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CleanAir Solutions Blog

August 2020

Researchers Just Confirmed COVID-19 Is Airborne: Steps to Protect Yourself

How to protect yourself from airborne COVID-19

Researchers Just Confirmed COVID-19 Is Airborne: Steps to Protect Yourself

Even as our planet’s outdoor air becomes noticeably cleaner in the wake of the worldwide pandemic, our focus is increasingly shifting to a concern about the quality of our indoor air.

And with good reason, as it turns out.

Just this past week, a research team working at the University of Florida finally captured what researchers worldwide are calling a “smoking gun.” They were able to culture and grow live SARS-CoV-2 virus taken from airborne circulating infectious droplets.

What the team found simply confirms what 239 researchers previously stated in an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO). Social distancing is not enough protection. More must be done to contain the spread of COVID-19.

So now that we know, what can you do? That is the focus of this blog post.

 

4 New Research-Backed Lessons About COVID-19 in Indoor Spaces

Given that this new research is barely days old, it is too early to say for sure what the ripple effect will be at workplaces, in schools and even in the home.

What is clear already though, is that it is time to stop splitting hairs about how big or small the airborne droplets have to be, how fast or far they can travel and even the concentration that “must” be present to infect someone who encounters active airborne coronavirus.

The truth is, each of these variables still doesn’t factor in the health of the individual that encounters the virus. We must remember we still know very little about why some people get COVID-19 and some people do not get it.

This means more caution rather than less is absolutely the order of the day.

These are the four main lessons that have come out of this breaking research:

  1. COVID-19 lives quite well and lasts a relatively long time in an airborne state.
  2. Active, live virus particles can travel much farther than two meters.
  3. The smaller the aerosol particles are, the higher the risk of transmission.
  4. Social distancing alone is completely ineffective to stop the threat in indoor spaces.

 

4 Key Ways to Protect Yourself from Indoor Airborne COVID-19

Even if we learn everything there is to learn about COVID-19 – how it transmits, how much you have to inhale to get infected, how long it lives on this or that surface – we may never discover why one person gets infected and the next person does not.

We are, however, learning more every day about how to protect ourselves from becoming the next COVID-19 statistic.

These four tips will help you stay safer starting now.

1. Stay out of public spaces (yes, even if you are wearing your mask).

This is not easy to hear or pleasant to type, but the research study that delivered the “smoking gun” evidence was conducted in a COVID-19 hospital ward outfitted with every possible safety precaution, including laboratory-grade ventilation, air purification and filtration.

What this means is that, for the foreseeable future at least, all public spaces pose a risk of potential infection. So, the safest thing you can do for yourself and your family is to stay home.

2. Wear a proper mask and keep washing your hands.

While the wealth of customized mask products in cute patterns might suggest otherwise, a mask is not a fashion accessory. The only reason to wear a mask is to prevent active viral particles from entering your body.

Not all masks are created equal here. Be sure to do your research to verify that the mask type you have been using can actually protect you.

It is also vital to wear that mask properly so that it covers your nose and your mouth and fits snugly around the lower portion of your face.

Proper hand washing is still considered a vital source of protection as well.

3. Bolster your immune system and stay healthy.

If it seems like we learn something new about COVID-19 nearly every day, this is because we actually do. It is easy to forget we are still in the very earliest phases of even understanding the virus that is causing this pandemic, much less understanding how to stop it.

Your own immune system is the number one protection you have against the infectious droplets that cause COVID-19.

Everything from chronic stress to sleep deprivation to poor diet to a sedentary lifestyle to pre-existing health issues may weaken your immune response if or when you come in contact with the new novel coronavirus.

You want your immune system to be in its finest fighting form if this happens. So, get enough sleep and do everything you can to stay as healthy as you can.

4. Add indoor air ventilation, filtration and purification.

The research study you read about here earlier was conducted in a hospital setting, which means that simply installing indoor air quality improvements alone won’t offer you the full protection you need against COVID-19.

In fact, relatively bizarre factors ranging from your nostril size and shape to how much nose hair you have can also impact how easily you become infected as well as how sick you get after infection.

Yet again, this also means that every bit of extra protection can potentially lower your risk.

Here is an example. In that same hospital study, the concentration of active airborne viral droplets was very low.

This was attributed to the presence of known effective safety protocols, including HEPA filtration, ultraviolet air purification and ventilation at the level of six complete air changes every hour.

Home, school and workplace versions of these same air quality protections are readily available to help you and your family reduce your risk of infection.

 

Get in Touch With Clean Air Solutions

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.

Give us a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online.

 

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The Difference Between HEPA Air Filters Versus HEPA Air Cleaners?

The Difference Between HEPA Air Filters Versus HEPA Air Cleaners

The Difference Between HEPA Air Filters Versus HEPA Air Cleaners?

Which Do You Need?

Today is a strange time to be alive. Even as debate rages on over whether or not coronavirus is an airborne illness, we are simply trying to cope with daily changes we can't anticipate or plan for.

