, 2008

:196 Bacteria Contamination

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:196 EcoTip: Bacteria can contaminate and grow in water purification systems. They need to be properly cleaned when they are serviced to keep them in good working order.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :193, :194

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

Reverse Osmosis units should be tested and serviced on a regular basis. Annual testing of water quality is a good indicator of how well the unit is functioning and when the reverse osmosis membrane needs to be replaced. Poor water quality in some parts of the country means that membranes and filters need to be replaced more frequently there.

Servicing includes not only replacing filters as necessary but also cleaning and disinfecting the unit. The procedure involves disassembling the reverse osmosis system, cleaning the unit, flushing it with hydrogen peroxide, replacing the filters, and checking the unit’s performance.

– quoted from Warren Clough – a chemist with 50 years experience analyzing water quality and making water purification system recommendations. www.ozarkwaterandair.org

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July 12, 2008

:194 RO Waste Water

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:194 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis units use several gallons of water to process each gallon of drinking water. The process water is frequently routed down the drain – but it could easily be used to drip water plants, or for other non-drinking uses.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :172, :190, :191, :192, :193

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

The most valid criticism of RO is that anywhere from 3.5 to 5 gallons of water are rejected for every gallon of purified water produced. Many inexpensive, non certified RO systems have much higher rejection rates, are extremely wasteful, and still do not deliver verifiable contaminant reduction, the primary reason for using reverse osmosis.  

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July 11, 2008

:193 Reverse Osmosis

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:193 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis is a method for reducing the amount of dissolved solids in drinking water. It works best in combination with other water purification methods since it will not remove volatile organic compounds.

RO involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane with extremely fine pores.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

RO systems will remove a variety of ions and metals as well as some bacterial contaminants (cysts), but not coliform bacteria. RO systems will remove some arsenic (arsenic V but not the more toxic arsenic III). Reverse osmosis is well documented in the literature and in post-treatment testing proves to be effective in removing uranium, but NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] does not certify for uranium reduction, RO membranes eject the bulk of almost any dissolved and suspended contaminant including ionic, organic and silica compounds.

One criticism of reverse osmosis-filtered water is that it is stripped of essential minerals. Although this is true, it is a tradeoff for overall water quality. Most consumers do not depend on water for their nutritional needs but elect to take vitamin supplements or remineralize their RO water. Savvy water treatment companies use a crushed limestone (calcite) post-RO filter to impart a pleasant taste to the water. Parents sometimes express concern that RO removes fluoride added to municipal water for dental health purposes. This is true, but water fluoridation in general is a controversial issue and today most children under professional dental care receive whole-mouth fluoride treatments.

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July 10, 2008

:192 Carbon Water Filtration

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:192 EcoTip: Activated carbon in drinking water filters can help to remove chlorine and other volatile organic compounds. The length of time it takes the water to pass through the filter determines the amount of chemical that gets removed. The slower the water flow the greater the removal.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191

Be careful when interpreting the quality of a water purifier based on manufacturer’s claims. I was once asked to evaluate a purifier based on test results showing a 99% removal of chlorine. The problem was the manufacturer’s instructions said to install the filter so that it would deliver 1 gallon per minute, but the test was performed with the water being passed through the filter at a rate of 0.1 gallon per minute (ten times slower). The advertised test results were of course much better than what was being delivered to the client’s glass. To get the better results the client needed to slow the rate of filtration down to the test rate.

Chlorine removal performance is easy to test – you can visit any aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and purchase a sensitive chlorine test kit. 

If you want to compare chemical removal efficiency between purifiers before you purchase one, make sure the testing has been performed in compliance with National Sanitation Foundation standards. This will help make sure you are comparing units that have been tested in a consistent way.

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July 9, 2008

:191 Water Pre-Filter

Filed under: :191 Water Pre-Filter — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:25 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:191 EcoTip: A water purification pre-filter can help extend the life of your other filters by removing dirt and debris that will obstruct the other filters faster.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190 

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July 6, 2008

:188 Purification Media

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:188 EcoTip: A variety of types of purification media are available for portable air purifiers. Some people find they must use an alternative media because they do not tolerate the standard type of activated carbon, which is usually made from coconut shells.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested review: :179, :180, :181, :182, :183, :184, :185, :186, :187      

Available activated carbon alternatives include: wood carbon, lignite and zeolite. Some types of activated carbon are treated to help increase their ability to adsorb chemicals and odors. If you find you are not tolerating your air purification unit, try the you can try the following scientific approach to figuring out the problem by testing one thing at a time. (Caution, if you are severely sensitive (MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities, EI, environmentally ill …) – you should consult with your physician before trying the following):

1). You may want to do this outside and wearing old clothes and gloves since the activated carbon can leave black marks.

2). Remove and set the filters aside on a clean surface. If the unit is used, then this is a good time to plan on replacing filters and their media. If you want to reuse the filters make sure you note which way they came out so they can be reinstalled in the same way.   

3). Make sure the inside of the purifier is clean.

4). Close the unit – with the filters out – and smell it to see if it is okay. If it has an odor, or you don’t react to it well, then trying different media probably won’t help. You may want to try a different purifier.

5). If the unit smelled okay when it was turned off, then try turning it on and operating it without the filters. If it still seems okay, then trying different media may help.

6). Before inserting any of the media or filters – try smelling each of them to see if they are okay. If they aren’t okay outside of the unit, they won’t be okay inside the unit when it is running.

7). Insert the filters one at a time. Turn the unit on and see how it is. If it is okay add the next filter. Keep doing this unit you find a filter that is not acceptable for you. Remove the offensive filter and keep adding the rest until the unit is operating with filters you tolerate.

8). Decide what substitute filters to try base on which ones are not acceptable for you.

Allermed is a manufacturer of a variety of air purification devices for people with chemical sensitivities. They have a variety of types of filters, activated carbon and zeolite available. They also have stainless steel purifiers for those that don’t tolerate plastic housings.

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July 3, 2008

:185 Filter Efficiency

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:185 EcoTip: As filters load with particles they become more efficient at removing smaller and smaller particles. The amount of air passing through them is also reduced. Deciding when to replace filters is a balancing act between airflow and efficiency. Usually you should plan on replacing filters when the air flow is reduced about 50%. Quality pre-filters cleaned regularly will help protect the more expensive HEPA filter so that it may only need to be replaced every year or so.

You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for telling when air flow is reduced by 50%. If the manufacture doesn’t tell you – then I will in tomorrows 1:5:10:365 EcoTip.

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