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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #208 - David Milburn (HypoAir)

David Milburn currently serves as VP for the Young Trust, a tech focused VC firm, and the CTO of Hypoallergenic Air LLC. At HypoAir, Milburn has spent 10 years solving some of the world's worst air quality issues for clients ranging from aerospace manufacturing facilities to hospitals in Brooklyn during the height of COVID. Over the last decade he's assisted thousands of business owners, homeowners, and biohackers of all walks of life to solve their unique air quality challenges.

LEARN MORE AT:
https://hypoair.com

SHOWNOTES

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David's back story

air quality causing health issues

making indoor air mirror outdoor air

what all is in out indoor air?  Should we kill it all?

Particulates, Biologicals, VOCs

sticky smells and how to get rid of them

HEPA Filters

carbon filters

baking soda in the fridge

inaccuracies in VOC meters

particulate size

finding the right merv rating filter

negative ions

creating ozone

sanitization vs sterilization

UV sanitization Technology

trace VOCs

do plants clean indoor air?

how hypoAir improved on the nASA technology

how hypoAir Air purifiers work

using hypoAir can upgrade your HVAC system

the unit types and the best application for each

testing against SARS-COV2

natural cleaning product offerings

Go to hypoair.com and use code MELANIEAVALON for 10% off sitewide!

hypoallergenic travel options

old carpet 

the washable pre-filter

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Hi everybody and welcome back to The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. It is about a topic, friends, that I am so personally obsessed with that I experience, and work with all the time, and talk about all the time and that is clean air and air quality, and how to get rid of contaminants and issues in your air, in your environment. Okay, my personal story, I'm a little bit neurotic when it comes to clean air. So, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I was just counting before the show, I have seven different air purifiers encompassing four different brands. That just speaks to my neuroticism when it comes to clean air. And so, the backstory that led up to this conversation is historically, I had always had, I want to say, conventional units. We'll dive deep into all of this in today's episode, but the units that you think of when it comes to clean air, so HEPA filters, carbon filters, things like that. 

It's been a while now. I'd have to look back at the dates, but quite a while ago, a company called HypoAir reached out to me, created by David Milburn, who I'm here today on the show with. It was so interesting to me because they sent me a unit, sent over their science, and it was so different from everything I had experienced thus far with air purifiers. The unit I got was very, very small. I wasn't sure how I was going to do anything. It didn't look like anything else I'd seen before. And then I did a call with David and he blew my mind about the science of cleaning air. Just in that call alone, I learned so much. Like, that call could have been a podcast honestly. So, I knew I had to have him on this show, ASAP, just for-- Well, first of all, an educational experience, because this man knows everything about clean air, and all the technologies, and how everything actually works. 

Then on top of that, I'm really excited to explore the science of HypoAir with you guys today because it's something very cool and I'm actually pretty shocked that a lot of people do know about it. When people think air purifiers, it's not one of the first things that pops up right away, like people often think of these conventional units that I've been talking about. So, I'm just so excited to talk about all of this. David, thank you so much for being here. 

David Milburn: I am happy to be here. I got my second cup of coffee. I definitely don't know everything about air quality, but I've been asking these questions for a while now, and we've been getting the questions for a while. So, we're discovering along with you and we can go as deep as you want here. 

Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. You really did blow my mind. I have a lot of phone calls with a lot of people. When I think of my phone call with you, I just remember just learning so many things I wanted to know.

David Milburn: I'm glad that it was helpful. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. No, it really, really was. So, I've been really looking forward to this. So, to start things off, can you tell listeners a little bit about your personal story? On the business side of things, what made you personally interested in this technology and clean air? Just why are you doing what you're doing today? 

David Milburn: Sure. So, I come from the technology side, the investment side of the company. So, we actually invest in different companies, different technologies, across a lot of different spectrums, with the goal of basically moving forward in these areas. A lot of those investments are risky, some of them don't turn out. But around 12, 15 years ago, we invested in a company in the air purification space. And then for about 10 years, our side of the company, HypoAir, basically was just focused on R&D and how can we apply these technologies to new applications that we saw, especially in the commercial and medical space. 

Then over the years, that morphed into how can we help the consumer space as well, just people with your current home as it is with all the problems, your current apartment as it is and with everything you're dealing with, how can we come up with new solutions, how can we push back against the assumptions in the air quality space to come up with things that actually work and deal with the real world scenarios that people are experiencing? I talk to clients basically every day, and I hear new questions every week [chuckles] and new scenarios. Our goal is how can we make the indoor air more naturally like the outdoor air? That's been our guiding principle is our indoor spaces are rather synthetic. We try to seal them up for energy efficiency, but we also seal in contaminants, and there're a lot of activities that take place inside, and we just trap those. If there's no natural mitigation that can lead to a lot of problems for people. 

One of the things I often say is the air quality is a piece of the puzzle. For some people, it could be a much bigger piece. For some people, it's not. One of the things that's very common among the people I speak to is that their experience in their home is very different from the other people living in the home. So, air quality is pretty tricky. You can't see, smell, taste, interact with a lot of the things we're talking about because they're so small, but they can still have certainly an impact on you. 

Melanie Avalon: Did you ever have an issue with health or air quality? Because I know a lot of people-- For me, I had a whole mold issue, and that's when I started getting-- I don't want to say I was terrified of my environment, but that's when I started being like, "I have to kill all the things in the air." Did you have anything like that personally? 

David Milburn: Good question. Over the years, I think we all do [chuckles] from one degree to another, whether it's an event like a wildfire, or a mold issue, and all that. To me, actually, I was just reminded of this a few months ago talking to some folks at a conference. But when I was in college, traveling overseas doing business in Africa, I was actually in a room where I was staying for the summer, and every time I went in that room, I would sneeze and I would often sneeze until I bled. At the time, I was a relatively educated person, I was relatively thoughtful, and I did not connect how I was feeling with the air at all. [chuckles] Looking back, it's so funny because my experience now, I would have a very different experience than I did then. But I just remember back to that is I just dealt with it for the summer. It was just I knew something was in that room. I didn't really think what it was. I didn't think that there was a solution for it. I just thought I just have to deal with this. 

Looking back, that was interesting for me because a lot of us, you've never connected how you feel with maybe what you can't see in your air or some of these things that in the past I've had, like, it's looked down upon. If you think you have mold in your home and it's really making you sick or something, that was really looked down upon a few years ago. For me, I didn't even connect the dots at all. I've talked to a lot of people like that where they've done some tests that initially-- They realized, "Oh, maybe that's in my air and maybe that's affecting how I feel." That can be the first step in the journey. Yeah, I would say that was my first thing that comes to mind is that I had this experience. I didn't connect it with air quality, but it absolutely was. Looking back, I see that now.

Melanie Avalon: Something that I really like about people addressing their air, especially when it comes to the whole biohacking world and everything, is people often have health issues or things that they're experiencing, and they're trying all these things to try to feel better. Sometimes, it can be hard to gauge what is actually doing what, but like you just said, noticing the difference with air and what you experienced way back then. If you had known that it was the air, I bet you if you had addressed the air back then, you would have noticed and you would have-- It's like something where it has a very real effect that people experience, compared to sometimes people take a supplement, it's hard to know what's actually happening. You notice it with air for sure. 

David Milburn: Yeah. We love all those really dramatic stories that we hear, and those are always wonderful. One of the questions we get often is, is this going to help me sleep better? And the answer is really that it depends. You may be watching too much news at night, and you're worried about stuff, and so you're not going to sleep well. But if you can reduce your exposure to contaminants, if you can reduce your exposure to toxins especially in the bedroom, and we're going to talk probably about a lot of stuff, but if you can focus on the bedroom, create a safe place there, well, then you're giving yourself the best chance to have a good rest, to naturally detoxify, to create a safe space at home, and then build your resilience to go out and be exposed to things outside. You want your bedroom to be a safe place. 

We love those dramatic stories and we hear them a lot, but air quality is one piece of the puzzle. For a lot of people that have kind of gone down the health journey, a lot of times they go, food, water, and then air is like a distant third. But you breathe the equivalent of about a swimming pool every day. And so, that's going into your lungs. But also, what you're exposed to just in your skin and just the amount that it can affect you in some scenarios is pretty extreme. But for a lot of these things, it is intangible. Sometimes, you can see the dust floating in the sunlight. That's the big stuff. A lot of what we're talking about is far below what the human eye can see. A lot of what we're talking about, the nose cannot smell. And a lot of times, your nose will go blind to things that it's around oftentimes. But a lot of times, it can be a very dramatic turnaround as well.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, that ties well into some very big foundational questions I have to get us going with all of this. I really like what you said before about making the indoor air mirror more the outdoor air, and also what you're just talking about with the different potential things that can be in the air. And for listeners, if you go to your website-- What is the actual website? 

David Milburn: Our site is hypoair.com. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, perfect. So, if listeners go to hypoair.com, there's a lot of science on there, a lot of cool graphics. There's a really cool graphic. It's very cool. I was staring at it for so long that has particle size comparison of everything. It's such a cool picture. So, definitely check it out because you can see starting with, I think the largest thing is like a human hair, and then it goes down, down, down to even like COVID and all these things. So, it's very cool. So, a question I have is, what all is in our air? The nuance to this-- This is what I was wondering reading, because you have a lot of studies on your website, and some of them, for example, were talking about eradicating the entirety of certain microbes in the environment with your units. My question is, do we-- and I guess, we have to answer what is actually in the air? But do we actually want to kill everything in the air? Because outdoor air, I'm assuming, has microbes and viruses and stuff floating around as well. It's a two-part question. One is, what is the spectrum of what is in our air? And two, do we want to kill everything in the air?

