Frank Hammes, President and head of Research and Development for IQAir joins Craig to discuss why it is important that we all breathe clean air. They will discuss what to look for and what to avoid in purchasing an air purifier for your home and why healthy indoor air is not a luxury but a necessity and his passion.
For over 40 years, IQAir has been at the cutting edge of indoor air purification. Started by two German brothers in the the early 60s, today IQAir is an international, Swiss-based industry leader in the field of hygiene air purification. When clean, healthy indoor air is of the essence, IQAir is able to provide air purification solutions which are highly effective and yet affordable.
IQAir’s innovative strength stems from their own research and development, manufacturing and marketing for all their products. This rare approach has led to products which are able to set new standards in performance, style and quality.
- Do you suffer from allergies? IQAir is also the #1 air cleaner recommended by doctors for families with allergies and asthma.
- Are you in charge of infection control in a major hospital?
IQAir has just the right air purification solution for your indoor air quality problem.
For 40 years they have manufactured air purifiers that have transformed ordinary indoor spaces into pure air sanctuaries.
The modular technology they use has finally made world-class air cleaning affordable – everywhere and for everyone.
The world leader in ultra-high efficiency medical grade air filtration products. IQAir makes air purifiers for both consumer and professional applications.
When the SARS epidemic was at its peak the Hong Kong Hospital Authority chose IQAir as the only air cleaner suitable to be used in the fight against SARS.
IQ Air’s expertise is unique and their products carry more #1 reviews than any other product in the air purifier category because of their ultra-high level of filtration efficiency.
This ultra-high level of air filtration efficiency makes IQAir the top choice for medical and industrial applications.
Their air cleaning systems are used:
- In hospitals to absorb particles as small as the SARS virus, tuberculosis, and MRSA
- By embassies around the world to protect workers from weapons grade anthrax and ricin
- By museums to protect priceless antiquities from sub-micron particle corrosion
- By Olympic athletes as part of their training program
- By military field operations to protect computers and communication equipment from particulate corrosion
- By the Smithsonian Institute to keep the live butterflies in their “Live Butterfly” exhibit alive.
IQAir’s HealthPro Plus is America’s top rated air purifier.
Frank lives between California and Switzerland. IQAir’s manufacturing is Swiss based, but our distribution offices are in Los Angeles, California, so Frank splits his time between two countries.
Frank also appears regularly on the popular ABC TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as the head of “The Clean Air Team.” (8 episodes.) The Clean Air Team appears in special white costumes and are the only returning regulars on the show. (Our whole-house system, the Perfect 16, just won Reviewboard Magazine’s 2006 Product of the Year and was originally developed by Frank for “Extreme Makeover.”
The IQ Air Story – A 40 Year pursuit of Air Cleaning Excellence
No longer classified as top-secret, HEPA air filters became popular in the 1970s and 1980s as more consumers became concerned about air pollution. With the introduction of dozens of products featuring HEPA filters, new and exciting ways to control allergies and asthma finally became widely available for residential use. Originally, the first HEPA air purifiers were bulky, difficult to operate, and traditionally used only in hospital and pharmaceutical settings and among computer chip manufacturers. Then businesses began to take notice of indoor air quality concerns among residential consumers.
In response to the growing demand for cleaner air, Incen AG, the Hammes brothers� newly formed company moved to Switzerland and began developing and manufacturing residential air purifiers in 1971. After many years of international success for Incen AG, Frank Hammes, son of Klaus Hammes, began to distribute cabin air filters as add-on accessories for Mercedes-Benz automobiles in 1990. In 1991, Frank Hammes formed IQAir North America, which has promoted the continual growth and success of the air purification industry. In 2002, IQAir air purifiers became the first air cleaners to incorporate H13 class certified HEPA filters, which capture up to 100 times more particles than conventional HEPA filters. H13 class certified HEPA filters, up to that point, had only been used in hospital clean rooms.
