HEPA AC Filter for COVID

Learn this earlier than shopping for a HEPA AC filter in your residence or enterprise

Likelihood is, you have got been listening to quite a bit about HEPA AC filters and HVAC filters as an answer for stopping the transmission of COVID. The concept obtained a number of media consideration right here in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke about utilizing HVAC HEPA filters in malls to forestall airborne unfold of the illness.

Right here’s what you in all probability don’t know: there are downsides to utilizing HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

We’ve got been receiving many requests from owners and enterprise homeowners in New York Metropolis to put in HEPA AC filters. Nonetheless, our expertise, experience, and integrity prohibit us from mechanically offering what might look like an answer, but may doubtlessly end in expensive system breakdowns and repairs.

Right here’s what it is advisable to know.

What HEPA AC filters do

A HEPA (excessive effectivity particulate air) filter is a thick, dense filter that’s designed to seize tiny particles within the air passing by it, together with pollution and allergens.

HEPA filters can seize 99.97% of particles as small as .3 microns (the common cross part of a human hair is 50 microns) in measurement. Meaning HEPA filters do a fantastic job of capturing particles like mud mites (100 – 300 microns), pollen (10 – 1000 microns), and even micro organism (1 – 10 microns). Viruses (together with the COVID virus) will be a lot smaller than .3 microns, however HEPA AC filter can seize them as a result of airborne particles are sometimes hooked up to bigger “droplets” produced when somebody coughs or sneezes.

Why a HEPA AC filter might NOT be a helpful COVID mitigation answer

1. HEPA filters can’t lure all COVID-19 virus particles.

One drawback is, any filter can solely lure particles that go by it. If an contaminated individual coughs in your house with others close by, particles within the air can transmit the illness earlier than they ever have the prospect to succeed in the HEPA filter. So that you can’t be positive the occupants of your house are protected.

And there are different the reason why putting in HEPA AC filters isn’t an acceptable answer for COVID:

2. Your system in all probability can’t accommodate a HEPA AC filter.

A HEPA AC filter is often between 5 inches and eight inches thick. Gentle industrial and residential air con programs are designed to make use of a lot thinner filters. The filter housing sometimes can’t maintain a 5 to eight inch HEPA filter. So that you’ll want modifications to your system if you wish to set up them, which will be costly (particularly for industrial programs with a number of filters).

3. HVAC HEPA filters can lower efficiency and trigger breakdowns.

As a result of HEPA filters are so dense, your system’s fan in all probability received’t have sufficient horsepower to drag air by the filter. With out that, the interior strain drop throughout the filter could cause a pressure on the system. Decreased airflow might imply your system can’t cool as properly. It might want to run longer to succeed in set temperature. That makes use of extra electrical energy, will increase put on on components, and might result in extra critical element failures.

4. HEPA filters are costly.

HEPA filters can value a number of hundred {dollars} every in comparison with a normal measurement MERV 8 filter which is able to value roughly $5.50 every or a MERV 13 filter which is able to value roughly $17 every. And since they take away extra mud and particles from the air, you’ll want to alter them extra usually.

Various COVID mitigation choices

As most individuals know by now, the best techniques for stopping the unfold of COVID are handwashing, social distancing, and sporting a masks. Nonetheless, these further techniques can assist remove virus particles that will make their means into your HVAC system.

MERV 13 filters supply some safety, with much less expense

“MERV” is a score system for HVAC and different filters. The upper the MERV score worth on a filter, the smaller the particle it might seize, and with higher effectivity. Customary HVAC air filters utilized in most industrial and residential properties are rated at MERV 8. HEPA filters are rated between MERV 17 and MERV 20.

If you’re involved about indoor air high quality above and past stopping COVID transmission, we suggest MERV 13 filters. This recommendation is predicated on suggestions from the CDC and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers).

MERV 13 filters supply some safety and can capture 50% of particles in the size range of COVID particles. They usually can positively lower down on mud and allergens. Extra HVAC filter housings can accommodate them (however not all), and they’re far inexpensive than HEPA filters (though nonetheless 3 occasions the price of commonplace MERV 8 filters). There should be points to think about with regard to airflow and efficiency with some HVAC programs, so at all times seek the advice of with HVAC professionals earlier than shopping for them so that you absolutely perceive the price and the potential profit.

One caveat: as you would possibly anticipate given the circumstances, demand could be very excessive for MERV 13 filters. We’re at present experiencing 6 to eight week lead occasions and it’s prone to worsen earlier than it will get higher.

UV gentle know-how retains HVAC surfaces clear

You could have heard that ultraviolet (UV) gentle can deactivate coronavirus particles. UV air purifiers, when put in inside your HVAC system, can assist to kill particles (together with viruses, micro organism, and mould) that will accumulate on system elements. They work significantly properly to maintain AC evaporator coils clear. That’s useful as a result of clear coils preserve your system operating successfully and effectively, and might lower the price of ongoing upkeep.

Sadly, UV lights don’t work as properly at destroying airborne particles inside an HVAC system. That’s as a result of particles want to stay within the UV gentle’s “kill zone” lengthy sufficient to be destroyed. Inside an HVAC system, followers sometimes are shifting the air too rapidly to kill airborne contaminants.

Superior oxidation and ionization know-how cleans the air

A majority of these air purifiers can assist to take away airborne virus particles (and different contaminants) inside your HVAC system. They’re put in in a plenum, which is an air distribution chamber between the structural ceiling and drop ceiling, that’s linked to your ductwork.

The know-how takes oxygen molecules from the air and converts them into charged atoms that then cluster round microparticles, surrounding and deactivating dangerous substances like airborne mould, micro organism, allergens, and viruses. The bigger particles end in extra environment friendly filtering of the air. The method additionally produces pleasant oxidizers present in nature that get distributed all through your house, not solely inside your HVAC system. They’ve additionally been confirmed efficient at decreasing dangerous VOCs and odors.

Here’s a video that shows how the process works

A mixture of this know-how together with upgraded MERV 13 filters will present a a lot improved indoor air setting.

These options aren’t proper for each state of affairs, however will be extraordinarily useful in the proper setting. They usually can present peace of thoughts for enterprise homeowners who need to do every part they’ll to guard their staff and prospects.

In the event you’re within the New York Metropolis metro space, contact Arista to study extra about these options and the way they may assist to guard your house.

Extra solutions to your questions on HVAC and COVID transmission

Read this article to get the solutions to widespread questions on COVID transmission and HVAC mitigation methods.