With concerns surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as more common illnesses such as seasonal allergies, the common cold, or the flu, many individuals and businesses have considered purchasing an air purifier. Although air purifiers are becoming increasingly common in many households, offices, and industrial spaces across the world, many people still doubt whether they actually make a difference. Some natural follow up questions on top of that would be; “If they do make a difference, how much of a difference?”, and “Can they help mitigate the airborne risks associated with reopening businesses as the fight against COVID-19 carries on?
Air purifiers are more than just a medical or industrial device. They’re becoming essential for businesses, schools, and governments agencies that have reopened their doors. Prior to the pandemic, air purifiers already worked wonders to rid the space of pollutants and contaminants such as foul odors, pet dander, dust, smoke, and pollen. These are all common allergens and irritants, and the high presence of these contaminants in indoor spaces can make them an unpleasant place to be, however, with the goal of current vaccines to minimize the effects of COVID-19 versus a classic “cure”, does air purification help to remove these new threats? All things being equal, air purification serves to continually dilute the indoor space with ever-cleaner air through aggressive recirculation, and is agnostic to every factor of a particle other than size, so the answer is yes, they do help.
One caveat however, is that while air purifiers can be extremely beneficial for minimizing discomfort and illness caused by pollutants, not all air purifiers are created equal. There are very few air purifiers that are efficient enough to be used in industrial environments, such as medical offices, care homes, clean rooms, and hospitals. If you are looking for an air purifier to reopen your business, you should look for one that has a high flow rate, low noise level, and an industrial HEPA filter.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Again, to put it simply, yes, air purifiers do work. But how they work, and whether or not all air purifiers work the same, is a different story.
Air purifiers use built-in, changeable filters that rid the air of contaminants that are circulated through the purifier by a fan. To put it very simply, the air circulation system pulls in contaminated air, filters out particulate matter, and outputs contamination-free air back into the environment.
Of course, the filter component is what’s doing so much of the work, so the quality of the filter is essential.
Contaminant, pollutant, and virus particles vary greatly in size. Moreover, pathogenic particles such as virus and bacteria are known to ride on larger particles such as inert dusts to spread themselves further within and across environments. Only quality air filters use a fine enough filtration media and an efficient enough internal system to catch even the smallest of particles. For example, the construction of mass-produced air purifiers often doesn’t include quality testing prior to packaging, meaning not all of the air taken in is going out the exhaust. What can happen instead, is air escapes the unit through seams and imperfections in seals, and thus the air bypasses the filtration in the unit and is released back into the environment.
So, while a mass-produced or less advanced filter may work for a small bedroom in someone’s home where there may be some dog hair or dust, that same filter will be wildly insufficient to the needs of industrial, commercial, or clinical settings.
When shopping for an air purifier that can be utilized in an business setting, the ideal air purifier will have a high flow rate, low noise level, and an industrial HEPA filter. A standard model that features a MERV13 filter simply isn’t going to cut it. With viral particles capable of traveling attached to particles and respirable water droplets as small as .5 microns, MERV 13 air filtration is rated to catch up to 75% of particles of that size. When a minimum of 25% of potentially dangerous particles can still reenter the environment or spread of other areas central ducting systems can serve, a medical-grade air purifier with a HEPA filter is a smart and requisite choice.
Due to the high-efficiency rating of air purifiers that feature HEPA filters, they’re highly applicable to industrial and medical environments. Air purifiers such as the Revolution not only work to sufficiently sanitize large and highly contaminated spaces, they also feature a high flow rate and a low noise level. Such air purifiers can be safely used in hospitals, medical offices, laboratories, clean rooms, and other industrial environments where air pollution is a concern.
How Does A Clean Room Work?
High-quality air purifiers that feature a HEPA filter are so successful at sanitizing air and removing the majority of dangerous particles that they can even be used in clean rooms. In fact, there is no better filter option for keeping the air in a clean room sterile than a HEPA filter, and in fact is a staple of clean environments such as drug compounding environments.
Cleanrooms work to ensure a workspace remains free of particles and contaminants that could be harmful. They do so by filtering as much of their own air as possible to reduce the need for outside, or “make-up” air. With air returns at the floor and that air being pulled from a hallow wall space back to the filter, they cycle it through the AHU (Air Handling Unit) to return ever-cleaner air back into the environment. By flushing the air and pumping as much of that into the space as possible, the AHU creates positive pressure to ensure when the door is open you can feel air blowing out meaning that particle laden air cannot blow in.
Within the AHU are the filters and a centrifugal fan system, which is essential for pushing the air through those filters. The filters themselves, of course, need to be efficient enough to remove even the smallest particles that could potentially contaminate the workspace. That’s where the HEPA filters come in.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters are the most efficient at capturing very small air particles. Due to their high efficiency and extremely fine filament matrix, HEPA filters are significantly better for cleaning the air than more standard filters such as the MERV13. While other air filters can efficiently remove some pollutants from dirty air, HEPA filters are effective enough to remove up to 98% of air particles as small as 0.024 microns.
What does that mean exactly? Well, to put it into perspective, tobacco smoke, smog, and atmospheric dust particles all range in size from approximately 0.025 to 0.125 microns. Common viruses such as the flu fall within a similar particle size range and COVID-19 particles are right around the 0.1-micron mark. Thus, an air purifier that features a high-quality HEPA filter can remove 98%-99% of all the aforementioned air contaminants.
The long and short of it is, air purifiers do work, but not all air purifiers are created equal. To ensure the cleanest space possible, a medical-grade air purifier that’s highly efficient and features a HEPA filtration system is crucial. Without sufficient filtration and circulation provided by these top-quality air purifiers, your air will likely remain contaminated.
The Filtr Revolution will be the best addition to work alongside your HVAC system! It is the perfect option for businesses who are currently putting together their reopening strategy and want to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 without replacing an entire climate control system just to satisfy the airborne particle removal needs. Within 10,000 cubic feet (think a 30×40 rooms with an eight-foot ceiling), Filtr offer 3.5 air changes per hour, releasing medical grade air throughout the entire room and recirculating that air roughly every 17 minutes. Within just one hour, 80% of contaminants and particles will have already been removed, there’s no need to upgrade your HVAC system at all, and with fewer filter changes, a Filtr Revolution will save you money on yearly maintenance.