Updated Winter 2022/2023
PCO Air Purifiers – Which Ones Reduce Mold and Which Ones are a Scam
Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is a technology that breaks down mold, VOCs as well as some pathogens.
My interest in these air purifiers comes from first-hand accounts of this benefiting homes with low levels of mold and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and from the studies showing the eradication of mold and mycotoxins.
I am really excited about this technology as something that can safely break down mycotoxins and odors. Some people may be interested in its effects on breaking down viruses and bacteria as well (including SARS-2).
What is PCO?
In photocatalytic oxidation, UV light hits a catalyst, usually titanium dioxide, creating hydroxyl radicals (OH) and superoxide radical anions (O2–). These molecules bind with and break apart pollutants into harmless molecules.
Best for Mold, Not VOCs
Right from the first version of this article which I published in 2017, I qualified PCO technology as best for mold reduction, not for VOC reduction. I have a different post on the best air purifiers for VOCs.
The reason is that in real-life circumstances the chemical breakdown of VOCs is not a simple linear process. Byproducts like aldehydes can be (and often are) produced as an intermediary product of PCO.
With a high amount of hydroxyl radicals in a closed chamber experiment it will almost certainly break everything down (with enough time) into harmless molecules, but in a home with relatively high VOCs, the results could look different.
Brands Under Fire
It has not surprised me (or really concerned me) that big brands have come under fire for some of their claims. What did shock me when I did the initial research is that smaller air purifier companies get away with outrageously false claims since no regulatory body even has time to get to them.
I would say most companies are exaggerating claims. My focus was on the technology itself, and what studies based on that technology show us, and to remember that there are only a few types of air purifier technologies out there – their claims need to fall into one of a handful of categories.
What About HEPA?
HEPA filters do capture some mold spores and this article does include filters that include both PCO technology and HEPA, though the main focus of this article is on PCO.
If you’re looking at HEPA filters that don’t include PCO, and filters that help with high levels of VOCs, the post on filters for VOCs will be more relevant.
My recommendation is based on the most affordable and effective products that I have found. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission through affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
1. Vornado – The Best of Inexpensive PCO Air Purifier (What I’m Using)
I use the Vornado air purifier. The Vornado PCO375 and PCO575 are the PCO air purifiers with the best value. (At around 350 and 400 dollars, respectively).
They have true HEPA and activated carbon in addition to UV light and titanium dioxide. Most PCO units are much pricier or don’t include all three air purification methods.
True HEPA and activated carbon capture dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, bacteria, mold spores, dust mites, and odors including VOCs.
PCO and carbon are the main technologies used to reduce odors and VOCs. (Ozone can as well, but it is very risky, I have a post all about ozone).
PCO actually breaks down molecules including molds and mycotoxins. I like that it has all three main air purification methods for a good price.
Why I chose this unit:
- The PCO component has true UV and titanium dioxide
- Respected brand name
- Noticeably brings down odors in new apartment and new cargo trailer
- Has a 10-year warranty
- Replacement parts are reasonably priced ($25 bulb every year, $35 titanium dioxide screen every 5 years – for the PCO related parts)
- Does not put out ozone
What I don’t like about it:
What I don’t like about it is that the unit itself offgasses a little bit (I am extremely sensitive). Not everyone thinks so or would notice this. After two weeks I found it to be good. I’m happy with it offgassing within two weeks. (Anyway, all air purifiers offgas a little).
The other drawback is that the amount of titanium dioxide is quite minimal so it may not be producing as many hydroxyl radicals as other PCO units. I am going to go with Molekule if I try another brand of PCO air purifier (more on them below).
Model 375 versus 575
The difference between the two sizes is that the PCO575 has a lower low speed and a higher high speed. The PCO575 has 2x the HEPA and 2x the activated carbon of the PCO375.
They both have the same PCO technology – so if you want to increase the effectiveness of the OH molecules in a large space you would want two of the PCO375 instead of one PCO575.
The 375 has a 113 CFM on high, 28 on low.
The 575 moves 156 CFM and is advertised for 258 sq ft., which would get you about 5 ACH in that room.
Buy the Vornado PCO375 and PCO575 from Amazon.
Some other PCO units are more or less the same unit re-branded: Continental Fan CX1000, Catalytic Pure Air, Field Control Trio / Sun Pure SP-20C. They seem to use a very similar PCO catalyst style to the Vornado with a titanium dioxide plated metal screen.
What are Air Exchanges Per Hour (ACH) – Air exchange per hour is how many times you are “replacing” the air in the room per hour, this is a key area of comparison with air purifiers.
ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) recommends a minimum of 4 ACH for patient rooms in hospitals, 5 for intensive care units, and 25 for operating rooms. For the purposes of those extremely sensitive to mold and VOCs, we want about 5-10 air exchanges per hour.
To maximize how much air in the room the air purifier can process, put it in a central location.
How do You Calculate the ACH From a Unit’s Specs – You always want to find the CFM of the unit. The CFM is the capacity of the unit to move air – how much air it moves through the machine. CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute. You need the CFM to calculate ACH. I made two calculators to calculate ACH from CFM and CFM needed from the room size and desired ACH.
2. GermGuardian – The Best Small & Inexpensive Unit
Another brand that is very affordable and also incorporates HEPA, carbon, and PCO is GermGaurdian.
I have heard of people using it in trailers and being happy with it. At $89 it’s a steal. And it has 5.5 ACH in 171 sq ft.
But this is small and simple, I would only use it in tiny spaces if you can’t afford something better/bigger.
Buy the GermGuardian on Amazon.
3. Molekule – Top Overall Pick
If I had to go back and pick one right now, I would choose Molekule.
This is a slightly different technology called PECO.
Here is a summary of their studies – very promising results on eradicating mold. The data they showed me showed it worked better on mold than PCO.
Their newest filter option also contains HEPA and some carbon.
This company has well-respected big names behind the design. The inventor of Molekule is the person who discovered PCO. He has an impressive resume.
I will be trying this machine out as I think it is very promising.
The warranty started as a 1-year warranty but now it is a 2-year limited warranty. The company has been around since 2016.
Molekule Air Pro
The Pro is the biggest model, it’s is advertised as cleaning up to 1000 sq ft. You will get 1 ACH in a room of 1000 sq ft with 8.5 ft ceilings.
It goes for $1,199.
The Molekule Pro does come with a basic particulate filter but that is not the primary function of this unit. That is likely to keep the other filters and components free of dust. If you want to add more particulate filtration they do now offer a HEPA filter for the Pro.
The replacement filters for the Pro are $150 which lasts about 6 months, so replacement filter costs are high.
This is their original model. They state it cleans up to 600 sq ft. You get 1 ACH in a room of 600 sq ft with 8.5 ft ceilings.
It goes for $998.
The replacement filters are about $200 per year.
The new Molekule Mini provides 1 air exchange per hour in 250 sq feet. They offer a HEPA filter option for the Mini.
It sells for $499.
Which Size Should You Choose?
In a room that is 15 by 15, the biggest model would get you 4 ACH. That is a good number of air exchanges to aim for if you want a high level of air purification.
Here is my calculator that helps you size an air purifier for your room based on how many times you want to overturn the air in an hour.
If you can afford it, and if design is important to you, Molekule with HEPA is my top pick.
Buy from the Molekule website or Amazon.
1. Air Oasis – A Review
The Air Oasis Ionic Air
The Ionic Air has three components, one, a PCO component – germicidal UV light and a catalyst that is made of different metals to produce hydroxyl radicals; two, a bi-polar ionizer; and three it produces ozone (either through the UV light or via the ionizer).
The 3000G3 model is rated for 3,000 sq ft and only moves 11 CFM of air. 3,000 sq ft at 11 CFM is 0.02 air exchanges an hour. That is very little air movement. (I am using 8 ft ceilings in my calculations of CFM to ACH). But that’s not important for the ionizer and ozone components.
Technology – PCO
The company states that the PCO process creates “ionized hydroperoxides”. I have seen other PCO air purifier companies make this claim. This seems to me a confusing way to describe PCO which primarily produces hydroxyl radicals and secondarily produces superoxide radical anions (O2–).
Whenever I’m reviewing an air purifier I always keep in mind that there are only a small handful of possible technologies they can use. When it sounds like they have invented something new it means it’s time to look into their claims and see which of the few main technologies they are really using.
Technology – Biopolar Ionzation
A bipolar ionizer produces negative and positively charged ions that can cling to pollutants, dropping them to the ground where they can be cleaned and they might be able to break apart (chemically) some types of pollutants or biologicals. This type of ionizer can sometimes be advertised as cold plasma ionization (source).
Technology – Ozone
The air purifier also relies on low levels of ozone for air cleaning technology. You can have one made without the ozone production component but that seems to be a key component of its air cleaning abilities.
I personally do not consider any level of ozone, unless it is minuscule, to be safe to use in occupied spaces.
