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Clean Air Initiatives | Utilizing Bipolar Ionization in HVAC Practices

text 'Utilizing Bipolar Ionization in HVAC' , engineered temperature solutions logo, illustration of positive and negative ions in a commercial office building

Bipolar Ionization Explained

Bipolar ionization (also called needlepoint bipolar ionization) is a purification technology often integrated into HVAC systems and ductwork to improve indoor air quality.

It works by introducing both positively and negatively charged ions into the air. These ions have the ability to attach to and neutralize contaminants such as dust, bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The process encourages particles to clump together, making them larger and easier to filter out or causing them to fall out of the air.

Definition and History of Ionization

  • Ionization is a process that has been known for over a century, involving the creation of ions through the addition or removal of electrons from atoms or molecules.

  • An ion is an atom or molecule that has gained or lost one or more electrons, resulting in a net electrical charge.

  • The concept of bipolar ionization dates back to the late 19th century with the work of Sir William Crookes and his invention of the Crookes tube, which led to the discovery of cathode rays and electrons.


What Types of Bipolar Ionization Products for HVAC Does ETS Install?

Engineered Temperature Solutions (ETS) offers installation on a range of products offered by GPS Air.

Lets take a closer look at GPS Air, and the types of products and solutions that they offer.

GPS Air specializes in needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology, which is designed to enhance indoor air quality by reducing airborne particles and pathogens.

Here’s a summary of their offerings:

CI-2 Auto-Cleaning NPBI® Soft Ionization System, GPS Air logo

An auto cleaning and maintenance-free system designed to fit where traditional air ionizers don‘t, including fan coils, heat pump PTACs, ductless mini splits, ceiling cassettes, ducted modules, and traditional split systems and air handlers up to 2,400 CFM.

IDF-2™ ceiling mounted ion distribution fan

A ceiling tile fan with integrated NPBI™ technology, providing quiet operation and suitable for diverse indoor environments (conference rooms, classrooms, and open-plan offices).

GPS-iMod®, keeps coils cleaner and HVAC systems efficient, GPS Air logo

An efficient system that can be added to existing HVAC systems to improve air quality. Save energy and reduce labor by keeping your coils cleaner longer.

DM-2® auto cleaning NPBI soft ionization system, GPS Air logo

A duct-mounted device that can be installed onto circular ducts to deliver NPBI™ benefits. Ideal for complex duct set-ups and zone systems that are downstream of a Variable Air Volume (VAV) box.

PF-e™ and PF-i™ HVAC filter enhancement systems, GPS Air logo

Filter enhancement systems with Opti-Lok™ technology which improves an air filter's ability to capture sub-micron particles, making it more efficient.

  • PF-e™ has a low-profile design and can be mounted on typical outdoor air and return ducts.

  • PF-i™ is a self-cleaning filter enhancement system designed for mounting inside ducts and air handling units upstream of system filtration.

GPS-DM48™-AC, GPS-FC24™-AC, GPS-FC48™-AC lightweight needlepoint bipolar ionization systems, GPS Air logo

Lightweight, duct-mounted NPBI® systems catering to different airflow capacities.

GPS-FC-3-BAS soft ionization system, GPS Air logo

This soft ionization system is ideal for installation in fan coils, heat pumps, PTACs, ductless mini-splits, and air handlers (up to 3,200 CFM or 8 tons). Its compact size and simple mounting requirement allows it to be mounted almost anywhere in just a few minutes.

GPS-iRIB®-18 soft ionization system, GPS Air logo

An 18-inch soft ionization system made from a flexible heat and cold resistant inert polyimide material.

GPS Air’s products are designed to be user-friendly and are applicable in both commercial and residential settings, aiming to provide cleaner and healthier air.


The Benefits of Bipolar Ionization in Commercial HVAC

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Enhanced Air Purification and Pathogen Reduction

Bipolar Ionization has the ability to significantly reduce airborne particles, contaminants, and pathogens.

The ions produced by bipolar ionization attach to and deactivate harmful substances, making the air safer to breathe.

In some cases bipolar ionization may even neutralize odors. For example GPS Air did a case study at an OhioHealth building, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Timothy Coleman, the Facility Director for OhioHealth, stated, “We replaced the carbon filters on the AHU’s with GPS Air NPBI™ technology. We have not received an odor complaint for six months and counting."

Improved Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

Implementing bipolar ionization can cut the need for outdoor air by as much as 50%, falling under the minimum ventilation rate set by ASHRAE 62.1.

This reduction eases the workload on air handling units, allowing them to process less outdoor air and potentially leading to energy cost savings of 20-40% in HVAC-related expenses.

Cleaner Coils, Better Heat Exchange

Lower Operational Costs

When particulate infiltration into HVAC elements like coils, fans, and blowers is minimized, the frequency of required cleanings and services can be prolonged.

This extension of maintenance periods can result in reduced operational interruptions and lower energy usage tied to maintenance procedures.

Positive Impact on Employee Health

Improved indoor air quality can have a significant impact on employee health, reducing the incidence of respiratory problems and other health issues.


Implementation of Bipolar Ionization into Commercial Spaces

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Integrating Bipolar Ionization into Existing HVAC Systems

Assessment of Current HVAC Infrastructure:

Before implementation, an evaluation of the existing HVAC system is necessary to determine compatibility with bipolar ionization technology.

Installation Process:

The installation involves integrating bipolar ionization units into the air handling units (AHUs) or ductwork. This process typically requires minimal disruption to the current system.

Optimizing Airflow for Ion Distribution:

Proper airflow management is crucial to ensure ions are effectively distributed throughout the space.

Considerations for Business Owners and Facility Managers

Cost-Benefit Analysis:

It’s important to weigh the initial investment against long-term benefits such as energy savings, reduced maintenance costs, and improved air quality.

Regulatory Compliance:

Ensuring the bipolar ionization technology meets industry standards and regulations is essential for legal compliance and safety.

According to the EPA,

"If you decide to use a device that incorporates bipolar ionization technology, EPA recommends using a device that meets UL 2998 standard certification (Environmental Claim Validation Procedure (ECVP) for Zero Ozone Emissions from Air Cleaners)."

Vendor Selection:

Choosing a reputable vendor with proven experience in bipolar ionization technology is key to a successful implementation. Engineered Temperature Solutions works with GPS Air who is a leader in the bipolar ionization industry.

Maintenance and Operational Guidelines

Routine Maintenance:

Regular checks and maintenance of the bipolar ionization units will ensure they continue to operate efficiently.

Monitoring System Performance:

Installing sensors and monitoring systems can help track air quality improvements and system performance.

Training Staff:

Educating maintenance personnel on the specifics of bipolar ionization technology will help in troubleshooting and maintaining the system.



Bipolar ionization offers a multi-faceted approach to improving air quality in commercial spaces.

Its benefits extend beyond just cleaner air, encompassing energy savings, cost efficiency, and a healthier workplace environment.

For business owners and facility managers, investing in bipolar ionization technology can be a smart move towards a more sustainable and productive future.

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