In 1963, Manfred and his brother Klaus introduce a simple filter system for residential users in Germany. Their simple system consists of a filter pad that attaches with small magnets to the air outlet of residential coal ovens. As cold air rises through the oven and heats up it passes through the filter where the dust gets trapped. It is the first air purifier to find its way into household usage. The product is initially sold on the premise that it helps to reduce the black dust build-up on the walls behind ovens. Soon though, Manfred a lifelong asthma sufferer notices that the filter reduces his flare-ups during the winter months. Over time numerous users report that the filter appears to relieve their allergy and asthma symptoms.
Klaus, a mechanical engineer by training, continues through the 60s and 70s to adapt the filter for other heating systems, such as radiators, baseboard heaters and forced air heating and cooling systems.
After a heart attack, Manfred passes away in 1981. Klaus looking for suitable location to grow the company, relocates it to Switzerland. From Switzerland international expansion begins into the rest of Europe and the United States.
Just having graduated from England’s Cambridge University, Frank Hammes, Klaus’ son, decides to join the family business. Having grown up with air purification all his life, he shares his father’s passion for clean air. After successfully promoting, a cabin air filter for Mercedes-Benz automobiles in North America, Frank turns his attention to fan powered room air cleaners. What he finds is a large discrepancy between consumer room air purifiers and large commercial air cleaning systems. While the commercial systems are large and expensive, they are also very effective. The smaller consumer room air purifiers on the other hand turn out to be ineffectual. The decision is made in 1994 to develop a new kind of air cleaning device. It would take Frank and a team of Swiss and German engineers four years of intensive research and development to build the world’s most effective line of compact air purifiers.
In the spring of 1998, the first IQAir system rolls of the new production line of the Swiss factory. Initially only available in Europe, the HealthPro Plus receives its first major recognition in September of 1998. Europe’s leading product testing organization, Stiftung Warentest, finds the HealthPro Plus to outperform all its competitors in one of the most comprehensive air purifier tests ever devised.
In 2000, IQAir air purifiers finally become available to the United States. They become an instant success with allergy and asthma sufferers.
In 2001, Klaus Hammes’ second son Jens, joins the family business and helps the expansion of IQAir into Asia.
In 2002, IQAir become the first and only room air cleaner to receive a H12/13 certification for its HyperHEPA filters, normally only available in multi-million Dollar cleanroom filtration systems. In February of 2003, newspapers report the rapid spread of a terrifying disease. It’s labeled as severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, a highly contagious condition caused by a new corona virus for which there is no specific antiviral treatment. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) initiates a rigorous testing to evaluate the performance and suitability of room air cleaning systems for this virus. Their tests quickly verified that most systems fall short of removing the virus. After weeks of testing and the installation of several trial systems the HKHA chooses IQAir as the best room air cleaning solution for hospital rooms with suspected SARS patients. IQAir is awarded contracts to supply room air cleaners to more than 150 hospitals and health care facilities in Hong Kong in the fight against the spread of the disease.
In 2004, IQAir is selected by the American Lung Association as an educational partner to advance public education on issues of indoor air quality. One of the first educational campaigns addresses the problem of ozone-producing room air purifiers.
Over the course of year 2004, a number of important national product review organizations publish tests and reviews recognizing the superior air cleaning of IQAir room air purifiers. IQAir’s air cleaners receive top ratings from Consumers Digest Magazine, Reviewboard Magazine, Allergy Buyers’ Club and Consumer Search.
In the Summer 2004, IQAir is approached by the producers of ABC’s award-winning TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They want IQAir to help create America’s healthiest home for a family with 6-year old girl that received a heart transplant. The project makes TV history and is subsequently honored by the American Lung Association. It sets the foundation for many more episodes in which IQAir provides “extreme” air purification to families with serious medical issues.
In the autumn of 2004, Frank Hammes turns the attention of IQAir’s research and development team to furnace filters and whole-house air cleaning systems. Similar to his experience with room air purifiers ten years earlier, he discovers that whole-house air cleaners fall terribly short of the needs of allergy and asthma sufferers.