David Milburn: Excellent questions. They're actually more common than you would think among people that are taking health seriously, because the short answer is we're not wanting to sterilize your environment. I think that's what you're getting at. We're not wanting to create a sterile environment. Now, if you're having an operating room, that's a bit of a different scenario where you're trying to be a bit more extreme. But for a home, we're not trying to sterilize, and we actually try to be careful with the language that we use, and we tend to use the term sanitize. But going back to that natural versus indoor thing is that I talk to a lot of people with extreme mold toxicity, sensitivities issues. I don't think a single person has ever told me in 10 years that they're reacting to mold outside. 

Obviously, allergens from pollen and stuff is different, but something like mold is naturally found outside, essentially everywhere. But when you trap it indoors and then it builds up in concentration and then all the dead fragments and everything stays there and keeps recirculating, that's where you start to have problems. So, to us, it has more to do with concentration than the presence of something. That's the true of most viruses, most particulates. It's when you get these higher concentrations that the body, which is very sophisticated and resilient to defend itself, that's where it starts to get overwhelmed. And especially in your home space where you're sleeping, you don't have the ability to recover and detoxify. 

So, we're an environmental company, so the human body is still [chuckles] a complex mystery to me, but we focus more on the environment, and if we can make the environment more natural, that's what we're going for. So, yeah, to answer your question, we're not trying to sterilize, we're not trying to make it so you live in a bubble and then anytime you're exposed to anything, now you're in trouble. But that's not the goal at all. We just want to take a very unnatural environment, on average a very unhealthy environment, which is our indoor spaces and we want to move them on the scale towards the natural. And so, when it comes to what's in our air, obviously, air is made up of a lot of different things from oxygen to carbon dioxide, but there's also all the other stuff. So, people are one of the biggest sources of contaminants in a home. But also, the things we use, the things we build with, the cooking, all these kinds of things.

So, we break those up into a few generalized categories. One is particulates. So, that's the physical matter. You can think of the human hairs, the dog hairs, the dust, these are fragments of things. That's one category. Another one is biologicals. So, that could be viruses, that could be mold, that could be bacteria. And then the last one is the VOCs, so that would be chemicals. So, odors would fall into that, but also other types of chemicals. Chemical, you're going to have to deal with it differently than a particulate. Same with the biological. So, something that traps a particulate could trap a mold spore but not kill it. And now you're feeding it more organic matter, the mold has a chance to grow inside of the filter and you haven't killed it. Same with a chemical. A chemical can penetrate a very good filter and still go right on through. So, you need a different type of technology to deal with that. 

So, those are some of the general categories. But again, the goal is how can we naturally reduce these, naturally mitigate them because they're going to be there. Then we're very real world, so I talk to people all the time where they've got their home and they're trying to do the best with the chemicals they use to clean, the paint they use, the cooking that they do. But then they're sharing an apartment next door to another tenant that has very different lifestyle. And so, they could be smoking a lot, they could be making spices in their bathtub, I mean, they could be grilling. There're all kinds of things that they're going to do and those are going to penetrate the walls, they're going to penetrate pipes, they're going to penetrate your space. So, you have to deal with not only what's happening in your space, but also what's happening in theirs. 

So, there's a lot of real-world complexities. Then we also have to deal with many, if not most, homes and structures are not designed with air quality in mind. So, now you're having to put Band-Aids over some of the structural challenges where we can talk a lot about mold. But you could have a bathroom that's very humid and you're supposed to have an exhaust fan that takes that humidity out. But a lot of homes have an exhaust fan that isn't built properly, so that it's pushing the humidity into the wall and not out of the house. So, that's like a structural issue, and now you have to mitigate that. You have to deal with it. Sometimes, the remediation or changing the structure is too costly. So, now we have to suppress the mold, kill the mold, get out of the air in that scenario.

As HypoAir, we're trying to modify existing structures, so provide ways to either have plugin units, filtration, nanofiber window screens, modifying the HVAC system. So, we're trying to modify the existing structure, but then we're also working on around 20 patents to try to move the conversation forward on how we build structures, how we build HVAC systems, so that we can have better systems in the future. 

Melanie Avalon: So, with the particulates, the biologicals and the VOCs, like the odors, are those always VOCs, or can particulates have an odor, or is it that if a particulate has an odor then it's a particulate and a VOC together? 

David Milburn: Yeah, it's a good question. I think smoking is one of the ones we probably all relate to really well. We've worked with casinos in the past and they're very hard [laughs] to work with. But a single cigarette can put out something like 7,000 different chemicals and also particulates. So, you've got the particulates which are very penetrating, and we'll use the term PM2.5, but those are going to be penetrating into the lungs, the particulates, but then you also have the odors. So, you walk into a casino, you walk through the lobby, and then you go put your jacket in your hotel, and your jacket is off gassing chemicals. So, there's a mix there. Same with something like a wildfire. It could be burning a tree, it could be burning a car, it could be burning a home. And then those things are chemicals, particulates, there's a bunch in there and they're mixing together.

Another interesting example is something like mold. So, mold is going to be growing on a surface, living. It's putting out mold VOCs, so it's off gassing chemicals and then it's putting out spores, so these physical matter. If you kill that mold spore, so you break it into pieces, you've got these fragments of dead mold, and those fragments are just like any other kind of living thing, they've got chemicals in them, like, mycotoxin like liquids. So, it does get rather complex at some point, but those are just some of the general categories we break them into, and there're lots of overlap certainly between the categories, but that's a simple way of looking at it. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. That's super helpful. That actually tied in to my second question, which was, yeah, those VOCs and those particulates like you just mentioned, where you just can't get the smell out of your clothes, why does that happen? Is it actually stickier or is it a numbers thing? Why does that happen where you can't get the smell out? 

David Milburn: Well, something can off gas for a long time. So, that would be one answer to it. Probably, another common experience that we've had is something like paint or adhesive in a new floor or a new car smell is a very common one. So, a lot of times these materials are going to continue to leak gases. They're continuing to off gas for some time. And so, that's part of what happens with something like smoke where it's going to just keep leaking those chemicals for some time. And then the other one is that you haven't done anything to it. So, in the case of the cigarette smoke, you can get rid of that. You can use various technologies or ways to neutralize that, but in most cases, you haven't, so then they're basically just continuing to leak for a while and they're still there. So, there's been no mitigation.

Melanie Avalon: Because I'm just thinking about how-- I remember I had like a blazer and I went to a cigar lounge and no matter how much I washed it, I could not get the smell out. I was just perplexed by that. I was like, "What is making it [laughs] not come out?" 

David Milburn: Yeah, you've got fragments of that smoke in there that are continuing to off gas. You've got chemicals. Yeah, there're ways that you can do it using liquids, with our products. But you have to basically break that down. So, you have to break down the chemicals with something like soap. Soap isn't necessarily designed to break down some chemicals. So, there's sometimes different technologies that you're needing to use for different applications. Yeah, with the home, one of the ways we look at air quality is how can you reduce the source of contaminants. You can use different types of clean products, which is one of the biggest contributors. You can use different types of paints. You can be aware of what you're doing to bring contaminants into the space. But then the rest of the equation is now how do you mitigate it. You've got a dog that's part of your family. It's going to put out contaminants. You got to mitigate it. But where you can, you can reduce the source, but then the rest of the time you actually have to deal with the chemicals. 

So, with chemicals you can either absorb them something like carbon, you mentioned earlier, that's going to act like a sponge in your kitchen. It's going to absorb that chemical and basically hold it. There're various technologies that can break it down, like oxidize the chemicals, the same processes that take place outdoors where sunlight's reacting with minerals in the air and creating hydroxyl radicals. It's ripping apart the chemicals and converting it back into its basic components. So, you have to basically absorb it, break it down or exhaust it. So, one of the other ways that you can deal with chemicals in the home is, if you're cooking, you can have an exhaust fan or exhaust something in the window. You can create a breeze through your home. You open one window in one part, open another window, and so you're exhausting the chemicals, you're getting them out or you have to absorb them or break them down. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so enjoying this conversation. 

David Milburn: I'm glad. Let me just give a shoutout to anyone listening that makes it through these nerdy conversations. We know you care. If you have follow-up questions, we're happy to jump on a phone call with you afterwards. And so, I just always really applaud people that make it this far in these podcasts. Years ago, when I had my first one, we're talking for an hour and a half on micron size and whatnot. I was so blown away. But we know that you care and we're hoping this is helpful for you. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's just so helpful because I think so many people are interested in clean air. But like I was saying in the beginning, I think most people think HEPA carbon filter and then that's like it. They might think ionization. It's a very surface level understanding. So, actually, speaking to that, can we dive a little bit deeper into the different technologies? And then it's super cool. Your technology apparently was based on NASA technology, I think?

David Milburn: I'll walk you through some of that. So, we have a few different technologies and that's one of them.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, like, HEPA filters. What are those doing? 

David Milburn: So, I think of HEPA like a chain link fence. Things that are big enough are going to get stopped by the fence. Things that are small enough are going to fly right through it. It's a very dense chain link fence. But HEPA is a third-party rating system, one of several. There're about three big ones that rate the efficiency of a filter. HEPA, in particular-- Again, we can go as nerdy as you want on this, but HEPA in particular is rated for 0.3 microns, which is a diameter of particulates, which is considered the most penetrating particle size, so MPPS. But the short answer is that HEPA is like that physical fence, that stuff that is passing through it that you force through the filter is caught there. 

Air is like water though, so, it's going to want to move to the path of least resistance. It doesn't want to flow through that dense filter, so you have to use a fan or something to force it through the filter. So, in the case of a conventional air purifier in your room, a lot of ways that HEPA filter is only as good as the fan, not necessarily as good as the HEPA, because you actually have to force the air through that filter in order to have an effect. Something like mold could be growing on the wall next to the HEPA, it has to suck it up like a vacuum and push it through that HEPA filter to trap it in the filter in order to have an effect. Not all the air in the room lines up in an orderly line to go through the HEPA filter. It's circulating air. If you look at the fluid dynamics of something like a ceiling fan, which is exponentially more airflow than most air purifiers, not all the air is even passing through that. It's circulating. But yes, so HEPA is like that chain link fence that it's going to catch stuff. Something like a chemical is still going to go through it. Something that's too small is going to go through it. Actually, things that are smaller than 0.3 microns are easier to capture than 0.3 microns. I don't know if we want to get into that too much.

