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Perfect 16 with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition logo overlay

A star on television

When "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" needs to create a healthy home, they call on the Perfect 16.

In the Summer of 2004, IQAir was approached by the producers of ABC's award-winning TV show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." They wanted IQAir to help create America's healthiest home for a family with 6-year-old girl who had received a heart transplant. The project made TV history and was subsequently honored by the American Lung Association. It set the foundation for many more episodes in which IQAir provided "extreme" air purification to families with serious medical issues.

Bomstad family photo

How one family tamed nighttime asthma

“It’s a scary thing to have your young child sick and coughing in the middle of the night,” says Shelly Bomstad of Ramsey, Minn. Bomstad took action with help from IQAir.

IQAir systems selected by The Bomstad Family: HealthPro 250, Perfect 16

A mother in northern Ohio woke one recent summer morning and found her 7-year-old daughter lying in the bathroom, unresponsive. The girl was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital where doctors determined she had suffered a sudden and severe asthma attack in the middle of the night. It was too late to save her.

This scene is repeated thousands of times each year across the United States. Asthma kills more than 3,600 Americans every year, and 70% of those deaths involve nighttime asthma attacks. Often, the victim is a child.

About three-quarters of all asthma patients experience nighttime asthma symptoms. Physical changes such as nighttime hormonal secretions and changes in bronchial functioning play a role in triggering nocturnal asthma symptoms. But increased exposure to allergens during sleep also plays an important role. Fortunately, many people are discovering they can fight back against asthma by investing in high-performance air filtration that removes most of the airborne allergens that trigger attacks.

“Coughing in the middle of the night is a scary thing”

“Having your small child sick and coughing as hard as our daughter Ava was in the middle of the night is a scary thing,” says Shelly Bomstad of Ramsey, Minn.

“The coughing fits would go on for about three weeks and then suddenly stop,” says Shelly. “Ava began to lose weight and wouldn't eat. We just felt so helpless. Then she would go a few months with no symptoms. All of a sudden we would hear the coughing again and we knew it was starting all over again.”

Ava saw several doctors before her nocturnal asthma was diagnosed. At first her doctors recommended sleeping with her head on several pillows, sitting in the bathroom with the shower running hot water, and taking medications. Eventually, she was referred to a pulmonologist, who diagnosed her condition as nocturnal asthma.

It was at that point that Shelly and her husband decided to take action. They contacted the company that sold and serviced their home heating system, and asked about air filtration that could remove the triggers to Ava’s asthma. The heating company recommended only one product: the IQAir Perfect 16 whole-house air filtration system.

Glimmer of hope

“His recommendation gave us real hope that the Perfect 16 could help Ava feel better,” she says. The Bomstads installed the Perfect 16 to remove airborne particles throughout the entire house, and for extra protection also placed an IQAir HealthPro 250 room air purifier in Ava’s bedroom. The ability of the Perfect 16 and the HealthPro 250 to control the airborne allergens that were triggering Ava’s nocturnal asthma was apparent almost immediately after the systems were installed.

The Perfect 16 makes the difference

“It was like a miracle,” Shelly says.

“Within a short period of time, we noticed that Ava's breathing was better,” she says. “We noticed that Ava wasn't having to stay home from daycare anymore because of the asthma. After a few months with no heavy coughing or sleepless nights, we knew we'd made the right choice. She was sleeping through the night, gaining weight, and her mood improved. What’s more, my husband and I were sleeping better and were way less irritable too.” Ava’s older sister, Emma, and the family dog seemed healthier too, Shelly says.

“One of the best decisions we’ve ever made”

“When I think about the countless nights my husband and I spent sitting in a steamy bathroom, the hours of rocking Ava in the dark while listening to her cough or wrestling with her to take cough medicine that really didn't help, I know the money we spent on the IQAir systems was well spent. In fact, it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” Shelly says.

“I don't think there are words to describe what a difference the IQAir system has made in our lives,” she adds.

Dickinsons' family home

The Dickinsons: "You saved our baby's life."

IQAir transformed India Dickinson's home into a clean-air haven where baby Sophia's tiny lungs could breathe and grow. "You possibly saved my baby's life," she says.

IQAir systems selected by The Dickinson Family: Perfect 16, ParticleScan

A few years ago, the old house in which India Dickinson and five of her children lived in historic Beaufort, S.C., was falling apart. There was shoddy electrical work, a faulty foundation, flood damage. The needed repairs were overwhelming. Even frightening.

But it was the mould inside the house, between the walls, that scared India the most. The mould was growing and thriving like Spanish moss dangling from the trees in the yard.

India's baby, Sophia, was struggling to breathe since the first day home from the hospital a year before.

“It was very scary at night,” says India. “I would listen to her breathe in her crib. As her mom, I was afraid to sleep myself. I was wondering if she would stop breathing in the middle of the night.”

To make matters worse, India's husband Bill was stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines, unable to help from 7,000 miles away.

That was before ABC's hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” took notice of her situation and stepped in to coordinate the donation, design and construction of a new home for the family. 

And, as usual when air quality is an issue, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” called in IQAir's Clean Air Team to find a solution to a family's critical need for pure air to breathe. The Clean Air Team designed an air purification solution that would turn the new Dickinson home into a haven where baby Sophia's tiny lungs could breathe and grow, free from mould and any other toxins in the air now and in the future.