In December 2005, IQAir introduces a much anticipated line of whole-house air purification systems. These systems shatter the performance barrier of existing furnace filters and whole-house air purifiers. The Perfect 16 becomes the world’s first whole-house filter system to receive the prestigious MERV 16 rating. IQAir also introduces a new commercial motorized HEPA filtration system with air deliveries of up to CFM 1200, the CleanZone.
Today, IQAir’s founder, Klaus Hammes, has retired but remains an advisor to the family company that is lead by his two sons, Frank and Jens. Frank splits his time between the Swiss factory where he oversees IQAir’s research & development and California, where he coordinates IQAir’s marketing with the IQAir North America office. Jens Hammes, continues to lead IQAir’s sales effort in Europe and Asia.
IQAir Air Purifier Company
“My father and his brother started our family company in Germany. They introduced the world’s first home air cleaner in 1963. The history of room air cleaning begins with IQAir,” says Frank Hammes, son of Klaus Hammes and President of IQAir North America.
As the developer of the first residential air purifier, IQAir continues to impress consumers. IQAir has the experience, resources, and commitment to produce air cleaners of the highest caliber. With over 40 years of experience in the air purifier industry, IQAir has demonstrated that they take air cleaning to the highest level, often surpassing consumer expectations.
As a child in Germany, Manfred Hammes suffered from chronic asthma and allergies, leading him to join with his brother Klaus to create a simple yet effective air filter system. With the use of a filter pad with small magnets attached to an air outlet of residential coal ovens, the Hammes brothers filtered dust from heated air, thus creating the first air filter for household use.
After 1963, the company went through many changes, including incorporation under the name of Incen AG, still an industry leader throughout Europe. In 1991, Frank Hammes established National Environmental Control, Inc in Pasadena, CA. There, National Environmental Control joined with Mercedes-Benz to distribute cabin air filters as add-on accessories for the Mercedes-Benz luxury automobile line. The aftermarket product became so popular that Mercedes-Benz and Volvo began manufacturing the filters created by National Environmental Control.
After four years of research, the first advanced IQAir air purifier was introduced to the European marketplace in 1998. IQAir quickly gained a reputation for world-class performance and Swiss precision. Rated “Best Air Cleaner” in 1998 by Europe�s leading product testing organization, Stiftung Warentest, the IQAir filtration units represent the best in modern technology.
“For over 40 years we�ve maintained the commitment to build the very best air cleaning systems in the world. With IQAir, we have created the most advanced room air cleaners available today,” says IQAir President Frank Hammes.
Due to the success of the first advanced IQAir air cleaner, IQAir introduced a revolutionary, modular air filter housing design to the United States in 2000. The IQAir air purifier instantly became the best selling high-end room air purifier. Two years later, IQAir became the first and only room air purifier to incorporate H13 class certified HEPA filters. H13 HEPA certification verifies that IQAir air purifiers capture up to 100 times more particles than any other conventional HEPA air purifier.
The IQAir HealthPro exceeds the HEPA standard. The IQAir HealthPro air purifier is the only air cleaner to pass the world�s most advanced and stringent HEPA filter test, the EN 1822. This test certifies a filter�s absolute minimum efficiency for all sizes of particles. Traditionally, the HEPA filter�s efficiency had been measured at 0.3 microns, but over 90% of airborne pollutants found in homes and offices are smaller.
However, based on technology that IQAir developed for hospitals and multi-million-dollar clean rooms, the IQAir HyperHEPA filter has been EN 1822 tested and certified to filter down to 0.003 microns with a guaranteed minimum efficiency of over 99.5%. The IQAir HyperHEPA filter is now incorporated into every IQAir HealthPro series air purifier to ensure that every household has the best home air cleaning system.
In October of 2003, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) selected IQAir�s advanced air filtration systems as control measures to fight the SARS virus. After weeks of intensive testing by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the HKHA using a sophisticated laser particle counter on the HVAC system and room air cleaners, the EMSD determined that IQAir air filtration system was the only system that could remove the tiniest airborne particles, including the SARS virus, from the air. IQAir�s four-stage filtration process reduces the risk of contamination and spread of the infectious SARS virus.