Melanie Avalon: Are easier to capture by HEPA or by something else?

David Milburn: By HEPA, actually. But when it comes to a chemical, you need something like carbon or some other type of material that's going to absorb the chemical and hold it. The thing with carbon, that's tricky, is you don't know when it's full. And so, with a lot of applications, we'll recommend redundancies. With air quality, you want more things to deal with, something faster. But that's the biggest challenge, I think, with carbon is. There's some innovation in that space, maybe it changes color or something. There're a few innovations out there. But for the most part, you don't know when it's full. Maybe an example that would be something like radon, which is coming up from the Earth, you really want to exhaust it from the house. But if you're using carbon, when do you know when the carbon is full? Well, when the carbon starts to off gas, well, now you've concentrating the radon into the carbon and now it's off gassing. 

So, once carbon starts to smell, now it's got concentrating chemicals in it. So, it's a good technology, but you just have to realize where the limitations are. Same with something like HEPA. Probably the biggest limitation of HEPA is it's really costly. In order to use it in an entire home, it's going to cost a ton of money upfront ongoing and with energy to push air through it. And then you still haven't killed things, you still haven't broken down chemicals, and a lot of times, you still haven't dealt with the source of it. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Okay. I have carbon bags. You can order them on Amazon. I just have them laying everywhere. Should I be doing that? [laughs] Now I'm just thinking because I kind of forget about them, and then every now and then I'm like, "Oh, maybe I should replace all of those." So, two questions. I guess, that would require air circulating, correct? 

David Milburn: Yeah, I think there's a net benefit to it, but overall, it's going to be relatively low when you're not forcing air through it and then when is it full. There're some ranges of quality, obviously, but some of it is just how much you have. So, there's literally how much volume of carbon you have to absorb the chemicals and then how much chemicals you have. So, one example would be, you have a wildfire and some of that smoke is leaking in the home. Well, now all your carbon is gone. It's all bad after that. You basically have to replace it. 

Melanie Avalon: When people put baking soda in the refrigerator, does that act like carbon? 

David Milburn: Baking soda is a really powerful tool too. That's a bit different. You can break down things with something like baking soda. 

Melanie Avalon: It actually breaks down things in the air in the refrigerator. 

David Milburn: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Just sitting there.

David Milburn: Yes. So, there're some filters even that use some form of baking soda. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Very cool. You probably couldn't answer this specifically or maybe it ranges. I keep saying conventional units, but they'll often have the change filter light. Is that normally speaking to the HEPA filters or the carbon aspect or both? Again, I know there're like tons of brands. I'm just wondering now when it says change filter because you said carbon, we don't know when it's full. 

David Milburn: Yeah, I think, in many cases, the best possible option that they can give to a customer to remind them, but it's not accurate to when time to change the filter is. So, a lot of times, it's just going to be based off of how much time has run through the system. Some more sophisticated ones might have a particle count, and then maybe it tracks the volume of air for a commercial system. I have to be a little cautious here because we've got some patents that we're pursuing in this area. But for a commercial system, you're looking at pressure drop. So, how much pressure is before and after the filter, so you know how clogged it is. But most like home units, they're not looking at that. When it comes to carbon though, it's got no idea. I've yet to see anything on the market that has a real indicator of how full the carbon is. The one exception is a company that we were looking at that has a color changing carbon filter, and I don't remember the company off the top of my head, I don't know how accurate it was. But we love that kind of thinking though. It's like how could you show when the carbon is full? 

Melanie Avalon: Have you brainstormed or thought of anything potential that could do that? 

David Milburn: Carbon is not really our focus, to be honest. It's a good tool, but it's not really something that we've looked at in that regard. Testing for chemicals is very expensive. And so, we have to be a little realistic. I'll give you some examples, because we've used multi-thousand-dollar VOC meters in a casino on Friday night, and they've found zero parts per billion VOCs. I was like, "Well, how is that possible?" It's because the meter is looking for a VOC type that isn't present. So, it's not that there's not 7,000 plus chemicals there in extreme concentrations is that the meter is looking for something specific and it can't find it. 

Now, the highest VOCs we've ever measured on those meters is actually in a hotel room after cleaning, which goes to show how dirty that is, but I would still say the casino is dirtier. But when it comes to chemical testing, the most affordable and accurate thing I've found is probably around $300 per sample. You seal the air in a chamber like a vacuum sealed little device. You send it to a lab or university and they deep freeze it. A scientist has to look at it and break down what are all the chemicals in there. It's not an easy process. So, all these meters, all these VOC sensors on the market, I think they're junk. It's not because they're not trying hard, it's just that technology just isn't there to measure chemicals in the air accurately.

Melanie Avalon: They freeze the air and then the particles freeze and they look at the particles?

David Milburn: Yep. It's been a little while since I remember talking to one of the leading university professors at UCI on how they did it. They were using-- Oh, I'm blanking on it right now. But yeah, they were freezing the samples, and then he was showing me how they could show the concentrations of each chemical. But otherwise, with these meters, you just can't. You just can't get an accurate. So, the whole TVOC, total VOC, I don't see how that can be a possible number. [laughs] It just doesn't work. You can't give a total VOCs with anything that I've seen. Again, we've used some of the most expensive ones on the market and they just don't work that well. It's not because they're not trying, but when you're looking for a specific gas, you're looking formaldehyde, you're looking for CO2 or something. There're ways that you can measure for that specific gas. But I'm very leery of any air quality sensor that has the TVOC or a VOC sensor because I just know it doesn't work. 

Melanie Avalon: So interesting. 

David Milburn: Now, something like particulates, you can get pretty accurate with particulates. There're various technologies, lasers and whatnot, where they can measure the matter in the air, sometimes the diameter. So, you're looking for PM10. And just to give an overview, I know you mentioned the infographic on our site, but if a human hair is around 100 microns in diameter, just roughly 100 microns, the human eye can maybe see around 40 microns. I forget exactly where the cutoff is. PM10 is referring to 10 microns and smaller. PM2.5 is 2.5 microns and smaller. So, that's the main category that you hear talked about is PM2.5. HEPA is rated against 0.3 microns, but a lot of the stuff we're talking about is much, much smaller than that, they're in the nano-micron scale or lower. Something like a water molecule is around, if I'm remembering right, 0:25 nano-microns. So, not on the micron scale with the PM2.5, on the nano-micron scale 0.25. This is really hard for us, I think, to all visualize because you're getting so small, but that's the scale that we're talking about. 

Melanie Avalon: And then going back, you said, for example, the HEPA captured 0.3 microns. 

David Milburn: The HEPA is rated for its efficacy at 0.3, because it's a particularly difficult particle size. And so, with HEPA, you've got a rating system. Most true HEPAs are like around H11, H12, H13, H14. All this stuff on the market that's super-duper HEPA, HyperHEPA, True HEPA. I think all that's just marketing and I think I equate it to my son comes home with an ultra-B plus. Well, you either got a B plus, you got an A minus, or you got a C. So, there's no ultra-B plus on this scale. That's the same with HEPA. They could be talking about something else, but if you're saying you've got super-duper mega HEPA, it doesn't exist. It's a grading scale. And so, you want to look for something that has a number to it.

So, H13 is about mostly considered medical grade. H14 is better. Beyond that, you got a ULPA filter. And so, it goes beyond HEPA. But higher is not always better. This is maybe where it gets a little confusing, but I think your HVAC system and maybe we can talk some more about that because to us it's so important. But if you have central air in your home, you have a furnace filter somewhere, most likely, you could put a MERV, which is similar to HEPA, it's just a different scale. A MERV-- [crosstalk] 

Melanie Avalon: That was my next question. 

David Milburn: Yeah. So, like a MERV 20 in there or you could put a brick wall in there, and it's going to be really good at stopping particles, but it's going to be really bad for airflow. So, you could put a MERV 20 in your HVAC, and you could potentially damage your fan because the fan isn't designed to push the air through that, and so you're getting less airflow. So, for some of these applications, and I think with plugin purifiers too, you're better off with higher airflow, with lower noise, noise that you can handle, higher airflow pushing through more filter media than necessarily having the greatest ULPA filter on Earth that they use in hospital. But yeah, so, all the HEPA stuff, a lot of that's just buzzwords and a very competitive market with a commodity. 

Melanie Avalon: The MERV thing is the struggle. I broke my air conditioner going too high with a MERV filter.

David Milburn: Sure. Yeah, there you go. I'm sorry to hear that you had to deal with that. But that's the example that we give because if you can think about more airflow is better in that case than putting too much pressure on the fan. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I felt like I was tiptoeing around my AC unit. I was slowly titrating down the MERV level till I found one where it wouldn't make it freeze. So, yeah, quick question about that. With the MERVs, in general, across the board, is one typically too high or does it depend on the power and the efficiency of the system? Do people have to trial run to see which MERV is best for their system? 

David Milburn: There should be a better way to answer this question. [chuckles] I'm going to be honest, because it should be on your HVAC system. This is what it's designed for. For whatever reason, that's not common. I don't think trial and error is the right approach because the error is very costly. But on our site, we have a partnership with a company that builds in custom for us with MERV and carbon combined for the HVAC. We think that's for whatever reason, a missing piece for most residential home HVAC filters. But we offer 10 to 14 MERV, 10 to 14. Going much higher than that is pretty rare, but normally around 10, 12 is pretty safe. But it's one of those things where it's like, shouldn't your system just say [laughs] it can handle this.

Melanie Avalon: That would be so helpful. 