Final Thoughts on Air Oasis Ionic Air
I know this brand because mold doctors promote it. I was surprised when I dug into it to see how little air moves air through it, and that it gives off ozone. It was not approved by CARB at the time of writing the original version of this article (2017). It is now meeting California levels of safe ozone (CARB). (Though the upper limits of ozone in CARB are too high for me, personally).
Since the time I first wrote this article, it seems the company is much more clear that this is an ionizer. How much air it moves is not that central to an ionizer (but is for the PCO component). I’m a little wary of bipolar ionization which Dr. Marwa Zaatari, Mechanical Engineer, claims is not necessarily effective.
It has a 3-year warranty and the replacement parts are $80 every 2 years.
Air Oasis iAdaptAir
The newer iAdaptAir is similar but claims to produce zero ppm of ozone. This is something I would be more likely to try.
It contains a HEPA filter, a carbon filter, PCO technology, and a bipolar ionizer.
Most ionizers give off ozone but it is possible to produce ions with minuscule ozone that does not register against background levels.
It comes in three different sizes for $399, $599, and $799.
The small, covers 250 sq ft and has a CFM of 58 (2 ACH per hour), the medium, covers 550 sq ft with 151 CFM (2 ACH per hour), and the large covers 850 sq ft with 237 CFM (2 ACH per hour).
This is really a great little unit if you want HEPA, carbon, PCO and you want (or don’t mind) the ionizer.
Air Oasis Versus Molekule – A Comparison
I personally would not use the Air Oasis Ionic Air with ozone so I will compare Molekule to the ozone-free iAdaptAir.
The main comparison that I can’t quantify is the strength of the PCO component – just how many hydroxyl radicals do they produce. Molekule has a good reputation for working well even before the HEPA option was added.
On the other hand, iAdaptAir has a really good value for what it provides. The only downside for me is I’m not a big fan of bipolar ionization as I have my doubts about its effectiveness and I tend to be sensitive to ionizers.
Both are good choices, however.
Here’s the comparison:
- Modified PCO technology
- HEPA filter is optional
- No ozone
- CFM ~80
- Costs $998
- Replacement filters $200 per year
- Modified PCO technology
- True HEPA filtration for particulates
- Some carbon for absorbtion of VOCs
- Bipolar ionizer
- No ozone
- CFM 151
- Costs $599
- Replacement filters $100 per year
2. Airocide Air Purifier Review
Another popular PCO machine that has been around for a while is Airocide. The APS 300 has a CFM of 40.
I like that the website has studies confirming that it doesn’t give off ozone. They used to have a short case study on breaking down mycotoxins when this article was first published in 2017 (though I can no longer locate it at the end of 2021).
It looks cool which is a plus.
The claims about removing dust, dust mites, and allergens do not seem all that accurate (especially after seeing what Molekule just went through with the FDA suit) since PCO machines do not filter particulate pollutants (according to the EPA).
It had a 5-year warranty when I first wrote this article, now it is a 2-year warranty. It costs $100 a year in replacement parts.
Why did I rule it out for myself: Most of the PCO machines do not include HEPA and activated carbon like the Vornado. This is a lot more expensive than Vornado or Molekule, but doesn’t move as much air.
FDA Approval of PCO Machines
The FDA approvals I have found are one for a PCO machine involving titanium dioxide (it proved to destroy some bacteria, viruses, and mold) for specific commercial uses.
The Airocide, Odorox, and Molekule Air Pro all have FDA approval as type 2 medical devices for use in hospitals. The first two use titanium dioxide and UV technology.
The FDA approval cannot be stretched to make safety or health claims on any device that deviates from this technology or has unknown additional technologies.
HiTech claims to be FDA approved, I can find no evidence of that. Anyone can search for FDA approvals here.
Adverse Reactions to PCO Hydroxyl Generators
I have heard of people having bad reactions to HiTech. I have heard only one bad reaction to Airocide, and a couple of bad reactions to AirOasis both the ozone and non-ozone types.
I do not know what accounts for these bad reactions. It does not appear that there is an ozone issue (apart from AirOasis). Dr. Daniel Cagua Koo has also noted that some patients simply don’t do well around this technology.
Since writing I have heard of some bad reactions to Molekule with about 50% of sensitive folks buying it being happy with it, and the other half not, and one bad reaction to Germ Guardian.
It is possible that PCO is creating harmful byproducts in high VOC buildings.
If you are in high VOCs I would focus on a filter that has a lot of carbon like these. If you have MCS focus on these options I review here.
My interest here is for a house with extremely low VOC levels and already extremely low levels of mold. And the hope here is to keep the air as low in mold as possible.
I would love to hear from more people who have tried these other brands. Let me know if you have had good results or a bad reaction to a PCO machine.
Do PCO Machines Give off a Burning Smell
According to Airocide, the UV bulbs themselves emit a bit of a burning smell at first. They burn theirs in for two days, but sensitive people can smell it for up to a week.
The Vornado PCO had a very slight burnt smell at first which seemed like the smell of carbon.
Airocide made a statement that mold does not produce a smell when broken down by OH molecules.
HiTech states that the burning smell is mold/mycotoxins breaking down. I have found no evidence for this claim. A HiTech user also stated that the UV lights have burnt right through the “reactor pads”. This is consistent with a theory that the UVC lights are burning the “reactor pads” and causing a smell.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
Did you find this post helpful? If so you can buy me a coffee to support the research behind this blog. Thank you!
This post is not sponsored.
This post was written with the technical assistance of an electrical engineer, though the opinions and conclusions are my own.
Sara Marks says
I am researching air purifiers and had just read on Surviving Toxic Mold (https://www.survivingtoxicmold.com/prevent_toxic_air_with_purifiers?) where she recommends against all purifiers that use Hydroxyl technology, and then I came to your page where you highly recommend it! 😛 This is so confusing!
I don’t consider that a trustworthy site, since the author doesn’t have qualifications in this field. All of my air purification posts were written with a engineer.
Would a PCO purifier attached to your HVAC unit be a good option? Does this type of unit even exist? We have a large home with tall ceilings and an in-duct unit would seem to be more efficient than buying 6+ Vornados. The hope is that the media filters would then catch the debris. Does it work this way though? I’m having a hard time researching PCO whole home/in-duct units since everyone seems to call the technology something different.
I just bought our first Vornado PCO575 for the master bedroom and I love it so far. But I’m wondering about options for the remainder of the home. I’m thankful I never bought into the HiTechs. I received one of those $6000+ quotes.
There are whole house PCO attached to central HVAC yeah. But HVAC is not my expertise. The engineer who I work with uses Lennox brand and he likes it.
I bought a pco device because it was the sold to be so great for mycotoxins when I moved out of mold and first began my recovery. It made me very sick very quickly. Seeing most of us who are suffering from mold toxcity have some sensitivity to chemicals, they don’t seem like wise choice for anyone. Now I’m incredibly sensitive to formaldehyde which seems to be one byproduct they leave behind. Chemical sensitivity or not, it’s not exactly a safe byproduct. Also, may want to look up what’s sprayed on the bulbs. The ones I bought, you’re not supposed to touch the bulbs which is actually impossible when installing the bulbs but never advised to use gloves. Before I turned the sucker on, I thought it was really bothering me. It really bothered me when I was installing the bulbs. Then, someone asked me what they spray the bulbs with. I said I don’t know. They the question was ghee Week why are they not installing the bulbs prior shipping. I again said I don’t know. They said what they spray on bulbs but I don’t remember. Let me look. Their eyes got huge as saucers as they knew exactly what this chemical was. They then informed me this particular byproduct is very toxic, used in explosives and when one company they personally know used them, a full hazmat suit needed to be worn. And there’sa lot of red tape around this chemical hence why they were having them shipped in from China and not installing theirselves. I don’t know if every pco uses the same product on the bulbs but the one I did have it.
In my experience, the best air purifier for mold is a hepa air purifer and there is absolutely 0 substitution for remediation. My doc actually worked with Dr. Rhea and very familiar with MCS. My MCS friend started seeing him. Despite a few diff scenario where she had toxic exposure even including 9-11, my doc told her it was the toxic mold exposure that dysregulated her immune system ands did her in. Mold CAN make you chemical sensitive and majority of the time, begins after a very toxic mold exposure.
1. There is nothing on the bulbs, that is for all UV bulbs, florescent and halogen bulbs because your fingers deposit oils on the bulbs which can cause them to fail. It’s *maybe* possible that some smaller sketchy companies are putting something on the bulbs but that is definitely not the norm. Stick with the good companies here like Molekule and Vornado.
2. It can raise formaldehyde if you have signifiant offgassing, I would use these when you have basically no offgassing.
3. Just because some sensitive people react to them does not make them bad. In fact many super mold sensitive people have benefited at lot. When people because super MCS they can react to all kinds of non harmful things like cotton, wool, concrete, minerals etc, which doesn’t make them bad but it might not be good for you.
