Corona Virus vs HEPA Filter and Other Air Purifier Options | Residential & Commercial Properties
HEPA filters have been used since the 1940s starting in military biomedical applications to prevent the spread of viral organisms and airborne bacteria. CNN suggests in their anti-viral article “Look for a model with a HEPA filter, which is what most allergists and doctors recommend.”
HEPA filters down to 0.3 microns and is 99.97% effective with a fresh filter, and traps pathogens, bacteria, many viruses (98% according to MIT including flu), mold spores, dust, allergens, smoke and odours and more. Silver infused HEPA filters, as silver has natural antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
Silver nanoparticles make contact with the outer membrane of the pathogens and create structural changes that degrade the microbe, which ceases the reproduction of germs.
Since bacteria and viruses can be airborne, it’s almost impossible to keep from breathing in germs that are floating around in the air. Air filtration is commonly used in both residential and small and large commercial applications such as office buildings, schools, large apartment buildings, medical and public buildings.
Next, EPA recommends is using a whole building filtration system where possible (over a portable unit) such as air purifiers and air sanitizers to improve indoor air quality.
Additional Air Purifying Options
Many Commercial and Residential spaces utilize dual systems in tandem, for greater efficacy adding UV technology in tandem with the HEPA system, depending on the application (such as medical building or daycare) as some viruses can be smaller than .3 microns. SARS for example was 0.1 microns. However, having said that, airborne viruses are generally attached to water molecules, which make the whole package much larger than .3 microns, and therefore could be picked up by a HEPA filter.
Germicidal UV technology oxidizes odours and vapours by removing them instead of trapping them and is effective on microscopic particles, bacteria and viruses as well as small as .001 microns. Not just the aforementioned, but also herbicides and atmospheric dust.
Air Exchangers too, are of great importance, buildings like humans need to breathe. An air exchanger brings in fresh air from outside and exhaust out the stale air from inside, as the Environmental Protection agency suggests above. Thus diluting the stale air with fresh air, and getting rid of airborne nastiness as an extra measure. (see air exchangers article)
At the time of this writing, it is unknown the exact micron size of the Corona virus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), however NBC news has suggested it is of the same viral family as SARS; and CDC (Center for Disease Control) suggests only those coming in direct contact need wear a specially fitted mask.
Standard surgical masks, however only generally filter particles larger than 0.5 microns (various surgical mask filtering options may vary brand to brand). An N95 mask filters particles greater than 0.3 microns.
Toronto University Health Network suggests paper masks are “counterproductive” as prevention. “Corona viruses are named for their corona-like (halo) appearance in electron micrographs. They account for 50 per cent of all upper respiratory infections in humans, and a mutant form of the virus is a cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The virus can be fatal and has been shown to cause liver damage in mice.”
However, Professor Finkelstein at Harvard Medical School states “healthy person is wearing a mask and walks into a sickroom and touches infected surfaces, the mask makes it hard to touch his or her own nose and mouth”. According to Global News, the average person touches their face 3x’s per minute.
Thus like wearing gloves, in Canadian winter when inside at the grocery store or other public places, especially where touch screens for checkout or elevators can be helpful as well (let’s just say there’s a reason the Queen wears gloves, eh?).
Professor Finkelstein goes on to say that the number of face to face contacts is going to statistically increase the possibility of exposure, thus minimizing risk by lessening in person contact is something to consider.
Humidity, Temperatures and Viruses
MIT also suggests that controlling temperature and humidity is a viable option for reduction of viruses – higher temperatures and humidity levels can kill or disable viruses. Not just MIT, University of Nebraska cites similar findings with wheat mite virus.
Dr Farhad Memarzadeh at National Institutes of Health has this to say in a review of more than 120 papers “The incidence of illness and infectivity of a virus that is transmitted by the airborne route in an indoor environment is the result of a host of factors…
…These include humidity, temperature, population density, number of susceptibles, length of exposure, number of infected people producing contaminated aerosols, ventilation rate, infectious particle settling rate, whether the virus has a lipid or non-lipid envelope, the presence of surrounding organic material, exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light or antiviral chemicals, microorganism resistance to antibiotic or antiviral therapy”,
The review also “showed that human influenza viruses could survive on a variety of surfaces at 35%–49% RH [relative humidity] and a temperature of 28°C (82.4°F).”
Harvard.edu states in their article The Reason Why Flu Strikes in Winter “we can conclude that, at least in regions that have a winter season, the influenzavirus survives longer in cold, dry air, so it has a greater chance of infecting another person”. ..
…“At 43°F with very low humidity, most of the virus was able to survive more than 23 hours, whereas at high humidity and a temperature of 90°F, survival was diminished at even one hour into incubation.”
And goes on to say “During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and thus contract the virus”.
This is likely a factor in why seniors’ long term care homes are really warm, more than the fact that the elderly are often cold, having the heat at 83%F helps keep the viruses away, especially due to the proximity of the residents. Washing hands for more than 20 seconds as well is recommended on MIT and other sites for viral prevention.
The Harvard Article by Hannah Foster PHD goes on to say “So, as the temperature and humidity keep dropping, your best bet for warding off this nasty bug is to get your flu shot ASAP, stay warm, and invest in a humidifier.”
Thus it may be a consideration to have the humidifier in one’s home checked, or installed as an add-on unit.
Heat Sterilization & HVAC Incinerators – Going the Extra Mile
One thing a virus, as noted above, cannot escape, is extreme heat. “Generally, as temperature rises, virus survival decreases. Maintaining temperatures above 60°C (140°F) for more than 60 min,” says Dr Memarzadeh.”
This is an add-on unit to the HVAC system. Air gets pulled through a chamber and microorganism are incinerated by the heat, in which no particles of any kind can survive. This more extreme method of air purification also burns up allergens, dust, mold spores, dander and pretty much everything else. The air is cooled before released back into the living/work space.
CNN as well as Most Medical sites suggest disinfecting surfaces with a product effective against viruses. Duct work has surfaces too, and the air in the home regenerates through the duct work approximately 60x’s per day. Benefect is a 100% natural medical approved grade disinfectant that can be used as a treatment after duct cleaning. This will add extra protection to the air quality in residential or commercial property.
There are lots of options to choose from, which will work well to destroy germs, mold and pathogens, thus choose the one or a combination of systems that best suits your needs, space size and application (residential and commercial) as well as budget.
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Ensure your heating and cooling systems at your home or business are operating at peak efficiency will help you breathe clean, healthy air at work or home; saving money on energy costs and can also help improve the bottom line.