David Milburn: I have literally been in-- I won't name drop them-- out them, but I've been in high end biohackers homes, and their furnace filter has a MERV 1. That's what it came with. A MERV 1, it looks like a spider web, except for a spider web would be more effective than this. You could poke your finger through it. It's so porous. But for whatever reason, the HVAC industry just doesn't make that real easy on you. So, there's not a great answer to that question. If you know the person that installed it, maybe they can look up some info. Trying to look up by model number and stuff, it's a nightmare. So, it's really difficult. But we recommend around 10 to 14 and something like a 12 is pretty safe. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, another category also in this. So, a lot of units come with an ion button. I'm just looking at one of my units. So, what is the ionization or the negative ions technology? 

David Milburn: Yes. So, ions refer to a lot of things in the real world. But in the air purifier space, ionization typically refers to negative oxygen ionization. So, with a negative ionizer, which is, what almost all of them are, you're producing relatively small concentrations of negative oxygen into the environment which can have benefits. When we got into the ionization space, there was a lot of assumptions that we're finding like, "Oh, waterfalls make negative ions and waves and stuff." We pushed back against some of those. From our testing, it's both positive and negative when you actually measure it in nature. With something like negative oxygen only, the challenge is that you're creating static. 

So, when you're only producing one charge, you create a bubble of static which can lead to this black wall syndrome where around the unit, there're a bunch of particles that stick to the purifier itself, and then the other potential negative consequences, negative ionizers typically produce ozone. So, ozone being O3. Ozone is going to be found on the National Park Mountain that I'm sitting on here, but it's going to be in really small concentrations. If you have higher concentrations indoors, it can be irritating to people with sensitivities. So, we tend to steer clear of ozone-related applications for home air quality.

Melanie Avalon: That's interesting about the static, because a lot of hairdryers will have an ion option and they say it's to stop static.

David Milburn: Yup. So, there're various ways that you can deal with static. Clean rooms is probably the best example where they're trying to use various forms of ionization. They might sequence between positive and negative. There's no blower ionizer, so there's no fan movement because sometimes fan movement itself can create ions. The blades on your ceiling fan can create static like ionization. If you look out the window in an airplane, there are these little needles coming off the wing of the airplane that as the airplane is cutting through, it's releasing the static through these needles. So, there're lots of-- static is an interesting conversation to begin with. But yeah, with a negative ionizer, it's basically creating-- [crosstalk] 

Melanie Avalon: We could have like a static podcast. 

David Milburn: Exactly, yeah. There're pros and cons. There're electrostatic filters, which I think have a lot of merit to them, but where you're using some sort of charge and then some sort of plate, oftentimes of the opposite charge to make things stick to it but still not reduce the airflow. There're ionic engines. So, we can go sci-fi and we actually have a working prototype of one, two. There're lots of future applications where you're actually using different polarities to push something like a spaceship forward and it's like a real thing. So, ionization can cover a lot of areas, but when it comes to air quality, they use the term and it's referring to negative oxygen ionization. Then the other thing I might mention and not to go too deep on this, but if you use too high of a voltage when you're creating the oxygen, you create something called a corona discharge. And that's a lot of times where the ozone is created as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, is that ozone a concern with the ion options on peoples at home filters or purifiers? 

David Milburn: It depends. So, a lot of times, there's a whole market of ozone air purifiers. They use lots of different terms to not call it ozone. Sometimes, they do. Sometimes, they have claims like, "Okay, here is a little box unit and it covers a 3,000 square foot, three story home." And I'm just like, "That's just not possible." Even if you create a ton of ozone, it's still not going spreading evenly up to three stories. So, even if it's like the perfect little thing, it's still not being able to cover that. With a lot of those ion settings, I would think that there is ozone production. For most people, you're going to smell ozone a long time before it has any real problems for you. And especially, if you have sensitivities, it's just going to bother you. 

In order to have a real good impact though, you need the higher concentrations for it to be doing things like killing mold, odorizing like a smoke damaged building or something. You need those higher concentrations of ozone to have the benefit, but then you can't have the people in the space because it's no longer natural. You've gone beyond the natural concentrations of ozone. There's a lot of regulations too with ozone. So, that's like the thing that especially a place like California has really called out is like, "This is what we're going to regulate when it comes to air purifiers is ozone." 

Melanie Avalon: So, are there companies that specifically use ozone for commercial projects where they just wipe out everything with ozone? 

David Milburn: Oh, yeah, lots of those. Yup. There're various materials that you can use for what's called like fogging. There're a few other variations of that. But the idea is that you pump a structure, or room, a hospital room or something, you pump it with a really high amount of X. And then after that air is out, now it's clean. There're benefits to that. But from our perspective at HypoAir, we're trying to find ways to naturally suppress 24/7 in occupied spaces, because if you use hospital as an example and we've had a lot of headaches with hospitals over the years, but their mentality is, we need to sterilize this room to a great degree, so a six-log reduction, it's like 0.999. But the problem is, after it's clean, now they're bringing the people back in and there's nothing really [chuckles] to deal with the sick people. The spread once the people are back in and they do that deep sterilization so rarely that it doesn't seem like the benefit is there. 

The biggest thing hospitals really do is a ton of airflow. So, they do a ton of air exchanges to try to get rid of the bad stuff and bring in fresh air, but that's a different conversation. But when it comes to something like ozone or ozone fogging, yeah, there're lots of companies, technologies out there where you might drench a building with ozone and that can damage some rubber, it can have its own off gassing issues, but there can be benefits for it. We don't ever specifically recommend it. 

Melanie Avalon: You said you like the word sanitization, not sterilization?

David Milburn: Yeah, exactly. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Even in regards to what you were just speaking about with hospitals?

David Milburn: Well, hospitals are trying to sterilize, so that is a specific distinction. They're trying to sterilize a room. With the hospital, there're a lot of reasons for that. You're not trying to create a natural environment per se. You're trying to create a clean environment where you're going to cut someone up and you don't want something to get into that wound. That's really a different scenario really. Yeah, they're trying to sterilize. Sometimes, they do really silly things. And a hospital is not a safe or clean place in general. It's somewhere around 5% of people that walk into a hospital are going to get an infection from the hospital, so hospital-acquired infection. So, it's around 5%. A lot of that is just because the nature of you put a bunch of sick people in a building and use conventional technologies. It's really tough. But I think there's going to be a lot of innovation in that place and hopefully, technologies like ours can improve that. So, they're getting less obviously of that. 

The current mentality that we've run up against in the past is we're going to spend $80,000 to get a UV R2-D2 robot that two people have to use all the time. After a patient leaves, we're going to roll the robot into the room, close the doors, and it's going to zap that room to crazy and sterilize it. That's going to be a good job. And then seven days later, we're going to clean the room again. To us, we think that's silly. We would rather remove 99.99% 24/7 using a residential air purifier that we sell kind of thing. But that's just been the mentality in the past is like, let's sterilize the room after they leave. Sometimes, they do, what they call, high touch areas, so they clean high touch areas. But a lot of times, they're only doing that like once a day or something. So, then the rest of it is just maybe they have 20, 40 air exchanges per hour. That's really good. You're moving a ton of air through there, getting a lot of fresh makeup air. But when it comes to sanitizing air and surfaces, which is what we're talking about, not just air but sanitizing surfaces, we'd rather have natural sanitization all the time. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, super excited to dive deeper into that technology. There was the one more which maybe is integrated. So, is there any UV technology in your devices?

David Milburn: Yup. So, you mentioned earlier the NASA origins of one of our technologies. And so, we have a version of what's called photocatalytic oxidation, PCO. We have our own proprietary catalyst that we invested in years ago through our first investment in this space. That's a technology that's really effective against chemicals and odors as well as biologicals. We've moved a little bit further away from it over the years as we focused more on polar ionization for a lot of home applications. But when it comes to casinos, sewage plants, hotels, these large-scale commercial applications where you've got these high chemical concentrations, that type of technology is really effective. So, how that works is it's basically replicating what happens outside where the sunlight is reacting with minerals in the air creates hydroxyl radicals. 

Hydroxyl radicals are considered "the detergent of the atmosphere." They're very effective at ripping apart chemicals. There're other applications for it as well. But yeah, you've basically got sunlight. It's a UV reacting with a catalyst, which is conventionally, a titanium dioxide catalyst. And then that creates hydroxyl radicals on the surface of the catalyst. There're lots of variations of that in the market that have been commercialized now. They go by different names. Sometimes, they hide what it is. Sometimes, they're out in the open. Basically, it's UV reacting with a metal catalyst and that creates hydroxyl radicals. 

Just to explain, really the origins, NASA has a challenge where if they're going to Mars, they're going to have to recirculate the same air over and over again unless they can create new air. So, when you're recirculating the air over and over again, trace VOCs become a problem because those trace VOCs can build up over time. If you want to grow something like food, like you want to grow plants on a future deep space mission or Elon Musk, who's going to colonize Mars or whatever, you've got something like a plant that's going to be naturally producing something like ethylene gas. Well, that ethylene gas can be a problem for other things. So, how do you get rid of that without bringing an entire spaceship full of activated carbon filters? How do you do that without a ton of waste, a ton of energy, a ton of space? That was basically the origin of PCO. Let's replicate the sunlight, minerals, break apart the chemicals, break them down into CO2 and H₂O. You don't have to have a bunch of physical carbon filters to toss out the spaceship. [laughs] So, that was the origin. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Okay, two questions. One, so, I'm having a mind blow moment now. So, basically, the sun sanitizes the outdoor air by reacting with things?

David Milburn: Yeah, we have and this is actually something we're trying to be more intentional with, but we were currently writing a bunch of articles about all of these ways that air quality takes place outside. There're all these crazy processes that take place. But one of the biggest ones is that where you've got a sunlight reacting with minerals creating hydroxyl radicals, these are chemical reactions that are ripping apart the chemicals that come up. There're lots of other ways. Everything from spider webs which I already mentioned, which have an incredible ability to reach out and grab both negative and positive charge particles, incredible tensile strength, incredible little stickiness to particles. So, they're really good. Everything from like pine trees creating ions at the needles to-- We mentioned it before, but there's definitely ionization that takes place with water hitting things. There're plants that absorb all kinds of chemicals, and break them down, process them, whether it's in the soil where they're absorbing metals to absorbing chemicals and toxins and then converting them. There are all kinds of processes that take place outside and that's where we try to go to draw our inspiration for what takes place inside. 