Dr. G says
Let me start by saying thank you. I am a health care provider and work with people with mold and autoimmune issues and it’s still so confusing to stay on top of everything. I got sucked into the air doctor marketing myself- your comments were so educating. I was curious about your thoughts on the whole home versions of these products such as the Reme halo? https://rgf.com/products/food/reme-halo-whole-home-in-duct-air-purifier/
I have been told by hvac people this is the best way to go for mycotoxin and mold with additional smaller freestanding filters as needed . I do understand it is not HEPA and there is no charcoal for VOCs but am curious as to your thoughts. We have to replace our furnace and for another $500 it seems reasonable to help reduce mold in our home. Thanks again for all of your work!!!!
RGF has a newer Halo LED model that we are looking into. The LED version emits zero ozone and only runs when your furnace blower is running. I’m really curious about this model too. Would the LED Halo plus in room air purifier units with HEPA and Charcoal be a good overall solution? I do not understand the technology well enough to make an informed decision.
Have you looked into the airpura uv600? After a ton of research my spouse chose that one, but I don’t think she considered the ozone potential of UV. Now I am stumped how to find out if it is putting ozone into the air. Thank you for your amazing website, research, etc. I wish you were still doing consulting as we are weighing the pros and cons of building a log home vs. the hardy plank exterior home option. I haven’t even started researching the toxicity of hardy plank but it makes me think it must be toxic as it presents so far from natural.
I mention Airpura here https://www.mychemicalfreehouse.net/2020/05/the-best-air-purifiers-for-those-with-mcs.html with UV you just need to know the bulb type to make sure it’s non ozone producing.
Leisa W says
You mention briefly the ability of PCO to produce formaldehyde – this would be enough for me not to purchase the purifier. However, is the suggestion here that the combination of the HEPA filter with the PCO (in the one unit) captures the formaldehyde that the PCO produces? How concerned should we be about the formaldehyde?
The PCO doesn’t produce formaldehyde on its own. It’s breaking down VOCs into smaller molecules, some of those smaller molecules are aldehydes. That is why I would not want to use it in a high VOC home. No, HEPA won’t help with that, carbon is also not the best sorbent material for aldehydes.
oops. I forgot to mention the airpura uv600 is all metal housing and doesn’t offgas which I really like.
Do you have any input on the Puraclenz (https://puraclenz.com/) brand, using the photocatalytic oxidation technology? They are more affordable than the Molekule and others you discuss. They also only use the PCO technology. I’ve scanned their lab reports and they look legit. Company was founded in 2020. Thanks.
Oh yeah, looks good. Good price too, I’ll probably add them to the post.
S. St Aubin says
I would love to see your review and results of any tests you do on Puraclenz units also!
Great. Thank you. I am new to this technology and don’t know a lot about it for reducing mold spores. I used to have an ozone one that I would use sparingly and then open all the doors and window etc. But I’d prefer something with the PCO technology for obvious reasons, so long as it’s legit. So I second St. Auben’s comment. Thanks!
We purchased several Puraclenz units, and an ERMI test proved that these DO NOT work to clear mold. We completed mold remediation last year, but unfortunately ERMI tests kept coming back positive for mold. We do not have any water leaks or visible signs of mold, so we’re not sure what to do. So we ran these purifiers hoping that they would improve things. Unfortunately, they did not. We did an ERMI test before and after, and our most recent ERMI test actually came back WORSE than the previous one. We ran these purifiers for at least 6 weeks. We purchased three of the P750 as well as one P3000 and ran them 24/7. Also, these purifiers are LOUD, especially the P3000. The P750 is much quieter, but you can still hear it.
I wouldn’t expect any PCO machine to improve a ERMI score (or it might improve randomly because that testing is really inaccurate). When you have mold in the walls then you have to find and correct that. PCO will make the most noticeable difference in a house that is already great and someone is still very sensitive. A lot of people also report it helping with mold toxins that come in from outside, so much lower levels of mold than in a moldy house.
I want to buy one of the air cleaners you write about, Specifically, I want to get one of the ones that break down mould (PCO or PECO).
I am also very Electromagnetically sensitive and I noticed that the Molekule units I looked at had WiFi.
So my questions are:
1) Do you know if the WiFi chip can be easily removed from the Molekule units? If it cannot be done easily, can it be done at all? (I have removed WiFi chips from a laptop but cannot remove theses chips from smaller devices).
2) Of all the units you recommend, which would be the best for a person who wants to break down mould and also have no WiFi in the unit?
Thanks for all the help you give to so many people!
EMFs is not something I know enough about or cover.
I had EXACTLY the same concern about EMFs and their Wifi when looking at the Molekule. I sent them an email. We’ll see what they say.
Unfortunately I cannot tell you if the onboard wifi of Molekule removable. As an electrical engineer myself, I have avoided contributing to the IoT my whole career – I think it’s absurd, honestly, because it hasn’t been studied enough. I will say that it is more often than not wifi gets embedded directly in the chip that runs the system. So in more and more devices, you cannot remove the wifi without destroying the function of the device.
Please let me know if you find out anything in this regard, I’ll update you when / if I get a response from Molekule.
Here is the response Molekule gave me:
“At this time, we do not have Molekule air purifiers that don’t have any Bluetooth or Wifi; however, we think that is a great suggestion and can definitely see the value in it. We’re going to give it some serious consideration and see how we can effectively introduce it for future product and upgrade.”
I passed along the link to this post for their consideration
still looking for info on the air doctor i don’t see anything.
Ditto. The Air Doctor is promoted by lots of health and wellness bloggers and people in that circle. Would love to see it at least mentioned.
It’s my post on HEPA-Carbon filters that covers that type of filter. But in order to make the list it needs to contain a lot of carbon. That’s the only way it’s effective against VOCs. Air doctor looks like it only contains 2.2 lbs of carbon which is very little. It doesn’t make the cut. On the other hand if you only want HEPA and don’t need the carbon then just go for any brand with true HEPA, the cheapest one will do (as long as the CFM is adequate).
Corinne, could you possibly clarify something in your write-up of the Molekule?
In this section here:
“So the regular-sized Molekule would still be insufficient in a 250 sq ft room in terms of what I need.
Even in a 150 sq ft room, the original Molekule cannot provide 5 air exchanges per hour. I would stick with the regular-sized Molekule for almost any sized room.”
Apologies… I didn’t quite understand which Molekule model you were recommending – is the regular Molekule the same as the original? And would the regular Molekule work for any sized room, OR would the regular Molekule be insufficient? (Or to put it another way, which Molekule model would you recommend for almost any sized room?)
I’m thinking about getting a Molekule Air (which appears to be the “regular” size/up to 600 ft,, neither mini/up to 250 nor Pro/up to 1000ft) to use in a small/average size bedroom).
Would so appreciate your input; your reviews are very helpful. Thanks!
I do react to Air Oasis the small metal one, I use it when I’m not home
I do NOT recommend Molekule, especially if you are chemically sensitive or suffer from Mast Cell. Their claims are false and their filters smell terribly of chemical off-gassing
All filters have a chemical smell that is part of plastic manufactured things with a motor. The claims of PCO/PECO are not overall false.
Any updates in the last couple years? Do you still recommend the Molekule units? And do you know if the PCOS technology is the same in all the models? Wondering which model would be most helpful. Also, have you seen any information on whether the Molekule machines destroy mycotoxins? Thanks so much for your information!
Could a PCO machine be used inside a room with books laid out open to help decontaminate them? I am wondering about books that do not have VISIBLE mold on them but were in a moldy house.
It might help a little. The OH molecules don’t go very far.
Steve Gibbs says
I have been talking with Tim Mitchell of Asiet in Texas. I drove to Las Vegas last year and me the team and sat in front of the Asiet 7700 mini for about 45 minutes or maybe more. I was impressed with the machines, and they claim they are being used in hospitals etc.
$1950 is the 2022 price. Can’t afford one,but do you have any input on these?
overpriced and I don’t like the design of the UV so close to the polyester filters as it tends to burn through as I understand it. It’s kind of a “homemade” look to it. I would go with Molekule or Puraclenz.
Donna Vogel says
Corrine, I searched but I am not seeing any posts or comments on ASIET Air PCO products. Are you familiar and do you have any thoughts? Have you updated or checked backed on the Hi-Tech PCO product?
I was told that Ray used to work for ASIET and that they were suing him for copying their machine. I’m not a fan of Hi Tech in any way, I’ve never been more horrified by a company before.
Are you familiar with ActivePure? A friend just bought a unit for his house and says he’s impressed. I looked it up and it sounds impressive but I’m sceptical. They claim to have FDA tests proving it kills Covid in the air and on surfaces. Just wondering if you were familiar with the products.
