When the COVID-19 pandemic began, you may be one of the people who thought, “are air purifiers suitable in preventing the coronavirus?”
Trust us; you’re not alone. Everyone was trying new ways to prevent a highly contagious virus from spreading.
There were extra masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing, but these things aren’t possible in every situation.
Coronavirus was still spreading in homes and schools, where social distancing and masking precautions were impossible.
And then there were the air purifiers. These devices promise to clean and sterilize the air in your home.
But are they suitable in preventing the coronavirus?
Are Air Purifiers Suitable in Preventing the Coronavirus?
Before determining whether or not air purifiers are suitable for preventing coronavirus, we first have to figure out whether they can even remove the virus from the air.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, air purifiers and regular HVAC filters can remove viruses from the air if used correctly.
However, some conditions must be met for the devices to be effective.
For an air purifier or HVAC filter to remove viruses from the air, the filter will need to be able to remove particles that are 0.1 micrometers in size.
For size reference, there are 1,000 micrometers in every millimeter.
Unfortunately, most filters used in air purifiers cannot extract particles that are this small from the air.
They can still remove dust and pet dander, significantly improving air quality. Still, air purifiers will be useless when it comes to removing viruses.
What Type of Air Filter Removes Coronavirus?
To effectively remove COVID-19 from the air, you must use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter.
These filters are rated to remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micrometers.
Now, this may seem confusing as a few paragraphs ago, you read that a filter needs to catch particles of 0.1 micrometers to remove viruses.
But remember that viruses rarely float through the air on their own.
When someone coughs or sneezes, two significant ways that COVID-19 is spread, they shed the virus. The virus itself is usually contained in tiny airborne droplets of saliva and mucus.
Even though the virus is too small to be caught effectively, with the size of its carrying droplets, HEPA filters can still extract it from the air.
So while the HEPA filter will not be able to remove every single virus in the air, it will be able to remove a large percentage of them which can help to reduce the transmission rate of viruses.
Maintaining Your Air Purifier
For your air purifier to be suitable in preventing the coronavirus, you must maintain it correctly.
This will mean following all manufacturer guidelines regarding regular cleaning and filter changes.
Nowadays, many air purifiers have automatic sensors telling you when to change your air filter.
They do this by detecting how much air can pass through the filter and how long it has been since the last filter change.
If you worry that you may forget to change your filters, try purchasing an air purifier with this sensor.
That way, you’ll always be able to track whether you need a filter change.
Regularly changing your filters is the most important way to keep your air purifier functioning well.
As the filters are used, they become saturated with the particles they remove from the air, such as dust and pollen.
Once the air filters become saturated, they can no longer remove additional particles from the air.
Keep in mind that the efficiency of HEPA filters at removing coronavirus is tested using brand-new filters.
The longer you use your filter, the less effective it will be at removing coronavirus and other particles from the air.
Are Air Purifiers Effective at Removing Coronavirus?
Air purifiers are an effective tool that can be used to remove coronavirus from the air and reduce its transmission rate.
However, its efficiency will depend on how quickly the air is moving through the air.
As you already read, coronavirus particles are too small to capture by a HEPA filter.
However, when they first leave the carrier and are still in larger liquid particles, they can easily be picked up by a HEPA filter. That is, as long as the air purifier picks them up quickly enough.
When picking an air purifier for COVID-19, you will want to choose one with a high CADR rating.
This rating tells you, in part, how quickly the air purifier can circulate through and clean all of the air in a room when the air purifier is at its highest setting.
By picking an air purifier with a high CADR rating, you ensure that the particles containing the virus are filtered out before they break apart or settle.
Consumer Reports completed lab tests monitoring the efficiency of different air purifiers in removing virus-containing particles from the air.
Based on their tests, they recommend an air purifier with a rating of at least 240 for the room size that you plan on using it in.
If you can afford it, bigger is always better in the case of air purifiers.
By selecting a larger air purifier, you can use a larger filter and won’t have to constantly run the air purifier on the highest setting, which can be noisy.
