Silver zeolite antimicrobial activity in aluminium heating, ventilation and air conditioning system ducts


Introduction. Air pollution in confined environments is a serious health problem, in that most people spend long periods indoors (in homes, offices, classrooms etc.). Some people (children, the elderly, heart disease patients, asthmatic or allergic subjects) are at greater risk because of their conditions of frailty. The growing use of air-conditioning systems in many public and private buildings aggravates this health risk, especially when these systems are not correctly installed or regularly serviced. The aim of our study was to verify the capacity of Ag + ions to stop the growth of bacteria and moulds inside the ducts of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system ducts (HVAC) systems when these ducts were lined with active Ag + ions zeolite-coated panels. Material and methods. A Y-shaped HVAC model with two branches was used; one branch was made of traditional galvanized iron, as was the whole system, while the other was lined with active Ag + zeolite-coated polyurethane panels. During the test, samples of dust present inside both ducts were collected and seeded in liquid and solid media to detect bacteria and moulds. The presence of bacteria was also sought in the air emerging from the outlets of both ducts. Results. Tests made on samples of particulate collected from the two different ducts revealed a lower total bacterial load in the samples collected from the Ag + zeolite-coated duct than in the samples from the traditional Zn galvanized duct. In addition, the values of bacterial load found in the air emerging from the Ag+ ions zeolite-lined duct were 5 times lower than those found in the air from the traditional galvanized iron duct. Conclusions. The utilization of Ag + zeolite-coated panels in air-conditioning systems could improve the quality of the emerging air in comparison with traditional installations in galvanized iron. This innovation could prove particularly advantageous in the event of accidents during the installation of air-conditioning systems or of contaminated aerosols coming from outside.