I’m assuming that is PCO but they are going to great lengths to not say that so I would not go with a company that is not transparent. If it’s PCO it’s no more magical than the other options here (and many more). Ask about ozone but I wouldn’t trust a company that isn’t transparent personally.
William Croft says
Mold issues must always first be remediated at the source of the moisture and molded surfaces. It must be completely removed and leaks stopped.
PCO is not a ‘solution’ to mold issues. Only if your house is totally clean of mold, and you are sensitive to mold spores in the outside air, then yes PCO can reduce particle loads in the house.
Totally agree with this. I go to extremes though. Since 90+ % of buildings have some mold in them, it’s still a help in most homes.
Corinne, can you give your opinion on the Air Oasis iAdapt? I know you said you’d be more likely to try this than the G3 – do you have any other thoughts on it now? It looked like a good option to me as it has the PCO technology, bipolar ionisation, true HEPA and carbon filtration. But it doesn’t produce ozone. Whereas the G3 doesn’t have the HEPA and carbon filters and does produce ozone.
The CFM seems low on the smallest iAdapt model though so I wonder if sizing up would be useful as their medium and large iAdapts have higher CFM’s.
Have you reviewed or looked into the BlueAir air purifiers?
Would also be very interested in your review of the BlueAir units!
I’m unsure about those electrostatic filters I would need to do a lot of research into that alongside the engineer who has helped me with all the air purifier articles.
is the “air doctor” a good filter?
what about “air doctor” and “IQ” air?
more in the post on air purifiers for VOCs https://www.mychemicalfreehouse.net/2020/05/the-best-air-purifiers-for-those-with-mcs.html
do they not filter mold at all?
Anything with true HEPA will help capture spores. The next things to look at after that is the CFM to see how much air it’s actually moving. And then you can look at the charcoal amount which is more for VOC’s.
Paul Conte says
Any thoughts on the Lennox PureAir HVAC filtration. Lennox states this uses UVA + titanium dioxide.
Thanks for your very informative work
Having a horrible Chloropicrin issue from tent fumigation residual spilled into planter and permeated into house over the course of months. Planter soil removed, all carpets removed and all personal items (sofas, clothes, chairs) removed and issue persists. New HVAC with Lennox pure air PCO / carbon merv 16 filter. Carbon is clearly unmatched for chloropicrin’s heavy molecule. Furnace allows for fan speed control (when AC is not on) for 350cfm, 700cfm, 1050cfm or 1400cfm.
Is PCO more effective with longer dwell time or better moving a larger amount of air changes?
Does flow rate effect formaldehyde production, and if so what is best?
PCO does need dwell time to really break things down but it also needs to move enough air to make a difference. This is why a lot of industrial hygienists are not that impressed. I can only speak to the stand-alone units and I’m not a big fan of using them for VOCs because of the unknown interactions.
Have you heard of Puradigm? They use pco with a patented reflective process that they claim emits millions more ions than competitors. They have studies done by Kansas state university. I just purchased their HVAC purifier and my husbands chronic cough seems to have improved, but I’d love to hear what you think. It ends up being more expensive than Air Oasis bc their pco cell lasts a year and Air Oasis pco cell lasts 2 years.
Rhea Weiss says
Hi Corinne, I bought the Vornado P300 last year based on your rec, and recently looked it up again on Amazon (while looking for filter replacements) and saw that it has gotten pretty mixed reviews and looks like this model has been discontinued? Wondering if you’ve heard anything about that. I’m debating whether to buy filters or just invest in a new one.
I didn’t notice much difference with it but I’m still pretty mold sick.
I just looked on amazon and i see the reviews. Maybe they have improved it. I still liked it and I know some others who did but I don’t think it will make much of a impact in a home that is making someone mold sick. I think molekule has more of an ability to use PCO technology, and if you wanted to go towards more sorbant material for VOCs then I would go to the other post on air purifiers for offgassing. But I still like the Vornado as a little bit of everything for a low price.
Jennifer Davis says
Corinne, I read that it takes 6 stand alone air purifiers to do the amount of air purification of one device attached to your HVAC. I have been looking at the PureAir air purification system that attaches to your hvac, has a merv 16 filter and PCO so that the mold that builds up on the filter does not release mycotoxins, and it produces no ozone. Corinne, what is your opinion ?
And I am also considering going to a ductless system and having it professionally cleaned once a year. I just do not know enough to make this decision and need help. I have CIRS and am extremely allergic to mold. Corinne and others, what is your opinion of which would be more susceptible to mold: a ductless system that is cleaned often, or a ducted hvac that has a PCO air purification filteration device? Thank you so much for your opinions, I really need help with this.
Certainly a ductless minisplit is easier to clean and keep mold free!
We have been living in a “green building” apartment with solar panels, very tight envelope, an ERV, and Daikin “mini-splits ductless” units. In no way do these prevent mold growth. The tight building envelope keeps in moisture that finds its way into the apartment. The Daikin units only RECYCLE the air through ducts to the outside heating/cooling unit and back into the apartment. “Ductless” is a lie. Over 12 years, where the landlord did not clean the ducts, sterilize the machines, nor clean the filters as recommended, the machines are dirty, spew ever increasing amounts of dust and particulates, and are toxic mold contaminated. The tight envelope along with the recycled air, means you have to find some other way to bring in fresh air.
The ERV is another problem. It does not cool down nor warm up the air from the outside as claimed. In the winter, we have measured air temps as low as 19 degrees F coming in and in the summer as high as 90+ degrees coming in. Especially in the summer the air smells just like the pollutants outside. And to make matters worse, the ERV was flooded in 2012 from Super Storm Sandy. After water sitting in the ERV for 12.5 days, and then raining water down into the bedroom through the attic access when the power came back on, the maintenance man refused to do any treatment for mold or sanitizing of the unit other than drying it with rags and changing the filters. It also is contaminated with mold.
These tight building envelopes leave the “green” buildings highly susceptible to water and water vapor intrusion which, in our case is bringing at least 3 types of invisible toxic mold spores and mycotoxins. The Daikin “mini-splits” just move the air around and recirculate the pollutants, mold spores, and the ever accumulating particulates through the apartment. There is no way to properly ventilate the apartment through these systems, as nothing appropriately vents out. There is no visible external venting route except from the bathroom fan – which does not do so independently – it is some how connected to the ERV and will only turn on when the ERV is on. No properly venting stove fan.
The “mini-splits” need to have very frequent cleaning of the flimsy filters. They need to be vacuumed. They need to be properly cleaned and sterilized every year or so. And they need to have their ducts replaced often, because the filters do not filter out small particulates. When we had air testing done the major particulate was dander. We were confused, because we don’t have any animals. It was human dander that the machine kept recirculating – sucking in the fine particulates and spewing them out over and over for the last 12 years.
Even if our building had not been suffering from the water and water vapor intrusion caused by the builders not directing water away from the foundation, not maintaining the buildings and grounds to keep water away from the foundation (like the gutters not working – not steering water away from the building), these other issues caused by the tight envelope, the recycling “mini-split” NOT DUCTLESS systems, and an ERV that brings in bad air – would have made anyone sick too. Never in a million years should these tight building envelopes, ERV, and lack of ventilation to the outside be allowed as safe buildings or building codes. It is a nightmare for all of us at the special needs complex where it was installed. At what cost to our health are these “energy efficiency improvements” being built into our daily lives. No telling what the EMF from the solar panels directly over our heads is adding to the health problems.
I would not recommend any of these systems for any one to use at all ever. We are very sick.
It’s definitely possible and easy to build an airtight building wrong but these are not the causes of the problems.
There are ducted mini splits. But ductless mini splits don’t have any ducts. There is a tube for the refrigerant and a small tube for condensation for when the AC mode is running. This is what a ductless mini split looks like https://daikincomfort.com/products/heating-cooling/single-zone/heat-pumps/17-series-wall-mount
You do have to clean the filter, and clean off the fins once a year and blow out the condensate tube but they are the easiest system to clean.
Heating and cooling the air that is in the house is not a problem.
The ERV is what is bringing in the outside air. It does moderate the temperature and humidity. I am worried about long ducts on ERVs. I would only use very short cleanable runs on ERV. In my climate opening the window is sufficient for makeup air.
Air sealing is really important in modern houses, so it does have to be airtight otherwise we are going back to log cabins or houses built in the 50s. We can’t usually do that because of codes so it does need to be airtight as perfectly as possible to prevent air leakage brining moisture into the walls.
The main problem is that this isn’t done right.
Anyone reading this who is confused on this topic needs to consult with a good mold preventative architect. As no one thinks building part way sealed buildings would be a good idea unless again, you’re going back to very expensive non code conforming very leaky and very hot and cold buildings.
Hi! We are getting a whole new AC system put in and there was massive amount of “organic growth” (aka mold!!!) in and around our air handler and ducts. I’ve been researching different in line units and spoke with several major AC companies in Houston that recommend the “Platinum PCO” unit which is supposedly 3 systems, including a UV light. They all claim it produces no ozone and that most of the hospitals in Houston use this system, which seemed encouraging. Anyone with experience or thoughts about this unit? Thank you!
