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Bi-Polar Ionization is not a Mental Disorder!

An Article Published in the HVAC Insider & Refrigeration, Georgia Edition

July 2010


“Bi-Polar Ionization is not a Mental Disorder!”

ASHRAE Standard 62 is the Ventilation standard that mandates what is required in a commercial building to insure good indoor air quality [IAQ] for the occupants. Part of what is required by the standard is acceptable Outside Air or Ventilation Air Cubic Feet per Minute [CFM].

There are two ways to determine this Ventilation CFM. The first is Ventilation Rate Procedure [VRP]. The second is IAQ Procedure. The VRP is straight forward. ASHRAE 62 has tables with CFM per square foot and CFM per person for various applications. For example in an average size classroom the resulting CFM per student is 15. If instead the Engineer uses the IAQ Procedure, he/she must prove a method is provided that will sufficiently clean the air of Contaminates of Concern [COC] to allow a ventilation air rate as low as 5 CFM per student.

Concentrating on IAQ Procedure for classrooms., the COC is body odor. This is where the bi-polar ionization also called Cold Plasma comes in. There are devices called Bi-Polar ionization Generators that split water molecules in the air into positive and negative ions.


These ions attach the components of body odor and break them down into harmless odor free compounds. This allows the Engineer to reduce the ventilation air while being assured that there will not be a body odor build-up.

There are huge other benefits to this technology. The ions that are generated also attack and kill many viruses, bacteria, allergens, and mold spores in the building. This will help reduce illnesses that hurt productivity.


Bi-polar ionization also helps removes particles from the air. The ions cause small particles to amalgamate. This means they clump together into large particles that fall to the floor or are picked up in the HVAC filters.

To re-cap the benefits of bi-polar ionization:

  1. Reduce odors by turning such odiferous compound as ammonia into its base elements that do not smell. Therefore OA CFM can be reduced to 5 CFM / person.
  2. It attacks and kills viruses such as H1N1 swine flu..
  3. They attack bacteria such as E coli.
  4. They reduce the number of active mold colonies.
  5. They attack and eliminate some allergens
  6. They reduce the indoor dust count by causing small dust particles to amalgamate into large particles so they can be filtered out of the air.

I for one think this is an amazing technology to do all these things and save the building Owner first cost as well as operating costs. This is possible because the ventilation air can be reduced by 2/3. This reduces the HVAC tonnage up front and operating cost for the life of the building.

This potential to reduce illnesses being transmitted between occupants reduces absenteeism. For a school system, this increases government funding based on daily average attendance. For a business owner this increases productivity.

There are two basic technologies used to generate ions. The oldest technology uses glass tubes with stainless steel mesh around it. The newest technology used stainless steel needles. The needlepoint method eliminates the need for expensive tube replacements. Another benefit of the needle technology is that it can be mounted in the return air duct before the filter. This way the positive and negative ions sanitize the filter and keep the cooling coil clean. This is especially important with MERV 13 filter and above, because 46% of the circulating viruses are captured by the filter. The person changing the filter can get sick when doing his job.

Bi-polar ionization has been around since the 1960’s. How ever it is just started in conventional HVAC systems. This Engineer’s opinion is that it is one of the best technologies to come along in many years.

Article written by:

Bruce Longino,
Director of Engineering Services
Carrier Complete Systems

Customer Testimonials

  • July 19, 2012 Dear Chris, as you know we had an extremely difficult resident's room with a strong smell of urine. We really thought it was a lost cause and planned on re-carpeting and padding the room. The 2 GPS-FC1-115V Plasma Generators that you installed in our Carrier wall mounted P-Tac units were absolutely amazing. We still can't believe it. Within 24 hours the odor was dramatically reduced and within 48 hours the odor was completely gone. The Plasma Generators are absolutely amazing. We will definitely plan on purchasing some in our new fiscal year. Thank you again!

    Christopher Jackson Executive Director, Residence on Greenbelt, Modern Assisted Living
  • February 2, 2012 Gwinnet County School have been using Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) products for over 2 years. They have been installed in new construction and renovated buildings. We have successfully used them in trouble areas that were experiencing odor issues. As the energy management technician for the Norcross District, I have 27 schools and 6 of them already have the GPS devices installed. Other districts within Gwinnett County Schools also have GPS products installed. Gwinnett County Schools has decided as the glass tube ionization style units require replacement they will be replaced with the GPS permanent ionization tube or entirely new GPS units. Advantages we have found using GPS:

    • The Global Plasma Solutions units require no maintenance after installation. We have some competitor units that require the bulbs to be replaced every 1-2 years and the bulbs have to be washed every 6 months to maintain proper output. In addition, the glass tube ionization bulb units have created some "metallic/Clorox odor" complaints, which the GPS product eliminates.
    • We have been able to reduce our outside air requirement by over half and still meet code. The reduction in outside air saves us a lot of energy and it reduces our overall construction first costs.
    • The GPS units are simple to install and wire up to the existing mechanical equipment.
    • No units have failed.
    Overall, the air in the buildings with GPS' units seems fresher. Personnel in schools with GPS' equipment have reported to us that they notice a difference in the indoor air quality.

    Tom E. Scott Energy Management Technician, Norcross Maintenance Facility
  • November 10, 2009 Dear Joe, This is just a note to let you know how satisfied I am with the GPS ion generators recently installed at my home. As you may remember, I live in an old (+/- 1856 AD) house on the hot and humid Mississippi gulf coast. The old frame house has a crawl space that seems to remain damp. My wife has always complained about the damp feel, and the mildew smell, in the house. A couple of days after the ion generators were installed we drove our grand-daughter back to college in Richmond, VA. We were gone for six days. With the house closed up for that whole time, we knew that this would be the supreme test of the ion generators. The generators passed with flying colors. My wife is happy, therefore I am ecstatic! The GPS ion generators have worked so well in my house, my wife has asked if I could buy some for our children's homes. My daughter that lives in New Orleans has severe problems in her AC system. I am sure the generators would really help her too. I will send you another order today!

    Chet Allred AIA, CSI, Allred Architectural Group