In recent times, the interest in an air purifier for COVID has become critical. It is due to the unexpected arrival of the COVID epidemic disease. It forced us to take all the necessary measures to make the air and the environment cleaner.
But are air purifiers effective against viruses in general and COVID-19 specifically? To find out, we need to understand how these devices work. And what they can do to make the home environment healthier.
They are excellent for purifying the environment from germs, bacteria, pollen, allergens, and many other organisms and micro-organisms that infest our homes every day, making the air harmful. But their effectiveness against particular viruses is not as proven.
Air purifiers and the COVID-19 virus
The scale and speed of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide have become seriously threatening. World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a pandemic of this virus. The virus is dangerous for the elderly and people with weak immunity.
The spread of COVID-19 occurs through the air. The incubation period for COVID-19 is on average two weeks, and sometimes it reaches one month. At this time, symptoms do not appear, but the person poses a danger to others. A significant organizational measure to combat the spread of the virus is self-isolation.
Using an air purifier with HEPA filter is one of the technical measures which can be effective against viral spread. Devices of this class successfully fight against COVID-19 and other infectious agents that may be in the air. Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter will make the air in your home and office cleaner and safer.
Air quality and COVID-19
According to the WHO, one of the ways that the virus is spread occurs through airborne droplets. It means that the virus in the micro-droplets of the saliva of an infected person stays in the air for some time and then settles on floors, furniture, doorknobs, etc.
In this regard, the WHO recommended improving disinfection measures, especially in crowded places – gyms, fitness clubs, cinemas and other facilities of this kind. However, subsequent scientific research concluded that the main source of transmission of COVID-19 is through the air. Therefore, the use of protective masks is playing a positive role in the fight against the pandemic. It is especially true for people who are already sick to prevent the further spread of the virus. The most protected should be medical personnel who have direct contact with infected people.
The risks of indoor pollution
Even before the 2020 Lockdown, the population in industrialized countries spent most of their time in confined environments, between home, workplace, or study, and closed leisure environments such as gyms, restaurants, and clubs.
For instance, the percentage of the population suffering from allergies and their associated symptoms, such as asthma and rhinitis, has increased in recent years. The gradual increase in allergies derives from allergens residing in homes, schools, and offices. We are talking about dust (mites), pollen, in addition to the various chemicals emitted by furnishings and detergents.
Fatigue, frequent headaches are among the consequences of stale air that stagnates in closed and humid environments.
It is good to ensure a continuous exchange of air in the rooms and regularly open the windows. To further improve the quality of the air we breathe at home, the best solution is to use Air Purifiers equipped with the best quality HEPA filters.
Air purifier for COVID-19
Only an air purifier with a HEPA H13 filter can effectively neutralize the viruses in the air. Based on this, the acquisition of air purifiers using HEPA filters of certain categories could be one of the winning strategies in the fight against the deadly COVID-19.
An indoor air purifier for COVID with HEPA H13 filter solves several tasks at once:
- disinfection of indoor air;
- creating a comfortable microclimate with an optimal circulation of fresh air;
It makes sense to use air purifiers with HEPA H13 filters for viruses and germs. These have a permeability of only a 0.005% and are ideal to remove pollutants from the air, especially in highly frequented areas such as waiting rooms in medical practices, offices, schools, canteens, or production plants. You can also use Air purifiers with HEPA H13 filters in hospitals and laboratories.
The air that an infected person breathes out can contain viruses. Just as influenza viruses, COVID-19 can also be detected in the exhaled air of an infected person. Viruses such as influenza (120 nm) and COVID (160 nm) move suspended in the air, in the form of an aerosol. When breathing, every human being emits tiny droplets (1 µm in size). There can be 1,000 to 50,000 droplets per breath. When coughing, the droplets are ten times larger (over 10 µm). Thus, a HEPA filter manages to remove over 99.97% of the suspended particles.
How do air purifiers work?
The air purifier for Covid sucks in the infected air with the aid of a fan and passes it through various filters. Releases the clean air into the same room after having treated it by different processes.
- Pre-filter separates the coarse particles up to 3 µm.
