CleanAir Solutions Blog
How To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Air filtration is a complex topic. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
The global pandemic has increased awareness of the need for upgraded indoor air quality. But what it hasn't done is foster clarity about exactly how to accomplish this goal.
In fact, for many of our CleanAir Solutions customers, heightened urgency and media attention has created more confusion rather than less.
Terms sound frighteningly similar. Media reports are sometimes wildly inaccurate. And no one seems to know exactly which type of air quality system does what.
This blog post is going to change all that. Read on to learn the facts you need to know now in order to make intelligent, informed indoor air quality choices today.
Air Filtration Versus Air Purification Versus Air Ventilation
The first step to demystify indoor air quality is to clearly define three terms that get used interchangeably far too often in popular media: filtration, purification and ventilation.
Here is what you need to know.
Air filtration is a medium that traps airborne particulate solids, effectively removing them from your indoor air supply.
The gold standard in indoor air filtration is HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air.
What is a HEPA filter? First developed during World War II to assist scientists working with radioactive matter in a laboratory setting, a HEPA filter is still our first line of defense against solid microparticles.
A HEPA filter (or MERV filter 17-20 equivalent) can effectively trap and remove microparticles as small as 0.3 microns (or 1/100th the width of a single human hair).
A HEPA filter is also used widely in COVID-19 patient wards - worldwide!
Air purification is very different from air filtration - even though the two terms are often used as if they are one and the same.
Here is what you need to know about air purifier technology.
The most powerful air purifier on our planet is the ultraviolet light bands produced by our sun.
The sun produces three bands of ultraviolet light - UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-A and UV-B. These bands of light are effectively blocked by our planet's ozone layer (which is why it is so important to pay attention and stay inside on "ozone alert" days when the ozone layer is thin!).
UV-C, the most powerful natural light band, is also the only one that the ozone layer cannot block. This is why doctors tell us to wear sunblock when we go outside.
While there are several types of air purification processes, short wave UV-C air purifier systems are considered to be the most effective. They are also the most common purification technology being used by hospitals for air purification on COVID-19 patient wards.
Ultraviolet air purifier systems harness a synthetic version of UV-C light that irradiates the air and changes the molecular structure of organic airborne gases and liquids, including airborne droplets containing active coronavirus RNA.
This is all well and good, but then what the heck is air ventilation? And why is ventilation so important?
On hospital wards where COVID-19 patients are being treated and monitored, the goal is to cycle through six complete air changes per hour. This is a tall order and is only achievable with the help of state-of-the-art indoor air ventilation systems.
The most energy efficient and cost effective ventilation system is called the heat recovery ventilator.
A heat recovery ventilator separates fresh incoming air and stale outgoing air so that the two airstreams never meet. This is essential to ensure air that potentially contains active airborne viral droplets gets safely exhausted to the outside.
But HRV systems do more than this. They also recycle heat energy that would otherwise drive up your energy bills. HRV systems also help to balance indoor air humidity levels, which is another essential in helping to combat the threat of COVID-19.
Which COVID-19 Indoor Air Quality System Do You Need?
So, now you have met the three primary types of technology being used today to create safer indoor spaces as the global pandemic continues.
But which type of system do you need?
The system you need will depend entirely on the risk level inside your space. Here, risk factors to consider include each of the following:
- Do you share an HVAC system with other individuals (such as a multi-unit living or workspace)?
- Is anyone in your home currently recovering from COVID-19?
- Is anyone in your home very young, elderly or immunocompromised?
- Does anyone in your home or workplace smoke or suffer from any type of chronic respiratory condition or other known risk factor?
- What existing air filtration, purification or ventilation aids do you have?
Why are these five criteria so important?
Research has confirmed that multi-unit spaces with shared HVAC ductwork are capable of spreading airborne infectious droplets longer distances. We also know that individuals who fall into certain health categories are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
And some spaces have access to existing air quality controls such as windows and doors that open to the outside, ceiling or floor fans, exhaust or attic fans and higher MERV-rated HVAC systems.
But if your home or workplace does not fall into any of these categories, you may be best-served by installing a combination of aids.
A HEPA air filter can handle solid airborne particulates that may carry infectious droplets or otherwise compromise immune function and overall respiratory health.
Ultraviolet air purification can sufficiently damage SARS-CoV-2 RNA so as to render it unable to replicate and cause COVID-19.
And air ventilation (or heat recovery ventilator) can flood your space with a continual influx of fresh air to dilute the impact of airborne toxins and exhaust them to the outside in a safe and effective manner.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, Handles All Your Indoor Air Quality Needs
Upgrade your indoor air quality with a cutting edge HEPA filter, ultraviolet air purification and heat recovery ventilator!
Be sure to ask us about contactless estimate, service, invoicing and payment options.