“This is true prevention,” says Frank Hammes, “Hong Kong is breaking new ground in infection control.” In addition to Hong Kong, IQAir advanced air systems are used by hospitals and critical environments worldwide.
The IQAir HealthPro series is specifically designed to remove solid and liquid airborne particles and aerosols including mold spores, pet dander, dust mite, pollen, bacteria, and infectious microorganisms. With the use of IQ Air�s patented HyperHEPA filter and super efficient pre-filter, the IQAir HealthPro air purifier is the most efficient and effective air purifier on the market today.
In 2004, the IQAir Health Pro Plus air purifier and the IQAir GC Multigas air purifier were selected by Reviewboard Magazine to receive the Editor�s Choice Award for Best Air Filtration System: “So if you are looking for the best air filtration systems for your home then the folks at IQAir have what you are looking for. The IQAir Health Pro Plus will filter your air, control the mold, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, lite tobacco and general air pollution.”
IQAir has committed their resources to raising awareness about indoor air quality issues by forming a partnership with the American Lung Association (ALA). “IQAir brings many outstanding elements to the relationship,” says John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association, “including a clear commitment to the importance of protecting the public from air pollution indoors, which can often be two or five times more concentrated than outdoor air.”
“We are honored to partner with the American Lung Association (ALA),” says Frank Hammes. “They are the world�s most reputable organization committed to lung health. We share a common vision of providing superior scientific information on creating healthier indoor environments.” The ALA�s partnership with IQAir will combine IQAir�s 45-year commitment to air cleaning quality with the ALA�s 100-year commitment to preventing lung disease and promoting a cleaner environment. This partnership demonstrates IQAir�s dedication to providing the public with accurate and useful information and effective air purification systems.
The IQAir advanced air purifier systems have also been featured on the popular reality television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for a young girl who recently had a lung transplant. The system was so effective that IQAir was asked to by the show�s design team to create a high performance air cleaning system for families with HIV, cancer, and other life threatening illnesses. “We have taken our decades of experience and expertise to develop the perfect home,” says Frank Hammes.
The unique design of the IQAir HealthPro air purifier prevents shortcutting, which reduces the effectives of most air purifiers when the air outlet and air intake are positioned too close to one another. Shortcutting allows the newly filtered air from the air purifier to be re-filtered, which wastes air cleaning capacity on already filtered air. With its air intake and air outlet at opposite ends, the IQAir HealthPro efficiently cleans the polluted air in the room.
With independent filter stages, the modular design of the IQAir HealthPro air purifier allows each filter type to be replaced individually, instead of using time and money to replace a whole cartridge when only one filter needs to be replaced. For example, while the HyperHEPA air filter will last between two to five years with normal usage, the pre-filters need to be changed more frequently�every six to eighteen months. The IQAir HealthPro air cleaner also offers an Intelligent Filter Life Monitor, which calculates the life of each filter based on actual usage and ensures a long life for each filter.
With more clean air and less noise than standard HEPA air purifiers, IQAir air purifiers are perfect for homes, offices, pharmaceutical laboratories, production and research areas, hospitals, and medical and dental offices. The IQAir fan motor sits in the center of the filters, which absorb the motor�s noise. With a unique, double-walled housing design, the IQAir air purifier has eight shock absorbers, which hold the fan to ensure that the vibration is not transmitted to the outside environment.
As a Consumers Digest Best Buy, featured in the December 2004 issue, Consumers Digest found the IQAir HealthPro Plus air purifier to be “ideal for allergy sufferers.” IQAir air cleaning systems aren�t just for people who have asthma or allergies, but for anyone who wants clean air for their families. “We are honored by this recognition,” says Frank Hammes. “With so many air purifiers to choose from�this award helps consumers who are looking for the very best air cleaning.”