Jill Neimark says
Corinne, what about these other brands you didn't discuss? Can you look into them. NewAir, Boss and Titan. Some are quite a bit cheaper than high tech, others about the same.
I have had extensive paint odor problems confirmed by a very reputable air quality test and a local nationwide expert. https://www.wondermakers.com/ in addition to formaldehyde in a condo we bought. I have tried many air purifiers including the Molecule. The Molecule showed no reduction of VOC or formaldehyde. I finally am running charcoal based units that are expensive but I really like. Some have a special charcoal coating aimed at formaldehyde. http://www.airpura.com. In addition a different filter bed by https://enviroklenz.com/product/enviroklenz-mobile/ is interesting. I have a foobot air monitor in both condos just recently installed and it is very interesting to see the two technologies draw on VOC's. Corinne, I am glad you also warned about the downside of Ozone in your article as my consultant at Wondermakers indicated that to much ozone can definitely be damaging to plastics etc. Thanks for your great work.
the odour could be from byproducts or from offgassing of the machine.
Ivi sims says
A note that Air Oasis has pass CARB
thank you! I will look at this!
Hey there! What do you think about this SMELL issue reported ny users of Molekule – especially the comment where the person suggests the smell is coming from the filter itself, offgassing TiO2, which may be harmful?: https://www.reddit.com/r/molekule/comments/7ctr6h/molekule_air_smells_bad/
I just got a molekule and its messing up my throat. The only time I’ve had this reaction was in the presence of a black mold in a toilet tank earlier this year. I’ve never had that reaction from mold before, either. I’m going to return it and probably try out a cheapo germguardian or else the air oasis.
By the way, I don’t notice any smell – I didn’t notice one when I first opened it either, 3 or 4 days ago. I didn’t notice one when I smelled the filter up close either. I do have a cold though.
Throat swelling is a common reaction i have too to some ionizers, it could be worsening certain VOCs, it could be the offgassing of the unit even if you don’t smell it or the ions themselves.
They say give it a few days of constant running, right? I had it on for maybe a total of 2 days, I could give it a little more of a shot before I return it. I was getting some MCS reaction, plus scratchy throat.
Have you tried the molekule and gotten that reaction? You said it took you 2 weeks to not react to your vornado, was that one of your reactions? I’m wondering if I should keep running this molekule away from my room, or give up on it now for a vornado or germguardian. Ironically, I ordered an air oasis and had it for a few days before I decided the molekule would be safer. I didn’t notice any mcs reaction to the airoasis – I had the one with both the hepa and pco which was carb compliant.
I’m thinking about getting the vornado pco, I had a vornado hepa which I liked. The germguardian reviews on amazon all talk about the circuits frying themselves as a fire danger.
I enjoyed reading your material. You have some great information here. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on:
Lifebreath TFP3000 HEPA, whole house air purification system. Here is the link:
We are building a new home and are considering putting this in. Please let me know your thoughts.
Do you have any experience with any of the air purifiers from E.L. Foust?
It's a really good one if you are looking for help with offgassing and particulates.
James Carl says
I am very intrigued with the technology of airfree.com. This was recommended to me by wondermakers.com, highly experienced in mold remediation. I too, would like to know if anybody has tried one of these. They will not eliminate formaldehyde according to their sales force but I like the science and development in Europe who seem to take enviromental things much deeper.
In regard to Allerair: I have owned what is now currently marketed as the Airmedic Pro 5 Plus Vocarb for about 6 years. It does filter out the VOCs that adsorb to carbon (there are many chemicals that won't), but due to unevenness in the sheet metal of the body, a lot of air passes directly through to the exhaust port bypassing the filter thus leading to a large amount of fine particle buildup on the exhaust port over time. This and the fact that dealing with customer service from this company is not pleasant, I would look at a different company (I had considered Austin Air). Also I had to replace the pre-filter that came with it with a better 3rd party merv8 polyester filter, as the original allowed the carbon filter to get clogged with dust.
Additionally, while the carbon based units do filter a decent range of VOC's, there is something being released from newly installed polypropylene carpet backing that it can't remove, so I just ordered the PCO based Vornado to see if that will work.
Have you ever used or reviewed Allerair? I just bought a house and it badly needs remediation. Your information and insights are invaluable. Thank you!
Any comment on the Air Oasis Mobile unit?
Does anyone have knowledge about air purifiers that combine thermocatalytic purification using manganese oxide with the PCO? I'm reading the combination decreases the toxic compounds that can sometimes be produced by PCO. I was upset to hear that PCO can actually produce formaldehyde –
I've got MCS, Lyme, and a house that is slowly becoming more moldly and am trying to find a particularly good air purifier. A company called "Innovative Labs LLC" appears to have designed one (Senoma Breeze) which I'm having trouble locating. I'm guessing they will be pricey.
Anyone have knowledge of or experience with this company or type of purification?
Ms. J says
Oh – he will send you a Cease & Desist, too – for saying negative things about the product of he feels it’s untrue or the like.
Wouldn’t any good product not worry that much about word if mouth?
Ms. J says
I mentioned being in mold last year and…BOOM! Hi Tech Sales Reps were instant messsging me with obvious sales tactics like saying there is a secret or magic ingredient that makes it work. I was desperate so I bought one. I put so much money and energy into getting that thing to work – to no avail. Now, I believe I was in an old building with moderate inner wall mold and the bathroom didn’t smell good but looked good…I don’t believe there was an active leak but I can’t be sure.
Anyway, I got so sick in that place trusting the Hi Tech which for me was too much O2 output.
Ray the owner is a nice man, but half of me believes he has convinced himself that the product works, and the other half of me thinks he knows it doesn’t workd but is selling it anyway.
Maybe he half knows.
I am out over $1000, got extremely and seriously ill thinking it was helping me, u til my stomach began to inflate with fluid which is still housing toxins to keep them away from my vital organs. I got very large thyroid nodes and other organ issues.
I returned the machine.
Ray becomes incredibly defensive about his product, and I had a very gold question which he could NEVER produce a real answer to, which was that I had read all over the internet that O2 Radicals destroy DNA.
I was also kicked off the Hi Tech Users FB group while owning the machine because I asked direct questions, and wouldn’t allow the sales reps and their “friends” who wanted to believe for that period of time the machine was working, but who were still really sick, and weee defending the product along with the reps, as I stuck to my point through all of their manipulation and misleading. I kept asking the same question about this DNA issue because I care about myself. No one ever gave me a straight answer, and I was ousted from the group.
Of course during this, the owner Ray suddenly showed up to help his reps defend – a rare occurrence – and acted like an 11-year-old, becoming defensive and so forth…it truly was like kindergarten.
I am unhappy that being on Section 8 with only a credit card and nowhere to go, that I was treated like that AND the product didn’t work.
But I know that I was good bait. And I took it…hook, line and sinker.
I'm really sorry. I have seen this story many times over from many folks
I was poisoned by mold, and may be one of those people who cannot get mold and other mycotoxins out of my body. I'm still on the journey of figuring it all out. Been battling mold illness since 2007, but became aware that it was mold in 2009. It's an incredibly isolating and challenging road. In summer, 2017, I bought a "Beyond Guardian Air" by Aerus and a "Guardian Angel" also by Aerus. Any experts out there familiar with these air purifiers? They are high-end. The Beyond model uses Active Pure (space) technology and supposedly is used by NASA. http://www.beyondbyaerus.com/Site/ I'm looking for better ways to get back a decent quality-of-life and would also like to connect with others and a community of people who understand.
Hi Donna, to connect with others try the Facebook groups on mold. There are quite a few.
Donna, I have the Guardian Angel – a friend gave it to me. Did you get one?
Melissa Monk says
How do you like it?
Has anyone here discussed, used or reasesrched the Airfree brand as they claim it has the most independent tests done on it than any other air purifier. Allergycosmos done a short review on it and isn’t confident about how truly independent they really are so I’m confused and would love others thoughts. Airfree.com is the site thanks.
Love learning from these posts! We had a bad case of mold in the shower wall, so I bought several purifiers after the remediation. We have 2 IQ Airs (one in family room and one in our bedroom), one Austin Air in another bedroom, a Germ Guardian in another bedroom, a Therapure with UV (photocatalytic), a Germ Guardian in the kitchen, a Holmes in the laundry room, and another Holmes in the entry way. We also had a special photocatalytic hospital grade filter with UV bulb put in on our new Central Heat and Air system. Are these too much? Will some interfere with others? I have not been feeling great and have developed some MCS. Could some of these be causing an issue? What about our filter on our system? It is the filter sold by Gilmore Heating and Air. Thanks so much for your help!!!