Melanie Avalon: That is so cool. Wow. Do you know why, because I remember back in the past, I was researching the role of, if plants clean indoor air. I'd have to look again, but I feel like there were studies showing it didn't-- studies showing that they didn't. Have you looked at the literature? I'm just wondering why there was controversy surrounding if they do or if they don't. 

David Milburn: I think with a lot of things with air quality, I think the tendency is to oversimplify. That's probably the challenge. So, plants, especially some varieties, absolutely do. But do they do it in sufficient quantity to have the net impact that you're looking for? The answer with that is typically no. And then you also have other issues with you can have mold if your soil and the drainage isn't happening right. So, there're other challenges with it. But there're absolutely varieties of plants like the peace lily, snake, which I'm blanking on the name, snake something, that have been shown to have a really high ability to absorb chemicals in the air. But still, the net benefit, if you actually run a study, is relatively low per plant. So, you would need a rather large group. Something like a tree can do a bunch. There're even things like you can create outdoor air quality barriers with trees, which can have a big impact on something like road pollution or something. So, there're lots of impacts that that can have. 

I'm out here in a forest. There're incredible benefits that forest gives to the atmosphere, but it's on such a large scale. So, there're some applications that we've explored where you could even use carbon in the soil of the plant and even a fan to push air through it. There've been some studies related to that not done by us. There're other ways that you can use plants indoors and they can absolutely have a benefit. I think it's a good thing, but it's just the proper use of them, proper care. We work with things like commercial marijuana growers or commercial whatever, where you have to have an environment that's suitable for the plants, but that environment can also be suitable for other positive or negative biologicals in things like mold. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't know if you can answer this. I'm very curious. So, that original PCO technology for NASA, and then you made your HPCO, how did you tweak it or make it better? I know it's like proprietary. 

David Milburn: Yeah. So, that one I have to be a little cautious of. That was the original one that we invested in years ago. We saw so many applications for it and that's what we really started to commercialize. So, the basics of it though is we use different metals, so not just titanium dioxide, but there're other metals involved. And then we used nano-size particles of that metal on the catalyst. So, you create more surface area for the light to react with, and so you're creating more hydroxyl radicals. And then there're other elements to that as well. But those are the basics of it. You want to create a really high-quality unit that's producing it consistently and then in the large quantities inside the chamber.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. And then on your website, there're so many studies and research looking at your technology and it reducing levels of viruses and molds, and so many different things. There's one that even looks at food. Sorry, it was looking at stuff growing on food, I think. 

David Milburn: Well, both things, actually. We have a lot of aspirations for the refrigeration industry in general as it relates to potentially you or a listener, one of the applications for the technology, the polar ionization technology, is commercial ice machines. So, a commercial ice machine, especially one that's in a restaurant that bakes their own bread, so they've got yeasts in the air. A lot of times, they're filling that ice machine in the restaurant with ice that they carry from the kitchen. So, there's a lot of yeast in the air, gets in the ice. You've got a damp, dark environment, that ice machine gets filthy. There's one study that looked at-- It was not a real sophisticated one, but I think around 10 restaurants, including some of the ones that you have been to, and the toilet water in that restaurant, the public toilet water was cleaner than the ice machine.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I was a server in restaurants for years and years. And yes, the ice machine, ever since that, I was like, "I would not have ice from restaurants, if I were you." This is like at fine dining restaurants that I worked at. 

David Milburn: Yeah, and it's the same with something like a hospital too. So, the conventional way of dealing with that is to hire someone to come out, shut down the ice machine, physically clean it, and then turn it back on. You haven't changed the environment at all. For some places, and again, some really big brand names that you have been to order food at, the ice machines get so contaminated. I forget if it was every one month to three months. But it gets so green, swampy contaminated that the unit shuts down. It cannot produce ice. It's so filthy. So, they have to spend a bunch of money on paying someone to come out and clean it. Well, they don't like spending money. So, they put our technology in there, install it in the ice machine to kill those things, suppress it where it's growing to save money. They don't care so much about the sanitation of it. We do. But for them, let's have less labor to clean it. 

Well, we take that same technology that's killing the biologicals inside of an ice machine, and we applied it to something like your HVAC system. So, your HVAC system is a damp, dark environment. You've got these cooling coils. You might have a hole in dehumidifier that's basically concentrating the moisture. Well, that thing is going to be prone to grow mold. We want to kill the mold there and then convert that system into an air purifier. So, you can have plugin units and we have plugin units, but we would rather convert your HVAC system into an air purifier and leverage the power of that instead of having a little plugin unit, which has a lot of benefits, but the HVAC system is really powerful. Conversely, you could spend $10,000 on HEPA and you have a moldy AC system, you're going to be losing that battle. 

Melanie Avalon: You mentioned the polarization ions. We didn't actually talk about that yet, did we? I know we talked about ionization earlier, but your technology?

David Milburn: Yeah. So, our technology, just to clarify, with polar ionization is we're not trying to create anything synthetic. What we're trying to do is replicate what happens outside. So, we're trying to split water in the air into the positive hydrogen and the negative oxygen, and we want to do that with no static and no ozone. That's what we have a variety of products that do them. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, very cool. 

David Milburn: Essentially, that's the quick summary. [chuckles] But with that technology, one of the benefits, I'll just dive right into that if we want. But with something like mold, we want to kill it on the surface. We want to suppress it where it's growing, just like in the ice machine. We want to suppress it where it's growing. We want to deal with the particles in the air by killing them first. But then we want to cluster the fragments together, giving them a positive and negative charge, so that they're heavier and they're stickier, so that they fall out of the air, they stick to a filter, they're easier to trap, they're easier to defend against. We don't want them to be in the air in the first place. We want to suppress it where it's growing, so you're not growing the mold. 

But then if you have mold in your air, we want to get it out of the air and then we also want to deal with the gases, the chemicals, and break those down as well. So, technology like that can do that, all with very little cost of install, which is really important to us and maintenance. So, we have to make these technologies practical. We have super high-end clients. We're in the tallest building in the world in Dubai. We are in like, "Hey, I have a 14,000 square foot villa, what do we do?" So, we have those clients, but we also work with a lot of people where they're a fixed income, they're downtown in an apartment, they can't move, the landlord doesn't care. So, we have to make these technologies as practical as possible as well. That's one of the things we like about polar ionization is just the upfront and ongoing cost is relatively so low, and yet the impact can be very big. 

Melanie Avalon: I really want to clarify and understand this. So, with the polar ionization, it does or does not require the air going through that some sort of filter and being caught. 

David Milburn: So, with the polar ionization, and I actually was just talking to someone in Florida that had a really interesting way of saying it just an hour ago. He was just saying, "You know, it's like an offensive way of doing it." I think that's a good way of saying. But with a HEPA filter, again, you're having to pump the air through it to have an impact. With the polar ionization, we're basically wanting to change the environment. So, you're making the environment more natural, so the ions are actually out in the environment. Airflow is still needed. And the more airflow you have, the better the technology works because you have more distribution in the ionization. You have more chances for contaminants to interact with it. But the short answer is you need a very small fan and in your case, a very small unit, then how does this work? It doesn't have to be big. It doesn't have to be bulky because the goal is not to force a bunch of air through a big bulky filter, but it's actually to get the ionization into the environment. So, unlike a negative ionizer, which can tend to have a clustering effect near the unit, this can travel great distances and you can have an ongoing impact in the environment itself. 

Melanie Avalon: So, with the HEPA filters and things like that, the air has to literally go through it and the things get caught. 

David Milburn: With the HEPA filter, the contaminant has to go through it. It is maybe another way of looking at it. 

Melanie Avalon: So, with a HEPA filter, if we had it in the room and there's air with issues way on the other side, in order for that air way on the other side to be dealt with, it would have to, because it's from circulation or whatever, go over and go through the unit. 

David Milburn: Yeah. So, you could imagine, maybe this is the first time I've ever used this analogy, so I don't know if it works or not, but I've got little kids, so we blow little dandelions, like the little thing on top, and it explodes into all these little spores, let's call them. [laughs] So, if you blew that in a room and these are big things that you can see, they would have to be sucked up into the HEPA for the HEPA to have an impact really. So, that is the limitation of HEPA. 

Melanie Avalon: And then with this technology--

David Milburn: We would want to make them heavier and cluster them together, so they fall out of the air. We can't evaporate them. You got to get them out of the air. With something like mold, you actually want to suppress it where it's growing, so you're stopping the replication. You don't want the spores to be produced in the first place. But if there are things in the air, you want to cluster them so they're larger, so they're less penetrating to your lungs, less penetrating to a filter. They stay airborne for less time, so you're less likely to breathe them in and have them penetrate your lungs. We want to get them out of the air and then they either have to get in a filter or you have to suck them up or you have to exhaust them. 

Melanie Avalon: The way that's happening, so say those particles are at the other side of the room, they don't actually have to go through the unit. The unit is taking in air, changing the ions in that air, and then those ions go throughout the room. 

David Milburn: Exactly, yes. This is one of the technologies, but that's one that we would say add to an HVAC system. So, your HVAC system already has the physical filtration. It already has a very powerful blower, so a way to move the air. It already has the duct system, so you can cover multiple rooms. Well, now we want to convert that into an air purifier. So, we want to kill the mold where it's prone to grow inside the HVAC, but then we want to leverage that power to ionize the rooms and then make the system more effective, keep it cleaner, longer, hopefully prevent future mold issues, but then also leverage it to be the purifier in the spaces. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. Yeah. So, actually, to that point, so you guys were so kind and sent me one of the units, and we can maybe talk about the options of the units. So, originally, I was using it in my car. That's what I was so excited about. When you guys reached out, that was the lure that got me. I was like, "Oh, something for my car." But now, I actually put it in where my HVAC is. I put it in that little closet. Is that where I should put it if I want to best address the whole apartment? 

