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improving air quality in tanning salons
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Improving-air-quality-in-tanning-salons

I am an owner of multiple tanning salons in the Southeast. I noticed that my air conditioning filters were virtually clogged every 20-30 days. I also noticed that my cooling bills were drastically higher than I anticipated when I opened these locations. After trying all of the big box store filters, I consulted with an air-quality specialist in my area and learned more than I ever wanted about filtration. This is what I learned:

Tanning salons produce a large amount of particulate (dust). This is due to skin exfoliation during clothing removal, towel and paper towel usage during the cleaning process, and occasional aerosol use. My air-cleaning expert verified this using a dust particle counter. This dust has the following effects on the salon:

1. The beds and furniture stay dusty.

2. The dust accumulates on electronics and fans, shortening their life expectancy.

3. The dust loads up on the filters of the air conditioning system with the following effects: The air flow through the filter slows down the air conditioning flow when the filters are clogged. This in turn causes the air conditioning system to run longer to keep the temperature comfortable. This causes the power bills to go up. In addition, when the filters clog up, there is less air flow in the salon. This is one of the major sources of the dust in the salon as the air flow is so low that the dust never makes it to the filter. Finally, all of the filters in the consumer market have a hard frame (cardboard edge). This hard frame is a prime candidate for dust bypass. The bypass gets even worse as the filter becomes more clogged. This dust loads on the cooling coils, making them less efficient. This drives the cooling bill even higher. Your cooling unit can even freeze up due to lack of flow.

I asked the expert for a solution, and he suggested that I go to a filter that is generally used in hospitals or pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. The filters are patented synthetic depth loading filters. I was very skeptical about the price I would have to pay for this level of quality. It turns out that the price was in line with and generally less expensive than the pleated filters available at the big box stores.

I have been using these filters for months now and have realized the following benefits:

•The filters easily last three months between the recommended change outs.

•My air conditioning bills have been reduced.

•General cleanliness at the salons has been noticeably better.

•I have my filters automatically sent to the salons when the change-out is needed.

I no longer have to worry about when to change my filters, what size they are or where to buy or store them. When they arrive, I change them out immediately.

I asked the filter specialist if I could use them in my home, and it turns out he uses them in his home as well. I now have direct ship to my home also.

Jackie Poston is the owner of Garner, N.C.-based “A Day at the Beach” tanning salons. The filtration specialist is Les Oakley of Oakley Air Systems – a degreed mechanical engineer that worked as a filtration specialist in the Nuclear Industry for 20 years. He has designed and manufactured numerous filtration systems from hospitals to bioterrorism test facilities. He has also received filtration testing certification from the Harvard School of Public Health. For more information on the filters, visit www.oakleyair.com, call 919.665.2560 or e-mail loakley@oakleyair.com.