Did you ask how long the Hydroxyl free radicals last in the air for each of these devices? I'm discovering that it can be quite different, depending on the PCO technology, so while they are all similar in that they are PCO devices (with the exception of the Molekule being a PECO) their reactor pad material can vary quite a bit. IQAir has come out with a PCO device that supposedly covers a large square footage by comparison to other units, but I'm not sure I am in love with the technology and they haven't answered me back in terms of how long the Hydroxyls remain airborne and active.
You can increase the fan capacity and that's where they're getting the square footage from, you can increase the surface area of the titanium dioxide and the amount of UV lights, but to my knowledge you cannot increase the amount of time that the hydroxyls are active. Hi techs claims have absolutely no basis.
Do you have any information about the EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System with UV Light? Says it takes care of mold spores and toxins that are emitted from mold as well as chemicals and odors. https://enviroklenz.com/product/enviroklenz-mobile-uv-model/. Would like to know if it is 3rd party tested. Purchased it on recommendation of Wendy Myer a health consultant who helps balance minerals and detox heavy metals. Any recommendations on this one.
Elizabeth Buchanan says
Although I think I am a bit over my head in understanding fully everything here I am extremely grateful for this information and the sharing of it here. Thank you!!!! I don't know what machine to get, all I know is I'm pregnant we live in a lake home in the far northern Midwest (near Canada) and we have had mold issues (bathroom and also furnace area there was a leak that went unnoticed for some time). We also have huge dust issues due to an old carpet the home owner is finally allowing us to get rid of (has taken years to achieve this). Anyways I'm having a home birth and I am afraid of the mold, dust and any other pollutants being an issue for the baby. Could you please help me choose a machine? I'm thinking of getting the molekule but we really can't afford it. Any advice will be a blessing!
Any advice on the best air purifier for a newly built home? It has a conditioned attic so no air flow up there. Lots of windows we can open but I’m very concerned about initial off gassing. Thinking about getting the IQ air that’s installed in the A/C unit.
Hi there, I have read your blog off and on when I have been in need of suggestions for renovations or products. thank you for sharing! I just recently heard about a program that can possibly heal our brain which might be causing an overreaction to chemicals and other chronic conditions. I have been struggling for years with chemical sensitivities and food sensitivities and light and sound sensitivities… so I am so ready to heal. I just thought I would send you this link in case it might help others! again thank you for your sharing on this site!
I’m in the same situation with allergies and sensitivities, Jacguelyn. Have you tried that brain retraining system and what were your results? Thank you!!
Does anyone have experience with the Pionair? Pionair.net
I’m curious how it compares with the Air Oasis.
A quick glance here and not seeing Austin HEPA filters mentioned. Anyone have an opinion? Our highly-allergic extended family has used them for 5 years in two houses and been impressed with them. However, we are now faced with a severe roof leak and hidden mold infestation in our living room wall and need additional air purifiers while waiting for the remediation team. Has anyone else been happy with the Austin brand?
http://www.bridair.com , this company looks to have developed an interesting PCO system. No need to ever change/buy a filter!
Corinne — any info or reviews on this one?
Anja S. says
Hi Corinne, Thank you for all your research. I am looking into buying the Vornado and possibly the Molecule. Since Vornado uses the PCO technology, do you have any information how much this machine producing formaldehyde as a by product? Is it anything of a concern? Thanks very much.
Hi Anja, You can look through the studies on that. Some show formaldehyde and others not. That is why I would hesitate to use it in a high VOC area but you can also just see if you feel better or worse.
All of this information has been extremely useful; so I'm very glad for the article and everyone's comments. I have decided to go with the Molekule and have ordered two units. This will be enough for my first floor since each unit covers 600 square feet with one ACH. I'll share my experience. Thanks again.
Awesome! Would love to hear what you think about it.
Hi Lemonlark, Just wondering how you like the Molekule. Thanks.
Does anybody know re the EMF of these different air purifiers, for the very EMF sensitive? Thanks.
Good question; I'm interested in knowing too.
I have 4 Molekule filters in a 3006 sqft home, 1000 sqft coverage each. We’ve had them for over a 2 years, and believe them to be the worst investmentever we’ve ever spent our money on. Mold is still growing and house smells horrible of all kinds of odors. We replace filters more often than we’re supposed to, because this is an older home. We are actually thinking about moving. It’s so bad, we are using our older Molekule units as well. I think they are rated for 600 sqft each and we have 4 of those as well. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with puraclenz?
Puraclenz is also a non ozone PCO like Molekule. When the house smells like mold and you know there is mold in the walls the source has to be corrected and then the area remediated. When mold gets bad it won’t feel like air purifiers are doing anything at all.
puraclenz is so much less expensive so we ended up buying that because we already have hepa/charcoal filters. Would there be any reason to not pick Puraclenz in our case? It does break down mycotoxins, right? Within a couple hours it cleared up my unending asthma attack as long as I stay by it in our mold infested apartment we are trying to live within a week. We’re going to have our belongings fogged (the mold is in the walls and vents) and bring the purifiers with us to our new place. oh, guess what? Since the pipe leak started 6 weeks ago and I’ve made several trips to the ER, I started showing signs of liver damage within a week and now it’s to a significant level. My doctors are stumped as far as alternative explanations. Mold can be dangerous, people. Also, my landlord is pretty much the devil. Be careful with this stuff! <3
Puraclenz looks good
Lisa Petrison says
I purchased the Vornado PCO 500 (currently available on Amazon for $399) and after a couple of days of trial am feeling like it is making a difference for me.
The issue that I am dealing with at present is outdoor mold (e.g. Fusarium) growing in the wake of Roundup usage in corn/soy fields here in the Midwest, and exacerbated by all the rain that we have been having.
I have felt like inexpensive HEPA machines have been somewhat helpful for that, but this larger machine has made a much bigger difference (in a 2BR townhouse with cathedral ceilings and ceiling fans). Whether the improvements are due just to the HEPA or also to the PCO, I'm not sure.
I continue to doubt whether this machine would make any difference at all for supertoxins (such as the sewer toxin that I have been referring to as "Mystery Toxin"), and I doubt that it would do much for a mold growth problem in a building (unless it were something really minor).
But for this purpose, I do think it is making a noticeable difference so far.
Thanks for the suggestion!
That's great Lisa! I'm glad it is helping. I would definitely agree with not using it in a place with a known mould problem or leak. I'm not committed to this brand, I'm finding it a bit offgassy. I'm hearing more from others though that they do well with this technology. The GermGuardian is one I am hearing about. Molekule is one that I think is more promising than I initially thought. I will update this post with those comments.
HiTech responded to my article. In the article I ask the company/sales reps to stop making unsubstantiated claims.
In their recent public conference call they do indeed make two statements that are different from the quotes I have from them previously:
1) The machine is not FDA approved (says Ray the owner in the public conference call), but the technology is. My response: Other brands of machines using PCO have FDA approval. That does not mean HiTech does. We do not know what is in Hitech, and on top of that they claim their machine makes a different kind of OH molecule, so I don't see how that would be covered by another machine's FDA approval. Receipts: we have many screen shots of sales reps saying this is FDA approved.
2) There is no patent says Ray in the call. Receipts: we have many screen shots of them saying this is patent pending and I received that info from a sales rep as well.
Ray in the call denies some statements I made. He says that Sporax is not sprayed on the filters. He says that that bulbs are not coated with anything. I have screen shots of the sales reps saying these two things.
Note how before this they claimed the unit was being used in neonatal units until Sandy Wolfe questioned them repeatedly. In the end the sales rep said it is not used in neonatal units. Plenty of screen shots to show this.
They claimed a study was done by Texas Tech, now we see the reps saying it wasn't a study, and Ray says in the call it was just "a doctor from a university", but not a study.
A number of unsubstantiated claims were made in the conference call about many tests being done with this machine. I have not seen any evidence of these tests.
Unfortunately, I don't think the blog post can stay updated enough to keep up with the statements this company makes, but I will add this info in the comments or in a footnote.
New to me claims from July 2017 public conference call with owner Ray Robison:
A courthouse in Mississippi eradicating mould on a wall 40 foot away with HiTech. Where is any proof that this machine can eradicate visible mould on a wall?
A lab tested places for mycotoxins after HiTech used. Which mycotoxin lab? Let's see the tests.
Tests were done to compare HiTech to other PCO machines. Where are any of these tests?
Ray says: he spent $350,000 to find out why a mould sensitive person would react to the machine. Where is the test on this, or any proof of this?
Ray claims burning smell is mould being eradicated. He says "That’s a fact". Facts need proof, where is the proof of that?
My HOA My Nightmare says
I have low end VOC remover/purifiers by ORECK. Believe it or not, when it is pulling VOCs out of the air, these purifiers emit a smudgepot odor and that means it's working. When it grabs significant amount of particulates at one time, that smell means it's working – it caught a bunch of particulates at once. I believe it's working but I'm afraid of ozone but more afraid of lingering outdoor pesticides that got into my home.