David Milburn: So, it's very possible. There're so many variations of HVACs. It's hard to give you a quick definitive answer. But as long as that in the closet means in the airflow, then you're getting the benefit. Sometimes, there's a closet where there's a separate system that is, the airflow is not actually in the closet, it's going through the system. But as long as it's in the airflow, the HVAC, so if there's like a filter exposed there or something, that's-- [crosstalk] 

Melanie Avalon: That's where I put the filter in. It's like the whole unit and that's where the MERV filter is. 

David Milburn: Yes, so you're getting benefit there. One of the disadvantages with that unit, that's not the unit that's designed for the HVAC. So, we have a unit that's designed to actually install in the HVAC and that one would magnetically attach to the blower. So, you would go past the filter and it would be installed after the filter, but you're getting benefit at the filter. So, you're increasing the filter efficacy, you're killing anything that's landing in the filter essentially, you're helping basically the system that way. The way that we would typically install an HVAC is at the blower, so you're converting that blower into the base of the air purifier and then you're getting more benefit downstream than necessarily where your unit is. Your unit is probably a little bit undersized for the size of your apartment. And you and I could have a more detailed one-on-one conversation if you want on that. Same with anyone else that's listening. You could call us, email us, give us specifics on your home, your situation. A home could have-- let's say, a 3,000 square foot home could have a single blower. It could have five separate HVAC systems too. So, there're a lot of variants here. But the idea is that you want to convert any fan system in your home in the HVAC into the air purifier. 

Melanie Avalon: The one that's made specifically for the HVAC, is that something that consumers install themselves or do they have to have somebody install it for them? 

David Milburn: Yup. So, we've got a few options there. And so, for years, we actually sold them through HVAC contractors, but they're charging $2,500 apiece. We sell them most of the time around $900 and no replacement parts for life. Probably the majority of our customers now install it themselves. We do recommend a licensed electrician just so you don't shock yourself. But there's no special tools, there's no screwing, there's no cutting. It magnetically attaches and then it just needs power. And so, we do have a partnership with a virtual electrician that will actually do a screen share with you. He's a master electrician, and they have all the safety protocols, and they'll basically look through your camera. They can draw on your screen in real time and walk you through it. That's one option that we've come up with. Yeah, for a lot of people, they're getting a handyman, they're buying their neighbor a beer, they're getting their father-in-law something, because maybe it's a 5, 10-minute install in most cases and then you're done. 

Melanie Avalon: So, if I move, can I bring it with me to the next place? 

David Milburn: So, it's easier to uninstall than it is to install, but you still have to follow all the normal electrical safety, because it's wired in typically to the blower itself. So, when the blower of your HVAC comes on, that's what's feeding it power. You just have to turn off the breaker and you'd have to unwire it. But it's easier to uninstall. So, that could be a two, three, five-minute thing to take it to the new home and a lot of people do that. 

Melanie Avalon: Which technologies were used in this one did you say? 

David Milburn: This one specifically is polar ionization. Each unit is designed for up to 2,400 sq ft. If you have a 5,000 square foot home with one blower, you can put two in there, [laughs] so it can stack. So, we use the same thing with hospitals, with aerospace manufacturing, it's the same unit and it can scale to essentially any size HVAC system. 

Melanie Avalon: This will address viruses, molds? 

David Milburn: Yup. So, it's going to provide that sanitization effect. And so, we want to help with the particulates, the chemicals, and the biologicals, both in the air and on surfaces, specifically in the HVAC itself.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, odors as well? 

David Milburn: Yup. So, with that technology, it's a bit weaker against complex odors with an electron volt potential greater than 11. That's a [chuckles] complicated way to say that for a commercial situation with high concentrations of chemicals. We're going to recommend supplementing other technologies like the NASA one we were talking about before, the PCO, with this technology. But for homes, we find that this is the most practical way to check all the boxes that matter to most customers. Then if you have really smelly dogs or something like that, there're other ways to supplement the odor reduction of the system. But when it comes to the biologicals, particulates, the things that are going to typically contribute to the real impact of air quality, this is where it really excels. Because you don't have to cut the system, you have no replacement parts, it makes it very practical to give whole home, basically full spectrum coverage with little cost.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. What is the technology in this small unit that you guys sent me? 

David Milburn: Could you describe it? Is it a white one that plugs into the wall?

Melanie Avalon: It's white it plugs in. Looks like a visor. 

David Milburn: Yup. So, that'd be our Germ Defender and that one is polar ionization as well. That one does have a prefilter with a washable prefilter and optional HEPA carbon. But the polarization has the same impact as the HVAC I. It's just for smaller areas. So, that one typically, we're recommending for smaller rooms, like, 100 sq. ft. And the limitation there is the airflow, not the power of the ionization. So, if you have more airflow, you can actually cover larger areas. But we basically design that for rooms that are more isolated. So, they're used in a lot of dental operatories, for instance, where you could have a dental clinic. It's a relatively small clinic, but they have 18 rooms in that office, so they have to have a unit in each room. And so, it's a very minimalistic unit to cover all those spaces. You have a bunch of them. If you have the HVAC option, you don't need the plugin unit in most cases. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, if I get the HVAC, I could put that in my car. Do you recommend people put things like this in their car? 

David Milburn: Well, a car has basically all the air challenges that a home has when it comes to air quality, plus some, in most cases. So, you're going to have potential issues with mold, you're going to have issues with particulates, certainly odors, and then all the road pollution and everything else. So, it's absolutely something we recommend for cars as well. It's the kind of unit that you could take traveling with you. So, we have one size up called an Air Angel that provides that technology plus that NASA based one, the APCO technology. And that Air Angel is going to give a bit more of that chemical removal for hotel rooms, which can be typically quite contaminated, and then also for the car where you have more power there. But either unit is going to give you coverage for single rooms, cars, hotel rooms, offices. It's portable. 

Melanie Avalon: I think I actually have the Air Angel. 

David Milburn: Okay. So, does it plug directly into an outlet or does it have a cord? 

Melanie Avalon: It has a cord. 

David Milburn: Okay. So, that's the Air Angel. So, yeah, that one's actually more powerful than the Germ Defender. And so, that one can cover larger areas. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, that's the one right now that I have plugged in inside of the HVAC closet.

David Milburn: That's a great application for it. In general, with the HVAC, our unofficial rule of thumb with it is, if the HVAC covers less than 1,000 sq. ft, you're probably better off with something like an Air Angel just from a financial perspective, just because it's such relatively small HVAC system. Once you get above 1,000 sq. ft, there's a lot of cost savings to doing the installed version. Below 1,000 sq. ft, you could have something called a mini split that covers 200 sq. ft. Well, it probably makes more sense just to put an Air Angel near the intake or the exhaust of that system, and that's just going to be a quick, easy, powerful way to do it without having to deal with installing in a more expensive unit, because the HVAC unit can cover, again, up to 2,400 sq. ft each of them. So, it's really designed for pretty good-sized homes and especially since you can stack them or a larger home, you could have a 4,000, 5,000 square-foot home, you might have two separate blowers. Well, you maybe have one or two in each system. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, now I'm just wondering, what is the longevity of the devices? Because now I'm just thinking, should I get another Air Angel and then do the way I'm doing it and then put one in my car or go ahead and just invest now in the HVAC and then when I move, ultimately take it with me? 

David Milburn: Yeah. In general, if you have central air, we're very quick to recommend that as a more efficient long-term solution. It doesn't have any moving parts that's designed for the long haul. The whole home system for the HVAC is basically 100% US made with US components and it's designed for the long haul. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, got you. One last specific question. In one of the technologies, and maybe you just mentioned it now as well, I was reading on your website, it was saying that it worked for odors, but it would take a little bit longer. 

David Milburn: Yep, that's the polar ionization. So, that's where I was saying, it's like a little bit weaker against those complex odors and higher concentrations. That's the polar ionization only. So, in your case, you have both technologies in the Air Angel. And so, those are going to be working together plus that other technology that NASA one, the APCO one, that is very powerful against complex chemicals and higher concentrations of chemicals. 

Melanie Avalon: You guys have conducted studies on COVID with your technology?

David Milburn: So, the Germ Defender, the little one, not the one you have, but the smaller one, to our knowledge was maybe the first or among the first air purifiers in the world tested against SARS-CoV-2. So, not to be super technical here, but SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease, COVID. So, we have no studies on COVID, but we've tested the virus that causes it. At the time, that was in summer 2020, everything was crazy. We had previous testing on the MERS coronavirus, so a previous coronavirus with the APCO technology. But the Germ Defender is our most minimalistic, simplest unit, and we had it tested as if it was a surface disinfectant. So, at the time in summer 2020, basically, the whole world was freaking out. They didn't know what was going on. No one knew what was happening. And so, there were three labs in the US that were allowed by the CDC to test for the virus, but they were not allowed to make it airborne. So, we couldn't test as an air purifier. So, instead, we tested as a surface disinfectant. 

So, the Germ Defender was placed near a Petri dish that had the virus in it and was able to kill it. Yeah. Actually, sure. Sorry. To be more accurate, a virus isn't alive, which I cannot wrap my head around. I got to be honest, it just does not make sense to me. I read a lot about it, but it doesn't make sense. But basically, what it's doing though is it's disabling its ability to disinfect, so it's breaking down the spikes of the coronavirus in that case ripping the protein from them, the hydrogen, so that it's no longer-- it can't be infectious anymore. So, it's neutralizing the virus. 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny. So, right when the pandemic started-- Do you remember how right when the pandemic started, there was all the podcasts about it? Everybody was talking about it. 

