A treat for your air

Most of us are fastidious about keeping our home environments healthy, so why do we let the air we breathe “slip through the net” of regular cleaning priorities…?

Filtrete is a micro allergen filter that turns non-ducted air conditioners into effective air cleaners, reducing the presence of airborne particles that can affect human health. The filter represents a new category in health-related hardware retail products, and is unique in Australia as an air purification system for air conditioners.

Manufacturer 3M believes Filtrete has enormous market potential here as a product that can contribute to cleaner indoor air, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians — especially the two million sufferers of asthma, the 7.4 million who have some form of allergy, and the many others struggling with respiratory disease.

Filtrete was introduced into Australia late last year following nearly a decade of success in the USA, where Filtrete is a household name. Indeed, the Filtrete range in the USA enjoys a market six times larger than 3M’s Command range of adhesive products.

That’s because air quality products internationally are becoming increasingly important features of hardware store inventories. Filtrete uses electrostatically-charged fibres to capture air-borne allergens such as dust, bacteria, mould spores, viruses, pollen, smoke and pet dander.

It comes in a one-size-fits-all format and is suitable for most split-system and wall-mounted air conditioners. Filters are equally effective whether split systems are used in heating or cooling modes, so year-round appeal is assured. Users simply cut Filtrete to size (to cover 50%-80% of the inside of the air conditioner screening filter) and leave the product to work its air purification wonders.

The technologically-advanced filter requires only simple DIY installation. “It may come as a surprise to many, but 99% of particles in the air we breathe cannot be seen by the human eye,” says Kerri Cole, product manager for 3M consumer goods. “But these are the particles most harmful to us.”

While most air-conditioners come with built-in screen filters, they only trap large particles and are designed principally to protect the air-conditioner itself, rather than the people in the room.

“Filtrete fits over the existing built-in screen filter and helps improve indoor air quality by reducing invisible airborne particles that aggravate allergies and irritate the respiratory system,” she says. “It is 150 times more effective at capturing micro-particles than ordinary screen filters.”

Filtrete captures individual particles smaller than a micron in size. The material contains no unnecessary chemical additives, yet it does not promote growth of trapped bacteria, mildew, fungus or mould. Once the filter has been fitted, it will last for several months under normal conditions to provide cleaner air.

With 2.7 million Australians already owning room air conditioners, and installations growing by 15%–20% each year, Filtrete has a ready-made market. The Filtrete pack comes with an educational brochure and replacement indicator card, and can be presented in counter and clip-strip displays. There is also a video available for in-store display, as well as a laminated, double-sided board explaining the benefits of filtered indoor air.

Filtrete is also capitalising on the regular coverage the product receives on the Bright Ideas TV program. A comprehensive guide for account buyers offers additional advice on Filtrete’s target markets and product features.

Story by John Power