- A HEPA filter (99.995%) can be used as the main filter.
- In addition, you can use carbon filters to neutralize odors. Depending on the device, two to three filter levels are possible.
Hepa filtration can reduce the concentration of viruses likely to present in the air. But can in no way replace the intake of outside air. The air purifier for Covid should only use as a complement to ventilation systems.
The devices fitted with Hepa filters of minimum class H13 according to standard EN 1822-1 and installed in a perfectly sealed manner can effectively stop aerosols liable to carry the virus. It is also necessary to ensure that these indoor air purifiers are suitable for the volume of the premises in which they are placed.
Covid air purifier for classrooms
Recent studies have shown that devices with appropriate filter combinations can effectively eliminate virulent aerosol clouds. For example, an study about air purifier for covid 19 in classrooms found that devices with class H13 filters can reduce the aerosol concentration in rooms to a low level within a short period. In rooms; where people meet, air purifiers are a helpful technical solution.
Air purifier Filters
Filters are classified into three groups according to EN 1822: 2009 standards.
- Epa (Efficient Particulate Air Filter)
- Hepa (High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter)
- ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air Filter).
Against viruses, only the Hepa and ULPA categories count. ULPA filters cannot be used to replace existing filters in an existing air conditioning unit. This is because the filter creates air resistance and it would significantly reduce airflow rates while increasing energy consumption.
Hepa H13 filters offer an efficiency ≥ of 99.95%, H14 filters rise to ≥ 99.995%. However, the latter are used for other clinical uses, rather than for domestic air cleaning. There are also evaluations of the efficiency of filters based on their Merv values (minimum efficiency reporting value). Hepa filters, depending on their classification, have Merv values ranging from 17 to 20.
Do air purifiers work for COVID?
As for the effectiveness of air purifier for COVID, there is no much data. But an air purifier for covid equipped with a HEPA filter can block some airborne particles of an extension equal to those of viruses. If they are “imprisoned”, viruses cannot not multiply by themselves or remain contagious for very long.
If these devices are particularly effective in removing large particles from the air, such as dust and allergens, how do they cope with viruses?
High-quality models can capture particles 0.1 microns or less in size, while most viruses range from 0.004 to 0.1 microns. Fortunately, COVID-19 belongs to a family of viruses that is about 0.125 microns in size.
Therefore, to sanitize a room from the possible presence of coronavirus, an air purifier for covid equipped with a HEPA filter capable of filtering particles smaller than 0.125 microns should help.
UV light air purifiers for COVID can also disable some bacteria and viruses by using ultraviolet light. UV light is also capable of inactivating Covid viruses, and it is a second layer of security, in addition to the HEPA filter.
It is important to remember that no air purifier can provide 100% protection from the COVID. Consider that close contact is the primary means of transmission of Covid-19, therefore keeping interpersonal distance and well ventilated spaces is paramount.
Air purification integrated into indoor units.
Several air conditioner manufacturers have been offering air purification solutions for several years. Their technologies were intended for indoor air purification in heavily polluted cities where the ratio of ventilation to outdoor air worsens the situation. The bulk of their market is in Asia. It took a few months for manufacturers to verify the effectiveness of their processes against the Covid-19 virus.
Air purifier for COVID: what should consider when buying?
- Performance: Good devices filter at least six times the room air in 60 minutes.
- Position: The position of the air purifier is very significant. If this is good, it will easy for the air purifier to absorb and clean the room air.
- Filter: HEPA class 13 or 14 or higher is a prerequisite for removing COVID-19 viruses. However, even the most expensive professional devices never fully capture 100 percent of all viruses. Therefore distance, washing hands, and classic ventilation should not be neglected.
- Hygiene: Filters have to be changed regularly, so buyers should also pay attention to possible follow-up costs. Some filter systems are also equipped with a UV light or heating mode to kill accumulated viruses or bacteria.
- Volume: If you use the air filter in bedrooms, make sure that the operating noise is as low as possible.
- Price: The cost of an air purifier starts at around $100, but can also be several thousand. While cheap devices only have one filter and are often quite loud, higher quality air filters score with a multi-layer filter system and cover larger rooms.