David Milburn: It was wild. For us, it was absolutely crazy. I'm going to be honest. 

Melanie Avalon: I remember at the very beginning, it was okay to talk about it, and then it got controversial. So, I was like, "Oh, maybe don't do a podcast about it."

David Milburn: We sent an email to our customers in January of 2020 and we said, "Hey, we've got some questions about this. We're tracking this. There's this thing over in China that's happening." It was early and we're like, "Yeah, we've got studies on past coronaviruses and we're just keeping you informed." Within a couple of months, we'd sold out of everything we had, and we were having hospitals googling online like, how do you purify the air? They had no idea and they're just finding us. But to your point, we had things on Amazon, products on Amazon, we had our website. We didn't change any of the words. And suddenly, our listings were being taken down by algorithms. We were being blacklisted and stuff and we're like, "Hey, guys, we've been here this whole time. [laughs] This is not like just like snake oil that just popped up. We're not trying to take advantage of the situation or anything. This has been there. We've been there saying this for these years, and no one cared before, but now our sites are being literally delisted, taken down, strikes against us." And we're like, "Here're the studies from before." This is early. This is probably, I don't know, March, I guess, of 2020. 

So, yeah, to your point, it was no longer okay to say viruses or germicidal or anything. And so, we actually had to dumb down our website. We had to take studies off, we had to change words that we had had there for years, so that we would comply to our tech overlords. I get why they're trying to help us stupid people. It was very difficult for people to find legitimate options at the time to give some protection back when no one knew what was happening. So, it was tricky.

Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. Yeah, the reason I thought about it was, so when it first started, I was like, "Oh, I'll do the podcast." So, I had David Sinclair on right at the beginning. I was just freely talking about COVID and viruses and everything. [giggles] I think the first question, and it's very rare that I remember the entirety of or the first question or anything, but I think the first thing we discussed was, I was just like, "What is a virus?" And I was like, "How is it not alive? I don't understand. Please explain this to me." I was like, "What's driving it?" [laughs] 

David Milburn: It's pretty wild to me. Yeah, I have come back to it over the years being like, "Okay, I'm going to figure this out. Really good idea, but it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense." But for us, it's basically how can we naturally neutralize it and naturally reduce concentrations? Because it's not just the presence of this stuff. If you looked at your skin right now under a microscope, there're all kinds of good and bad stuff on there, but it's the concentration which you're exposed to when you're susceptible to it that tends to cause the problems. So, we want to be suppressing those concentrations. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow, this is so fascinating. And then just while we're talking about the sanitization-- Is it a different brand? You guys also have cleaning products.

David Milburn: Yup, like, at our heart. Again, so we're more like the R&D company. We're an investment company. And so, one of our investments-- Again, I like your question right there. It was a little awkward for us to try to bridge these two, but we're like, "We got to figure it out." We'd invest in this other company probably 10 years ago that does large scale water treatment, big scale stuff. Garbage trucks, dumpsters, sewage plants, the five largest waste treatment facilities in the US like big scale stuff. One of the things that was developed there was a zero VOC nontoxic cleaning spray. We're like, "Well, we needed to bring this to the home because so many of HypoAir customers are very sensitive to chemicals." One of our goals is to reduce the source of those contaminants. One of the biggest sources is cleaning products, fresh spring smell or whatever it is. These are synthetic chemicals that are trying to make it smell better instead of actually reducing the odors on a molecular level. 

So, TotalClean is a cleaning product of ours. That's a spray. We're basically marketing as an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner. We can't make other claims right now because it's going to cost us a million bucks in a year to make anything else. I'm just being real honest here. So, it's all natural, all purpose, just natural cleaner, odor, stain remover. But the goal of that is how can you reduce the VOCs in your environment with the products you're using? This is another tool for you to use. It's the same power that we use in literally a garbage truck. It's another tool that you can use at home to actually get rid of odors, whether you're spraying it in the air, spraying it on something like your jacket there with your smoke smell. It's just another tool for you to have. 

It's best with organic spills. I've got a bunch of little kids, so spilling a milkshake or something, it's fantastic. It's just another tool to use. And so, that's a product that we plan to be launching in more and more varieties, but currently, we sell it as like a ready to spray, but then also a concentrated formula. And the concentrated formula to us is where it's at once you get going because the cost per spray bottle becomes very low at that point. But it's just another tool for you to have. This year, HypoAir will be launching a lot of other related products, I don't know if we want to get into it. But one of the things we're looking at is you like to open your windows to get fresh air from outside. That's great. Most windows, if they have a screen at all, it's like this old insect screen that you can stick the point of a pencil through ant can crawl through it. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm looking at it right now. 

David Milburn: Yeah. So, we've got a nanofiber window screen that we're bringing out probably in a couple of weeks, like two, three weeks. And basically, here's another way that you can get fresh air, but also be filtering out things like spores, even some PM2.5. So, it's going to be reducing the contaminants that are in the outside air, and you're still able to get the fresh air while reducing those contaminants, all with something that's transparent that's possible to use in a window. So, we're going to have a lot of other products this year that are not necessarily "air purifiers," but are very much part of the air quality process. If we can move that forward without just coming out with a different-shaped HEPA purifier, we want to move the conversation forward with how can we have more natural indoor environments. A lot of times, that's just changing the product you use to clean your toilet with or to spray the air with. Instead of using a car air freshener, which is adding chemicals to the air, well, maybe let's spray a product like TotalClean, which is actually going to be breaking down the odors. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad we're having this conversation. It hadn't occurred to me for the odor purpose of TotalClean. So, I'm really obsessed with it. It uses a form of iodine, right? 

David Milburn: Yup, it's an isolated iodine formula. A lot of people think of iodine as that old brown stuff, but this is an isolated iodine and copper-based formula. So, it's nontoxic and it's very effective, very powerful. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Listeners, I'm obsessed with this stuff, because there are so many cleaning products out there. I'm tiptoeing a little bit. Are there words I'm not supposed to use about it, or can I say anything about it? 

David Milburn: I would prefer given this platform that we focus on odor and stain removal and just all-natural cleaning. We can't make any germicidal claims. We're not making any claims related to anything like that with the product. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, got you, all-natural cleaning. I'm always trying different and by the way, I have a supplement line and so I know what you go through with the claims and everything. It's funny, whenever we're releasing a product, I'm always writing up content and blog posts for it, and I have to send it to my business partner, and they send it through their claims department, and then it comes back to me, and I'm like, "You took out everything." [laughs] 

David Milburn: You can't say anything. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: In any case, so with the TotalClean, what I love about it is I'm always trying different products all the time. I have a really fabulous housekeeper who I always want to give her products and I'm like, "Try this and report back and let me know how it does." And TotalClean, ever since I started integrating it into everything, I'm sold. I order the concentrate, like you said, make the spray bottles. It literally just smells and feels like-- It looks like water. The safety of it is incredible. I think on the phone, you told me, not that you can adjust it, but it's very safe is the point. 

David Milburn: Right. We don't recommend it, but yeah, we have other versions that have been registered for applications of the body. Yeah, like spraying on the face, even. But with this product, it's just an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner. Yeah, the way it was originally developed was, among other things, you have a waste dump next to residences, like a residential area, excuse me. You got a lot of odors there. Well, you can't just pump a bunch of bleach into the air or something like that. So, you have to do something that's both nontoxic, but also effective against the odors. So, they were using these giant cannon things to spray this product into the air to deal with the odors from the trash dump while also being nontoxic. 

And so, that's really important to us, where you're not off gassing more VOCs, you're not doing something that's unnatural that the body is not suited for, and you're still able to get the performance. 

Melanie Avalon: It was like a mind blown moment as well, because like I said, I've tried so many other products in this space. I'm like, "This is what I've been looking for." Something that looks like water, has no smell, does everything I need. This is what I've needed for so long. So, thank you. So, for listeners, actually, who would like to get some of these things, TotalClean, and then all of that technology that we talked about with the different options for air sanitization, which I cannot recommend enough. So, David is so kind. He is offering our audience 10% off coupon code with the coupon code MELANIEAVALON. So, that will work site wide on anything. So, thank you so much for that. And that's all at hypoair.com. I think we dive deep into everything. Was there anything else that you wanted to draw attention to for listeners? 

David Milburn: There's probably 1,000 scenarios that I've heard that we didn't talk about. And so, if that's one of yours, we've got close to probably 200 articles on our site about very niche nerdy air quality topics. You're welcome to explore those, or you could be very busy and not want to read through all that. So, just contact us, ask us your questions. We'll hop on the phone with you to hear the unique scenario that you have and it could be something we've never even heard of before. But we love to do that. Air quality is not one size fits all, and a lot of times, it's personalized recommendations and it can be overwhelming and a lot to digest. But I just encourage you to reach out to us and we'll try to steer you in the right direction, give you some honest feedback on some options, and then you can take it from there. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I thought of one more quick last question. Travel, so if I'm traveling and I go to a hotel room, especially what you were saying earlier with those studies on hotel rooms, the Air Angel or the smaller one, the Germ Guardian, will it address the issue right away? 

David Milburn: I'm going to give you a long answer to that, a little bit long answer. [chuckles] My favorite recommendation for travel in a hotel is to ask the hotel if they have any options for hypoallergenic stay. Because we're installed in some hotels. For a long time, it really bothered us because we're like, "Why don't you tell anybody? Why don't you say that you have some rooms?"

Melanie Avalon: Are you serious? 

David Milburn: Yeah. They didn't want it to seem like the rest of the hotel was dirty and they didn't want to invest in it for every room. So, a lot of times what they do is they have it for a couple of rooms or one floor or something. In that floor or those rooms, they use different cleaning products. Sometimes they use different bedding, sometimes they have, yeah, HEPA products available, sometimes they have our products installed. But I just encourage people to ask and because a lot of times they save those for the problem people, me and you thing where you walk in a hotel room and you're like, "Wow, this really smells like chemicals or mold. I can't stay here." And they're like, "Ah, don't worry. Here's our hypoallergenic room or something." 