How to Use an Air Purifier to Remove the Coronavirus
For an air purifier to be suitable in preventing the coronavirus, you need to use it correctly and perform proper maintenance.
Place the Filter in High-Transmission Areas
For your air purifier to be most efficient at preventing the spread of coronavirus, you should place the device in a high transmission area.
This could be the family room where everyone spends time together, near the doorway where guests enter.
If you are purchasing an air purifier for your place of work, the best site for the air purifier would be in any high-traffic areas, such as the lunch or meeting rooms.
If someone in your family is sick with coronavirus and you are trying to prevent it from spreading, place the air purifier where they spend most of their time.
That way, the purifier can filter the virus-containing droplets out of the air as soon as they are released.
Regularly Change the Filters
The guidelines for how frequently you should change it vary depending on how much you run your HEPA filter.
With high use, it’s recommended that you change your HEPA filter every 3 months. With low use, you should be able to make it over six months without changing your filter.
However, since you want your air purifiers to be suitable for preventing the coronavirus, it is best to change the filter more frequently.
Trying changing your HEPA filter every 8 weeks or so to give it the best chance of reducing COVID-19 transmission.
Place the Air Purifier in the Center of the Room
For your air purifier to effectively filter all the air in the room, you should place it in the center.
This will allow it to circulate all of the air through the room without leaving still areas with no airflow.
If you use your air purifiers in a large room with minimal airflow, purchase two instead of one giant air purifier.
Using two air purifiers will allow the air to circulate more effectively and ensure that all the air is being filtered continuously.
The same applies to hallways or multiple small rooms with limited airflow.
Are Air Purifiers Suitable in Preventing the Coronavirus – FAQs
Do air purifiers improve lungs?
When used consistently, air purifiers can improve the health of your lungs.
This is because they remove contaminants such as pollen, pet dander, and dust, which can cause lung irritation and exacerbate allergy symptoms.
If you already suffer from a condition like asthma or have sensitive lungs, investing in an air purifier and using it correctly can significantly improve the health of your lungs.
Should I turn my air purifier off while I sleep?
No, you should not turn your air purifier off while you sleep.
As a matter of fact, you should do your best to keep your air purifier on 24/7.
People tend to have the worst allergy symptoms while they sleep and notice them in the form of congestion and an itchy throat when they wake up.
Keeping your air purifier on while you sleep will ensure that your air quality does not drop during the night and prevent allergy symptoms when you wake up.
Is it better to use a humidifier or an air purifier?
Humidifiers are better for dry environments where respiratory problems mainly come from a lack of moisture.
They can also help weigh down allergens and reduce the amount circulating through the air.
Air purifiers will remove the allergy-causing particles from the air.
In addition to this, some air purifiers are suitable in preventing the coronavirus and other illnesses.
Do air purifiers make the air drier?
A common misconception is that air purifiers make the air drier.
However, this is not the case; air purifiers only remove particles from the air, and their filters do not absorb significant moisture.
If you want to reduce the moisture in your air, you are best off buying a moisture-absorbing product.
On the other hand, if you’d like to add moisture, you can use a humidifier to spray tiny droplets of water into the air.
Should I close the windows when using an air purifier?
When using an air purifier, it is best practice to close all windows in the home or room.
This helps to concentrate the air and does less work for the air purifier.
If you leave the windows open, new air will constantly flow in and out, increasing the air the air purifier has to cycle through.
Final Thoughts: Are Air Purifiers Suitable in Preventing the Coronavirus?
“Are air purifiers suitable in preventing the coronavirus?” is a reasonable question.
After all, many products promised to reduce transmission throughout the pandemic and were later proven ineffective.
Fortunately, air purifiers are not one of these gimmicky products.
When used correctly, air purifiers can be a very effective tool and reduce the amount of coronavirus in the air.
To make sure that your air purifier is suitable in preventing the coronavirus, you will want to fit it with a HEPA filter and change the filter regularly.
This is the only commercially available filter capable of filtering out particles as small as viruses.
You should also purchase an air purifier rating of at least 240 for your room’s size.
This will ensure that the air is being cycled through quickly enough that the virus doesn’t have time to break into smaller particles or infect someone else.