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Effect of Ventilation Systems and Air Filters on Decay Rates of Particles by Indoor Sources in an Occupied Townhouse.


pdf icon Effect of Ventilation Systems and Air Filters on Decay Rates of Particles by Indoor Sources in an Occupied Townhouse. (289 K)
Howard-Reed, C.; Wallace, L. A.; Emmerich, S. J.

Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 37, No. 38, 5295-5306, December 2003.

Keywords:

fine particles; coarse particles; deposition; filtration; residential indoor air quality; equations

Abstract:

Several studies have shown the importance of particle losses in real homes due to deposition and filtration; however, none have quantitatively shown the impact of using a central forced air fan and in-duct filter on particle loss rates. In an attempt to provide such data, we measured the deposition of particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 m in an occupied townhouse and also in an unoccupied test house. Experiments were run with three different sources (cooking with a gas stove, citronella candle, pouring kitty litter), with the central heating and air conditioning (HAC) fan on or off, and with two different types of in-duct filters (electrostatic precipitator and ordinary furnace filter). Particle size, HAC fan operation, and the electrostatic precipitator had significant effects on particle loss rates. The standard furnace filter had no effect. Surprisingly, the type of source (combustion vs. mechanical generation) and the type of furnishings (fully furnished including carpet vs. largely unfurnished including mostly bare floor) also had no measurable effect on the deposition rates of particles of comparable size. With the HAC fan off, average deposition rates varied from 0.3 h-1 for the smallest particle range (0.30.5 m) to 5.2 h-1 for particles greater than 10 m. Operation of the central HAC fan approximately doubled these rates for particles <5 m, and increased rates by 2 h-1 for the larger particles. An in-duct electrostatic precipitator increased the loss rates compared to the fan-off condition by factors of 510 for particles <2.5 m, and by a factor of 3 for 2.55.0 m particles. In practical terms, use of the central fan alone could reduce indoor particle concentrations by 2550%, and use of an in-duct ESP could reduce particle concentrations by 5585% compared to fan-off conditions.