But yeah, I just encourage you to ask. You don't have to be annoying about it or anything like that. But sometimes, they have options available. If you ask and they have no idea what you're talking about, maybe you stay at a different hotel. But a lot of times you don't have that option. So, that's the first one I'd say is just if you can get a cleaner room, that's good. It doesn't mean it's a more expensive room. It doesn't mean the expensive hotel is cleaner because we work with some really high-end hotels that are not clean. And so, it's not necessarily a price tag option, but it's just some hotels do, some don't. But if you're going to hotel room, we're going to recommend that you plug in the unit, and go out to dinner if you can, and give it some time to work. 

There's no easy answer on how quick it's going to work because we have these larger commercial units that some famous hotels use in their maid service where they plug it in while they're cleaning and helps sanitize, deodorize the room. A lot of times, it's doing in 30, 40 minutes. And then some rooms are so heavily contaminated that they're leaving it overnight, they're leaving for a couple of days. So, there's no silver bullet here because that hotel room could be significantly dirtier than your home. The idea is to get you reductions and to get you a safe place where you're sleeping. But the longer you give it to work, the better. But that hotel room, you could have mold. We're never big on scare tactics, but we're just talking realities here. They could have a lot of biological contaminants, they could have someone that smoked a ton of marijuana for the whole weekend, and now it's in all the fabrics. 

We've had hotels where they literally have customers cooking over an open fire, like, a coal fire in their hotel room. So, you see the whole thing in a hotel room. And so, that space is going to be more contaminated than your home. You can't really control it. So, something like an Air Angel is going to be your best bet to basically plug it in, give it some time, and it's going to continue to reduce and protect the areas that are closest to it, and then expand out from there. Yeah, there's no quick and easy answer to that just because there could be such significant contamination of a hotel room. Sometimes it could be very quick, but either way, you're getting reductions and some protection. There's a lot of very noteworthy people in the biohacking space that they try really hard at home to create a safe place. But then they go into a hotel room, they can be very reactive. So, they can use something like an Air Angel and they've had good success with that to create safe places on the go. So, it's a good application for it. Yeah, if possible, start with a cleaner hotel room. If not, if you have to stay in that smoking hotel room, that's moldy, give it as much time as you can and it's going to be reducing those contaminants. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so glad I asked that question. That was such a gem of information. So, it sounds like for a lot of people, like we talked about, there's a range with your products and options, but the Air Angel is a good one, where it would have a lot of multipurpose uses. You could take it traveling, you could put it in your car.

David Milburn: Then same with-- You asked about the hotels, but a question I've got several times, I think, in the last week is, what about an Airbnb? An Airbnb, well, it could be one room, it could be a sprawling mansion. There's such a range there. That's a really hard question, but when it comes down to it, if you can have the Air Angel for the room that you're sleeping in, you're going to be a world ahead. But something like an Airbnb, you could be stepping into a home that has all the complexities of your own home plus more and you probably can't deal with all of that completely in one weekend stay. But if you can create a safer place where you're sleeping, that's going to be, I think, the first goal and then just go from there. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Oh, wait, sorry, one last question I just thought of. With the units that are using the technology, like we talked about, where it's actually causing the ionization, it's causing the polar ionization and it's causing the things to drop out of the air. So, that does require you to vacuum, I'm guessing, or wipe down surfaces?

David Milburn: Yeah. So, ideally we're suppressing it before it gets into that ambient air, both through the HVAC system or through suppression to begin with. But the secondary goal is if there's anything in the air, we don't want you to breathe it in when it's so small. So, we want it bigger, we want it out of the air. I think we all got this a bit of an education bit forced down our throat during COVID with droplets, and how long things stay airborne, and whatnot. But essentially, the longer it stays airborne, the smaller it is, the more penetrating it's going to be for your lungs, the more likely you're going to breathe it. So, we want it to be bigger, something like a cat hair. We're not going to evaporate that cat hair. It's got to go somewhere. So, it's either going to go into a physical filter or you're going to want to clean it up or vacuum it up. Definitely if you have carpet, that's its own situation. 

If you've got 20, 30-year-old carpet, the carpet itself might be falling apart. Every time you step on it, you're kicking up things. You could have old dead spores in that carpet. So, sometimes a good quality HEPA vacuum is going to be a good piece of your air quality tool chest, but it's got to go somewhere. So, we want to stop the particulates before they come into the home, if possible. Nanofiber window screens, HVAC filters that are good. And then we want to remove the things that are there by making them larger, heavier, and then getting them caught in a filter or vacuumed up, so you're not breathing them in when they're so penetrating. 

Melanie Avalon: Just to double, double clarify, so when you say caught in the filter, for example, the Air Angel does not have that filter, correct?

David Milburn: Air Angel has a washable prefilter in the Air Angel. Mm-hmm, yup. So, that helps as well. But there's also other filtration in your home too. So, just your AC system has that furnace filter. In your case, you've got an Air Angel installed near a filter. Well, you're increasing the efficacy of that filter significantly and then also purifying the air too. 

Melanie Avalon: So, it could be a benefit still if I had the Air Angel, and then there is like this other HEPA filter unit.

David Milburn: Oh, sure, yeah. This is, again, where if you contact us, we'll talk through a lot of those unique scenarios. But for a lot of people, having a healthy HVAC system, that's all you do. That's all you need. You're golden. I talk to people basically every day or every week where it's like, "My daughter, my son, my husband, me, has such and such respiratory challenges, Lyme disease," whatever it is, very symptomatic. We're going to throw the kitchen sink at that until there's relief. And so, with something like HEPA, combined with any of our technologies, including the whole home, you're increasing the speed of removal, which can be very beneficial for someone that's dealing with high toxicity. And so, we're going to recommend something like an H13 HEPA. So, getting back to that rating system. Not super-duper mega HEPA, but something like H13 or H14 HEPA with a good amount of airflow, that's going to increase the speed of removal. But not everyone can afford that. To put an entire house is going to be very costly. But for someone that's dealing with respiratory challenges, definitely something like an H13 HEPA is recommended for the bedroom at least until you can get relief. That's just going to increase the speed of removal. Is it necessary? It may not be necessary. Is it beneficial? Yes, it could beneficial. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, I'm just looking, like I said at the beginning with my seven purifiers. 

David Milburn: Yeah. Right. Exactly. Yeah. So, basically, the only thing you're looking for with existing air purifiers is you don't want the filter to be too old, because then it can be contributing to air quality problems itself. It could be contaminated. The carbon is totally full of chemicals, so now it's off gassing. The HEPA filter is full of mold spores that are growing. So, there're lots of scenarios where that filter is now old and now it's a negative, but for the most part, more ventilation is better. So, your blower and your HVAC system running more often or all the time, it's not a lot of energy. Ceiling fans, other fans, more ventilation is going to better for a home air quality in general. And then if you have physical filters, you can leverage them to greater efficacy with our technologies and then you may or may not need them. 

Same with if you had, God forbid, a wildfire down the street from you, you want to throw everything you can at that. We have articles on our site specifically when it comes to contaminant releases or these emergency situations where you might want to try to use weather stripping to seal up windows, try to make your home tighter for those emergencies, and then once you see the emergency, then you don't need it anymore. 

Melanie Avalon: You said there's a prefilter in the Air Angel, so that does require replacement?

David Milburn: There's a washable prefilter. Yeah, it's washable. It's a steel prefilter for them. 

Melanie Avalon: Because I haven't washed it. How often? 

David Milburn: I'm going to be honest. A lot of people never wash it and it's okay. [laughs] Probably every three months would be a good idea. But it's just a prefilter. That one's more for the function of the unit, not for air quality. It's just to help keep the fan and everything cleaner. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, I just really want to draw attention to that for listeners, because I think they're so used to units that require always ordering these new filters. With your technology, that's just not the case. So, awesome. Wow. Well, thank you so much, David, for your time and for what you're doing. Now I think listeners can understand why that phone call with you, I was like, "This is amazing."

David Milburn: Hopefully, we can help some people with the conversation and definitely reach out to us if we can help you. We're going to be trying to come up with better and better ways to do this, and get really for folks, and try to make those indoor spaces more natural. 

Melanie Avalon: You said you're working on a refrigerator unit thing? 

David Milburn: We're working on a lot of things. [laughs] I'll put it like that. [laughs] Yes. Yeah, home refrigerator application is a good one that we're looking at too. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Any links that we want to put out there? So, hypoair.com, the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you 10% off site wide. Any other resources for people to check out? 

David Milburn: I think start there. I think I mentioned it, but we've got somewhere around 200 articles on very niche conversations. We've got a lot of resources on there. But again, it's a lot of words to read, so feel free to just reach out with your questions too.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, thank you, David. The last question I ask every single guest on this show and it's just because I realize more and more each day how important mindset is. So, what is something that you're grateful? 

David Milburn: Am I grateful? I am grateful for a lot right now. The typical one is going to be my kids. I got four little beautiful, crazy kids and wonderful wife. The family is so important to me. But I will say that I am grateful to be on this mountaintop right now. We're on an adventure as a family [chuckles] to a new home. So, we're adventuring together. Yeah, lots to be thankful for. I've got beautiful starry skies at night here, and I'm used to the city in California. So, I'm grateful for some space for my family to be on an adventure together as we look at a new home out here. 

Melanie Avalon: So amazing. Well, thank you so much, David. I am so grateful for what you're doing. I really cannot describe enough how grateful I am. You're just changing people's lives with your technology, and I really appreciate the education that you're doing surrounding it, because I think that's so, so important. So, thank you so much. I'm really excited to see the future. Well, I will talk to you later. Bye. 

David Milburn: Thanks.

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