The rate at which an HVAC system recirculates all the air in your home – and cleans it with the proper indoor air quality equipment – varies based on the cubic footage of your home, the cubic feet per minute (CFM) output of your unit, the efficiency of your air filters and other factors.
Simply put, indoor air quality tools can help protect your family from coronavirus, but you shouldn’t assume they create an instantaneous barrier that keeps the virus out of your home.
There’s broad agreement among epidemiologists and other health experts that indoor air quality is among the greatest factors that impacts rate of COVID-19 spread, so investing in an efficient and effective indoor air quality cleaning system that helps eliminate viruses, mold and bacteria can help keep your home safe.
Ultraviolet C – a spectrum of light most human eyes can’t pick out, barely makes it to Earth’s surface. Most of this light wavelength gets absorbed by the ozone layer and atmosphere – which is good. UV-C is known to be one of the most harmful light wavelengths. Prolonged exposure can damage the skin and eyes of people and animals. However, this particular wavelength has extraordinary germicidal properties.
Portable versions of specialized UV-C lights can be wheeled into all types of medical environments, hotel rooms, cruises and ambulatory vehicles for the purpose of disinfection. This is done when the rooms are empty of guests and patients, which is why you may have never seen random florescent lights sitting in the middle of your doctor’s waiting room.
The HVAC industry has long been aware of this technology, which is why several types have been miniaturized to fit inside HVAC ductwork. When tucked away in the ducts of a home, UV-C’s germicidal properties can help purify the air without exposing any of the home’s inhabitants to the potentially harmful rays.
Vito Services can install highly effective PREMIERone™ UV germicidal air purifiers inside your ductwork and systems. The company you choose for UV-C light installation is an important decision. Improper installation could expose your family to harmful UV-C light, and orientation and placement needs to be precise to maximize germicidal effectiveness.
When a person coughs, sneezes or even breathes they’re expelling miniscule droplets – between 10 to 100 microns in size (or potentially larger) – into the air. The larger droplets are heavy enough to drop relatively quickly, but the droplets around 10 microns can potentially float around for hours. COVID-19 can travel on those little droplets.
The higher the quality of filter the better a chance it has to stop those droplets from circulating through your home.
When you purchase air filters at the hardware store, or your HVAC company replaces them during regularly scheduled maintenance, you should be able to see the minimum efficiency report value (MERV) rating on the filter. If you aren’t sure what the MERV rating is on your current filters you can usually find it printed on the filter’s frame.
On the lower end of the MERV scale, around MERV-5 or MERV-6, your air filter will take out between 20 and 35 percent of 3 to 10-micron particles. On the high end of the scale, MERV-16 and up, your filter should catch more than 95 percent of particles between 0.3 to 10 microns.
Your air filter won’t make the virus inert, but it will catch droplets on which the virus could be traveling and prevent it from reentering your home’s air circulation.
Higher MERV rated filters, such as HEPA or ULPA filters, do increase air flow resistance. Some systems may not be strong enough to compensate for the added resistance of a high MERV-rated filter, reducing heating or cooling performance and potentially damaging equipment. Make sure to speak with your preferred HVAC service provider before upgrading to a much higher-grade filter.
Vito Services also installs what are known as polarized-media electronic air cleaners. These are similar to your normal filters except with an added low current charge going through the activated carbon pad in the middle of the filter. The particles of pollutants passing through the filter essentially become magnetized thanks to the field and stick to the filter.
When choosing filters for your air conditioning and heating system, remember the purpose of lower cost filters is primarily to keep dust out of your system. This certainly isn’t a bad thing for breathers inside a building, but you could still be circulating allergens, germs, viruses and bacteria.
UV-C germicidal lights and polarized media filters are intended to eliminate indoor air pollutants at exceptionally high rates of effectiveness, making your indoor air safer for your whole family.
You can learn more about these systems or schedule installation by calling Vito Services at 301-251-0211. We’d be happy to explain how our indoor air quality systems can help you combat COVID-19.