The Clean Air Team specified not one but two IQAir Perfect 16 air purification systems for the home's heating and air conditioning system. The two systems clean 100 percent of the air in the Dickinson home.

The Clean Air Team was also on the scene to inspect the installation and performance, using hand-held IQAir electronic particle counters to verify the systems were emitting pure air and to ensure the new home was free of airborne mould, dust, bacteria and other threats to Sophia and the rest of the family.

Since moving into the home in January, Sophia's health has rebounded. The medications are gone, the breathing treatments are no longer necessary, and Sophia is filled with energy and is a constant source of amusement and delight.

“Sometimes we don't appreciate how great 'normal' is,” says India. “But Sophia is now a normal, thriving toddler ready to take on anything.

“It is obvious that our air purification system has made this tremendous difference in Sophia's health. It has changed our lives and we will be forever grateful for this gift," India says.

Perhaps best of all, mother and baby are both breathing better and sleeping better.

“Clean air has not only changed our lives, it has possibly saved my baby's life. How can you ever put into words how that feels?” she asks.

“I no longer get up five times a night to put my hand on her chest and make sure she is breathing.” she adds. “IQAir is a blessing. Thank you.”

A healthy home for Baby Jaelyn

Baby Jaelyn's doctors said she needed an environment free from contaminants ro recover from her heart transplant. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called IQAir to help.

IQAir systems selected by Jaelyn Anderson: Perfect 16, IQAir Air Quality Monitoring Station

There is an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” For 16-month-old Jaelyn Anderson, it’s taken more than a village. It’s taken CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a global community of supporters – and the IQAir Clean Air Team™!

When Jaelyn was only six months old she developed myocarditis, a potentially fatal virus that causes the heart to swell. Doctors told her family that her only hope for survival was a heart transplant. But even with a new heart, her immune system was so severely compromised that for Jaelyn to go home in Port Richey, Fla., she would need medical-grade air to breathe at home. She needed a home virtually free of indoor environmental contaminants such as pollen and other allergens, dust, bacteria, pet dander, mould spores, even viruses. Any airborne pollutants could compromise Jaelyn’s delicate health.

Roger Anderson, Jaelyn’s grandfather, stepped in and coordinated a special fundraiser for the family to help pay the medical bills and provide a healthy home. Unfortunately, on Valentine’s Day, someone stole $3,000 that had been raised to help get Jaelyn a special whole-house air cleaning system. News media across the country carried stories about the heartless thieves.

By chance the story caught the eye of CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was touched deeply by the story of the little girl who needed a new heart and a healthy home. He knew who might be able to help her – IQAir’s Clean Air Team. After all, for nine seasons the Clean Air Team had worked with ABC’s popular reality TV series, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” building healthy homes for children with a variety of medical conditions. If anyone could help Jaelyn Anderson, it would be IQAir. Cooper contacted IQAir President Frank Hammes. Would IQAir consider donating their Perfect 16® whole-house air cleaning system for the family?

“I told them we’d be happy to help,” says Hammes. “But the Clean Air Team doesn’t cut corners. On hearing of the family, we had reason to believe there may be additional environmental problems with the home. We told them we would donate the air cleaning system, but only if the Clean Air Team could do a full indoor air quality inspection of the home.”

Brook Anderson, Jaelyn’s mom, wept as Anderson Cooper told the family on a special episode of his talk show “Anderson Live” that he had arranged for the Clean Air Team to help their family.

“It was an amazing moment for us,” says Jaelyn’s grandmother, Kathy Anderson. “I’m a longtime fan of ‘Extreme Makeover.’ I knew just who the Clean Air Team was. All I could think was, ‘Wow!’”

And Frank Hammes was very glad he insisted on first conducting the home inspection before installing the air cleaning system. The Clean Air Team conducted a number of scientific tests that revealed the home was infested with toxic mould. “It was really a worst-case scenario,” says Hammes. “There was toxic mould hidden inside every wall, in the ceilings, even beneath the carpet and cabinetry. To the naked eye everything looked perfectly fine, but our advanced scientific testing uncovered a severe indoor air quality problem that could have severely compromised Jaelyn’s health.”

Not one for half measures, the Clean Air Team enlisted the aid of Habitat for Humanity® to strip the home completely down to studs. All drywall, flooring, carpet, cabinetry and ceilings were removed so that the entire home could be remediated for mould. Then, the Clean Air Team set out to design for Jaelyn what would truly be America’s healthiest home.

Hard tile surfaces replaced the old carpeting that once acted as a collection point for dust, allergens and other environmental irritants. Only special materials were used that did not off-gas chemicals. Back to New Heating and Cooling, an IQAir Preferred Contractor in nearby Homosassa, Fla., donated the installation of the Perfect 16. Another IQAir Preferred Contractor, So Cal Air Dynamics in Tarzana, Calif., donated air conditioning and ductwork. They helped the Clean Air Team to give Jaelyn the healthy home she needed.

“The finishing touch came when the Clean Air Team arrived onsite to test the air in the house before Jaelyn returned home. “The monitoring station indicated the air in the home was at 95% purity and climbing within just an hour of activating her air cleaning system,” Hammes said, beaming.

And as the air quality in the home continued to improve by the minute, Hammes gave the Andersons the thumbs up. It was finally safe to bring Jaelyn home.