According to the EPA, air cleaners and HVAC filters are designed to filter pollutants or contaminants out of the air that passes thru them. Air cleaning and filtration can help reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses. Portable air cleaners (AKA as air purifiers) may be particularly helpful when additional ventilation with outdoor air is not possible without compromising indoor comfort (temperature or humidity), or when outdoor air pollution is high.
When used properly, air cleaners and HVAC filters can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a building or small space. By itself, air cleaning or filtration is not enough to protect people from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors.
In order for an air cleaner to be effective in removing viruses from the air, it must be able to remove small airborne particles (in the size range of 0.1-1 mm). Manufacturers report this capability in several ways. In some cases, they may indicate particle removal efficiency for specific particle sizes (e.g. “removes 99.9% of particles as small as 0.3 mm”). Many manufacturers use the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating system to rate air cleaner performance. Others indicate they use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.
COVID 19 has created a new set of challenges that organization must deal with as well. As we try to adapt to this “new normal”, managing indoor air quality within commercial buildings becomes more of a challenge. In addition to the social distancing, facial covering, temperature screens, hand washing and sanitizing and surface cleaning and disinfecting the challenge becomes maintaining a safe workplace environment. According to WHO (World Health Organization) “The COVID 19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from nose when an infected person coughs or sneeze….”. Talking and breathing can also release droplets and particles.
The COVID 19 crisis and its effect on indoor air quality environment leads into evaluating the building air handling and circulation parameters, HVAC system. The aspects under consideration may be:
- Fresh air supply and distribution
- Units air filtration system – MERV-13
- Site occupancy based on the fresh air supply and social distancing – ASHRAE and COVID 19
- HVAC units and associated ductwork cleaning and disinfection
- UVC utilization
- Use of supplemental HEPA air filtration units
Detail Associates is available should you have any specific questions regarding your facility. Stay safe.