I'm not sure what the ORECK is, red flags there in obscuring what technology they are using. From the website it's not clear.
Any suggestions regarding optimal humidity levels for PCO devices? I keep my house around 45-50% to avoid mold growth, but I'm concerned that the PCO devices (Air Oasis, etc) might need 55-60% for optimal performance. Thoughts?
Catherine Holmes Clark says
This concerns me too, especially after reading this comment by an amazon customer who bought a Germ Guardian:: https://www.amazon.com/review/RSR352L9VUJC/
He cites studies that indicate without 60% humidity, PCO makes ozone.
There are ozone producing UV bulbs and non ozone producing UV bulks. I don’t recommend the ozone producing bulbs at all.
Carrie Y. says
Hi Biotoxin Journey – In one of Corrine's comments, she said that the Air Oasis representatives said that if you choose to get an Air Oasis without the ozone, then it wouldn't produce the same peroxides. (And therefore it would probably be less effective)… and in one of your comments, you said that it is the combination of the different metals that is producing the peroxides, not the ozone. Which is true? If I were to get an Air Oasis, I would choose to do it without the ozone. Despite the conversation here that it is not the most harmful thing in the world, I really don't need to tax my body any further. I am trying to decide between trying the Air Oasis and the Vornado. P.S. do you work for Air Oasis? I know there is a warranty regarding parts, etc. But if you try it and it just doesn't work for you, is there a money-back guarantee? Thanks!
Biotoxin Journey says
I definitely don’t work for or have any financial ties to Air Oasis. I just think it’s a good machine based upon my research. You can read about my health journey at http://biotoxinjourney.com/.
That was an interesting point Corinne brought up about the Air Oasis not producing peroxides without using an ozone generating UV lamp. Apparently, the combination of ozone, UV, and multi-metal catalyst are required to get the full benefit of the machine. In other words, PCO technology in general involves shining UV light on a metal “catalyst” and from what Corinne has learned, we also need ozone for the production of peroxides in the Air Oasis.
Anyway, I totally understand if some folks just don’t want to expose themselves to any level of ozone. While I’m somewhat sensitive to chemicals, I certainly don’t have anywhere near the reactions some with MCS have. I just thought I could round out this topic with some of the material I’d learned in studying about the Air Oasis. Regardless of what machine you use, I’d definitely run a room fan to help get the Air Oasis peroxides out into the room or move un-cleaned air to the base of the Vornado.
I got my Air Oasis from https://inspiredliving.com and they do have a 30-day return policy.
Carrie Y. says
Thanks for your reply. I wasn't concerned about you having any financial ties to Air Oasis, I was more interested if you know about their guarantee. I will check out the site you mentioned and call them too. Aside from the ozone concerns, I am interested to see if the claims that many people make about Air Oasis could be true for me as it seems that it has helped so many people. I'm particularly interested in the travel model they make now which would be amazing if it helped with visiting other people's moldy homes or being able to work. I may give both the Air Oasis and the Vornado a try since both seem to have a way to try them out and return if they're not helping. Thanks !
Carrie Y. says
One more question and thank you! Your journey is inspiring and I look forward to reading your site more. Without the ozone, the unit would still be putting out hydroxyls to search and destroy right? Just making sure it wouldn't change that feature
Biotoxin Journey says
Hydroxyl definitely will not search and destroy. They are highly reactive and will burn up within a fraction of a second. Also, I can’t say for sure what’s produced without ozone in the Air Oasis. I’m assuming from what I know about PCO in general and what Corinne found out that without ozone the bulk of the oxidants are hydroxyls. It’s sort of a moot point though because if you’re not going to use ozone, I’d personally go with the Vorando. Just based upon its size, I’m guessing it produces more hydroxyls than the Air Oasis without ozone. Besides, it’s got HEPA and carbon.
Regarding the portable Air Oasis unit, I have one for when I travel. Recently, I was down South and unfortunately picked a moldy hotel. I’d had a long day and it was really late to change hotels. I thought I could tough it out. I was wrong. After nodding off for an hour, I woke up with that familiar feeling of high excitability in my body. Ugh.
I was running the small portable unit but there was no way it was going to keep up with what was pouring out of the A/C. Desperate, I took the sheet of plastic I always bring with me and laid it on the bathroom floor. I normally use this plastic under the mattress cover. On top of the plastic, I laid down a heavy blanket. I closed the door and fired up my portable unit. It was enough. The fight-or-flight reaction calmed down considerably and I was able to get some sleep – albeit a bit rough. These machines definitely have their limitations.
Well, that’s it for me on this topic. I'm bowing out.
Carrie Y. says
Thank you so much. I appreciate your help and clarifications!
My HOA My Nightmare says
What about the Air Oasis N Duct that goes right into the air handler? I'm MCS from pesticide exposure and they are indoors lingering, low ppms but the toxins are intolerable. Nobody ever mentions the ozone from the a/c company. They say it's just hydrogen peroxide. I have thirty days and then have to pay trip charge even tho it's nearby, labor to remove and restocking fee. So, I got hosed if I can't tolerate it. I'm still not fully back in my home. I'm still testing. What about the ones that are INSTALLED? My doctor recommended an actual ozone generator which I think would be even worse for me. Once someone is pesticided, they don't trust much but I can't live with pesticide residue aka nerve gas stuck in my house. I have plenty of ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. Anyone have any opinions or facts? The company never talks about ozone. Only customers do.
They will tell you it gives off ozone if you ask them. It seems though that the levels they say do not match up with CARB's testing https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/aircleaners/certified.htm
Biotoxin Journey says
I’m a fan of your writings. I’ve looked into air purification some too. Here are a few thoughts for your Reader’s consideration.
1. Vornado – I worry that many of the PCO oxidants the machine puts out are going to be drawn back into the unit and neutralized by the carbon. For this reason, I never run my IQ Air purifier with carbon along with my Air Oasis that uses PCO technology just for this reason. Air mixing is vital regardless of what air purifier you're using.
2. Air Oasis – 11 cfm – Mold remediation expert Greg Weatherman has a video with a 2,000+ cfm blower showing virtually no air movement a couple of feet from the machine! I'm guessing the folks at Air Oasis selected the fan sized based upon a calculated exposure time to the UV lamp – see my article on the UV Light Tube I built. Air exchanges and cfm are irrelevant when it comes to selecting a small PCO device. Of course, there are whole house PCO units and then it’s important to select a unit based upon the cfm of the furnace blower. It's the number, quality, and type of oxidants produced that matter. Having said this, I do question the actual area these units can treat. I guess it depends on the level of contamination.
3. Ozone is a powerful oxidant. People apparently run ozone generators in enclosed spaces. I've written about how this can lead to undesired by-products in my article on autos and mold. The Air Oasis with the default lamp definitely puts out ozone. If you stick your nose right in front of the output, you'll cough. For this reason along with the importance of air mixing, I always run my Air Oasis with a ceiling fan on along with moving the unit about the house. For your readers that are really chemically sensitive, I believe you can ask for a lamp that doesn’t produce any ozone.
4. Titanium dioxide is the bare minimum for a good PCO machine. Air Oasis uses a mix of metals they believe work even better as I wrote about in my Air Oasis article. However, anyone can "talk a good game". The key point is that the reason some CIRS doctors are recommending them is because a preliminary study of 48 homes showed they made moldy homes livable again along with findings as in the video. Personally, I fine that there is a big difference in the air quality after running the Air Oasis in the main living area of our house overnight. I love having it because I can clean up the air after having guests that invariably track in toxins.
Hi Greg, I was looking for your article on Air Oasis but I could not find it. I would love to read it before responding. -Corinne
Biotoxin Journey says
The Air Oasis article is in the Members section. You'll need to create a free account and login.
I found the article thanks. My response to above:
1. The air moves through the Vornado first through the HEPA/carbon and then through the PCO aspect. So the OH molecules are flowing out, away from the HEPA/carbon. They would not move back against the air flow. They also only last a few seconds so all the action is on the catalyst not really about moving them through the air.
2. If the unit can't move much air through it it just can't be effective – it just won't reach the air in the room. If the air needed more time on the catalyst then you would need many Air Oasis units per room.
3. The Air Oasis emits ozone because it's also an ionizer. This level if higher than what California Air Resource Board finds is safe for healthy people. Those of us who are sick or sensitive should certainly follow these guidelines. The machines cannot be sold in California. Ozone has a long half life so I would not feel comfortable running it in one room in the day and another at night.
4. It's difficult to compare Air Oasis to the others because it is an ionizer and creates ozone. This will have some beneficial effects but the long term effects on people's lungs could be serious. Titanium dioxide is the industry standard – it's what NASA uses and the FDA approved machines are using titanium dioxide. So I do not know the effectiveness of using other metals. There would have to be a study comparing different technologies that does not also add ozone or an ionizer to the picture.
