Science Inventory

EFFECT OF CENTRAL FANS AND IN-DUCT FILTERS ON DEPOSITION RATES OF ULTRAFINE AND FINE PARTICLES IN AN OCCUPIED TOWNHOUSE

Citation:

Wallace, L A., C. HowardReed, AND S. J. Emmerich. EFFECT OF CENTRAL FANS AND IN-DUCT FILTERS ON DEPOSITION RATES OF ULTRAFINE AND FINE PARTICLES IN AN OCCUPIED TOWNHOUSE. ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT 38(3):405-413, (2004).

Impact/Purpose:

The main objective is to investigate human exposure to fine and coarse particles (and PAHs) from several important sources such as cooking, woodsmoke, and household cleaning. A second objective is to investigate the observed increased personal exposure (compared to indoor air concentrations measured by a fixed monitor) to particles: the so-called "personal cloud," that has been observed in many occupational and some environmental studies. A third objective is to incorporate the findings into a mass-balance indoor air quality model.

Description:

Airborne particles are implicated in morbidity and mortality of certain high-risk subpopulations. Exposure to particles occurs mostly indoors, where a main removal mechanism is deposition to surfaces. Deposition can be affected by the use of forced- air circulation through ducts or by air filters. In this study we calculate the deposition rates of particles in an occupied house due to forced-air circulation and the use of in-duct filters such as electrostatic precipitators (ESP) and fibrous mechanical filters (MECH). Deposition rates are calculated for 128 size categories ranging from 0.01 um to 2.5 um. More than 110 separate "events" (mostly cooking, candle burning, and pouring kitty litter) were used to calculate deposition rates for four conditions: fan off, fan on, MECH installed, ESP installed. For all cases, deposition rates varied in a "U"-shaped distribution with the minimum occurring near 0.1 um, as predicted by theory. The use of the central fan with no filter or with a standard furnace filter increased deposition rates by amounts on the order of 0.1 h-1 to 0.5 h-1. The MECH increased deposition rates by up to 2 h-1 for ultrafine and fine particles but was ineffective for particles in the 0.1 um to 0.5 um range. The ESP increased deposition rates by 2 h-1 to 3 h-1 and was effective for all sizes. However, the ESP lost efficiency after several weeks and needed regular cleaning to maintain its effectiveness. A reduction of particle levels by 50% or more could be achieved by use of the ESP when operating properly. Since the use of fans and filters reduces particle concentrations from both indoor and outdoor sources, it is more effective than the approach recommended by certain agencies of reducing ventilation by closing windows or insulating homes more tightly. For persons at risk, use of an air filter may be an effective method of reducing exposure to particles.

This study was partially funded by an EPA Internal Grant to the first author. It has been reviewed and cleared for publication. Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this paper in order to specify the experimental procedure adequately. Such identification is not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor is it intended to imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 01/01/2004
Record Last Revised: 07/25/2008
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 81406

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

HUMAN EXPOSURE AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DIVISION

EXPOSURE MEASUREMENTS & ANALYSIS BRANCH