For most of us, we don’t have the time or energy to closely follow the finer points of the scientific community's ongoing international debate regarding how COVID-19 is transmitted and spread.

Our immediate needs are much more practical. In a nutshell, we need to know exactly what we should be doing right now, today, to reduce our risk of catching COVID-19.

HEPA technology is one potentially protective technology we can add to our indoor spaces now. HEPA stands for "high efficiency particulate air." HEPA is a technology that was first developed during World War II. HEPA filtration worked well then and is still a gold standard in the air quality industry today.

In this article, Clean Air Solutions addresses pressing questions that many of our customers have been asking about HEPA technology:

  • What is a HEPA air filter?
  • How is that different from a HEPA air cleaner?
  • Which is better to protect against COVID-19?

 

 How HEPA Technology Works

HEPA technology was first developed during World War II. The goal was to develop sufficiently dense filtration to prevent scientists from inhaling radioactive airborne particles.

It worked. The scientists stayed safe, and after the war ended, HEPA technology found important new jobs in military and civilian circles.

The term “HEPA” is a reference to a specific level of air cleaning efficiency. Any product or filter bearing a HEPA label must be able to remove solid airborne particles of a certain small size with up to 99.97% efficiency.

Therefore, HEPA filters feature both a very dense filter material and a very intense airflow.

The airflow pushes the air and its solid particles into the HEPA filter. Then the HEPA filter captures them and contains them.

HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns.

 

Can HEPA Trap Coronavirus Particles?

The virus that causes COVID-19 has a width of 0.125 microns. It ranges in overall size from 0.06 to 0.14 microns.

As you just learned, HEPA technology can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns.

For size-comparison purposes: a single hair on your head has a diameter of about 75 microns.

So HEPA technology definitely has the capability to trap infectious SARS-CoV-2 airborne droplets.

 

How Is a HEPA Air Filter Made?

A HEPA filter is a specialized, incredibly dense filter that makes it nearly impossible for trapped solid particles to escape.

HEPA air filters are made of microscopic glass fibres – imagine a very tiny spool of very thin thread made out of glass and you’ve got the right idea.

The fibres are first tangled up and then heavily compressed to form a mat riddled with tiny air pockets. These air pockets are what admit the solid particles that will be trapped.

The special properties of these glass fibres can trap microscopic solids in three ways: by impaction (direct impact), interception (trapping and sticking) and diffusion (sticking).

A HEPA air filter is a device that suspends this thick glass fibre mat inside a frame or case made of (essentially) molten plastic.

HEPA air filters work with HEPA-rated devices. These can include HVAC systems, vacuum cleaners and air cleaners.

NOTE: Only HEPA-rated devices can pair with HEPA air filters!

 

What Is a HEPA Air Cleaner?

A HEPA air cleaner is a specialized air filtration appliance specifically designed to work with a HEPA air filter.

These devices are sometimes also called HEPA air filtration systems and HEPA air purifiers.

NOTE: The term "purifier" is more commonly used to refer to technology that works on liquid or gaseous airborne toxins, such as this unit.

HEPA air cleaners can pair with any central (ducted) HVAC system whether it is HEPA-rated or not.

Alternatively, you can add a standalone HEPA filtration system to a non-ducted HVAC to get the same benefit.

 

What Happens If You Use a HEPA Air Filter in a Regular HVAC System?

Our team at Clean Air Solutions has gotten more than a few calls from customers who want to know if they can simply order a HEPA filter and use it with their regular residential or commercial HVAC system.

Unless your HVAC system is MERV 17 to 20 rated, the answer here is a solid “no.”

Pairing a HEPA air filter with a standard residential or commercial system that has a MERV rating of any lower than 17 is not recommended for two key reasons.

1. The first reason is that the HEPA air filter is so dense it will cause severe airflow restriction. This, in turn, will reduce the life expectancy of your HVAC system and potentially cause blower motor failure.

2. The second key reason is that requiring your standard HVAC system to work with a HEPA filter can potentially cause the blower motor to overheat, triggering a fire.

 

The Best Way to Add HEPA Filtration to Any Space

Regardless of the type of HVAC system you have, it is possible to add the protection of HEPA filtration to any space.

There are two main types of standalone HEPA air cleaners: central (ducted) and portable (room unit).

Central HEPA Air Cleaner

Central HEPA air cleaners work seamlessly with any central HVAC system by filtering the air before it enters your ducts to get distributed throughout your space.

Portable HEPA Air Cleaner

Portable HEPA air cleaners work with any space by using high intensity air flow to filter the air inside that space.

 

Get in Touch With The Experts At Clean Air Solutions

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.

We are now offering online ordering, curbside pickup and shipping. Are you looking to install a HEPA filter system for your home and/or workplace?  Give us a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online - we service Hamilton and the surrounding areas (including Ancaster, Burlington, Grimsby, Oakville etc.). 

 

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