Biotoxin Journey says
I don’t want to get into this too deeply but here is my understanding.
1. PCO technology does produce hydroxyl radicals (OH) along with hydro peroxides (HO2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The peroxides can linger quite a while in the air.
H2O2 lasts about 24 hours in the air – until it reacts with a toxin.
2. If we were simply relying on the fans of any of these units to move particles about, the air would never get thoroughly cleaned. In my opinion, the small fans on these units are simply to throw oxides into the air. The quick OH reactions within the units are nice but due to their very short life and limited air movement don’t do much. It’s the peroxides and overall turbulence of the air in the room that matters.
Capture Zone Limitation of Air Scrubber
3. The Bi-Polar ionizer is to help get dust particles to stick together so they fall to the ground. The ions can also zap some toxins. I’ve never read of ionizers producing ozone. On the other hand, UV lamps definitely produce ozone and this depends mostly on the type of glass and the special coating (doping) on the inside of the lamp. For example, GPH lamps are standard quartz lamps available in both “ozone-free” (G, GPH lamps) and ozone-generating (G…VH, GPH…VH – VH stands for Very High ozone) versions.
Quartz Lamp Specs
4. Regarding studies, there was a preliminary study with 48 homes of folks with CIRS. MCS and CIRS folks are a sensitive group. The Air Oasis cleaned up their inadequately mold remediated homes to the point that they could live in them again. Having said this, titanium dioxide is the standard for PCO technology.
I have not seen info on PCO creating hydro peroxides (HO2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as part of the air purifying technology
I spoke to AirOasis – they say their specific PCO catalyst produces hydro peroxides (HO2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) which regular PCO does not produce in any significant amount. (Not sure if they have studies to back that up).
They said they use ozone producing bulbs which the others don’t do. It sounded like if someone requests a no ozone version they are changing the bulb. They claim the ozone is important in what makes the peroxides.
They use a Bipolar ionizer, they claim it doesn’t give off ozone but ionizers in general do produce ozone:
Not all UV lights produce ozone, as you mentioned there are non ozone producing bulbs and that is what Airocide, Vornado, HiTech and others are using. Airocide has a study showing no ozone production, you can see the HiTech bulb used.
Talking to the companies is not the best way to get accurate information though I wanted to get Air Oasis' response to this. My intention was not to anaylze the technology of the any of these units because this would take very specialised expertise in chemistry or engineering. All I can say conclusively about Air Oasis is that it moves very little and and it produces more ozone than is considered safe in California. I can also conclude that the other units do not produce ozone.
Biotoxin Journey says
Well, this is turning out to be an interesting conversation.
I think you’re right about PCO technology that uses titanium dioxide (Tio2). More credible sources say TiO2 produces mostly Hydroxyl Radicals (OH) along with some Superoxide (oxygen with an extra electron). I’d initially thought all PCO technology produced basically the same oxidants. As you’ve noted, hydroxyl radicals and superoxide react really quickly – fraction of a second for OH and maybe one second for superoxide.
So the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by Air Oasis appears to be a unique result of the 5 different metals they use (silver, nickel, rhodium, copper, and titanium). As noted, H2O2 lasts many hours and ozone has a half-life of 30 minutes. Maybe it’s the longer life of these two oxidants that makes it possible for the Air Oasis to clean up moldy homes that were inadequately remediated.
So it turns out that knowing exactly what these machines are producing matters. If you have a Vornado using TiO2 that’s only producing very short lived oxidants, then you need a decent sized fan and good turbulence in the room as the only air that gets cleaned is the air that actually passes through the machine. If you’re using an Air Oasis, then fan size doesn’t matter because the oxidants produced will waft around in the room for some time until they hit upon a particle they can react with. With either machine, getting good air turbulence in the room is essential.
As you’re stated and I agree, I don’t think it makes good sense to run an Air Oasis in unoccupied rooms. Depending upon the amount of turbulence along with other factors like the amount of furniture and carpeting in the room, the levels of oxidants that build up may very well be harmful. Having said this, I really do think there is way too much concern over ozone. If I’m living in a building that is literally killing me due to high levels of biotoxins, I think running a machine that can knock out these crushing toxins makes good sense even if it does produce a little ozone. Besides, I can always put the machine in an unoccupied room and if I’m really concerned, I can use a timer and have the machine turn off an hour or so before I enter.
Biotoxin Journey says
Regarding the Bi-Polar ionizer that is also inside the Air Oasis, I stand corrected regarding ozone production. Apparently whenever there is an electrical discharge, ozone is produced. For examples, hair dryers, copy machines, and electrostatic air cleaners also produce ozone. That being said, WikiPedia says the amount of ozone produced is small and given the size of the Bi-Polar unit, I think it’s a stretch to think that a person needs to be concerned about the amount of ozone that unit produces. If that’s the case, then one should really steer clear of waterfalls too as they produce a fair amount of ozone. It’s always a question of degree and weighing risks versus benefits.
On the other hand, I have tinkered a bit with UV lamps and I can assure you that depending on the wavelength, glass, and coating, they can produce a lot of ozone. And I mean a lot! As you noted, Air Oasis will fit their machines with a non-ozone lamp if requested. So the meaningful level of ozone coming from the Air Oasis is coming from the lamp.
As a point of reference, if I run my G3 3000 Air Oasis in the basement with little furniture and concrete floors, I can pick up the faint smell of ozone after several hours. If I run it on the main level with more furniture, I don’t smell any ozone. Does the level of ozone get above the 0.05ppm in federal guidelines, I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t need to tax my body any more than it already has been so I generally don’t sit in the area of the house where the machine is running.
Initially, my main points were that getting good air turbulence is way more important than fan size, that the ozone coming from an Air Oasis isn’t due to the ionizer, and that I’d personally chose to use a machine with at least a rudimentary study showing that it actually helps clean the air in real world situations – even if it does produce a little ozone. As you stated, anyone can “talk a good game”; what matters is if the machine actually makes a meaningful difference. Along the way, I’ve learned that not all PCO machines produce the same oxidants and that this matters at least in terms of fan size and that ionizers do produce a nominal amount of ozone.
Thanks for this discussion Corinne. The effort and care you take in your writings is a testament to your concern for the well being of others and big heart.
Greg (and Corinne) – excellent commentary. I bought an Air Oasis Mobile before going to possibly a 3000G3 model. I noticed there was some concern about the 3000G3 not meeting CARB ozone standards (which I believe are <0.05 ppm). I have seen that this is not true and perhaps the conversation mixed up the "regular" 3000G3 with the "extreme" 3000XG3 – the latter does not meet CARB standards and is for 'unoccupied' commercial spaces according to Air Oasis. The 3000G3 is for heavy duty residential use and produces less than 0.05 ppm per their specs and is okay in California. At least this is my understanding and would defer to anyone who knows more about these units.
I have been led to the Air Oasis having journeyed long through a Lyme and mold ordeal and researching was to help with my condition. The worst began in 2010 but I have had issues all my life (I am 58 yo in 4 days) – just did not identify the culprits until then. The latest part of this journey for me seems to be extreme mold exposure. I had some in my house and a ton at my work. I work for NASA in an old building constructed just after WWII. Mold was discovered there in a significant way and it explains a lot of my confusing neurological symptoms over the past several years.
So, I have been on a mission to eradicate as much of the mold and other biotoxins that I can at home. Removing carpeting, adding dehumidifier, and changing diet and binders and such. In this process, I bought two Honeywell HEPA purifier units and they work rather well and are fairly inexpensive to PURCHASE. However, they consume a LOT of power anfd make a lot of noise so I am feeling I am spending more than I should for this and, more importantly, not being a good "green" steward of the environment.
The Air Oasis 3000 G3 uses only 15W of power (compared to 103/163/202W for L/M/H settings on the Honeywell) PLUS it seems that the Air Oasis claims to get more of the contaminants out of the air. I did like the discussion on air flow and Corrine made a lot of sense in that logically, it would seem that decreased air flow would equal less effective results. I don't think this is the case considering the technology used and Greg hit on some of that – the way I understand it is the CFM of these units may be sized appropriately for the different technolgies they are using. Is this a fair statement? I will also use either the Honeywell and/or AO units for my office at work once mold remediation completes in the old building where I worked.
Anyway, I appreciate the commentary here so far and would also appreciate any other words of wisdom on the Air Oasis 3000G3 model before I purchase. Thx!
Here is the list of models that meet CARB https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/aircleaners/certified.htm most of Air Oasis models do not meet this as tested by CARB despite the claims they make that they are safe and below certain levels. But yes if you are using this as an ozone machine/ionizer then the CFM becomes less relevant. If you ask them to omit the ozone component this changes what the machine does and I don't think there is much use in it without it compared to the other PCO brands.
Does anyone have experience with the Pionair? Pionair.net
I’m curious how it compares with the Air Oasis.