The precautions taken in the COVID 19 pandemic can be daunting. It is difficult to keep pace with all the recommendations, and the suggested procedures in reducing the risk of exposure to this pandemic. Ideally, proper precautions by everyone will eventually eradicate this scourge of humanity.
Can an air filter helps reduce COVID 19 exposure?
Let’s think about what we know about the spread of COVID.
It is airborne, with person-to-person contact less than six feet apart, without masks or face shields creating the greatest threat of contamination.
A lot of focus during the worst phases of the pandemic came from consumer travel.
People on airliners were most exposed, but crowded buses, trains, and subways put passengers equally at risk.
The entire “work from home” movement sprang from people fearing to breathe the air around them at work.
If the air is the vehicle for transmitting the virus, cleaner air will reduce the chance of breathing in COVID at home, work, travel, or a leisure time activity.
A standard commercial airliner completely filters the air in the passenger cabin and crew compartment in less than three minutes.
That’s a lot of cubic footage, packed with people, but it has proven effective for airlines operating in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
You can have that same level of protection in your home if you select the right air purifier.
What is the best air purifier for COVID?
We’ll start to answer this section with a brief survey of the types of purifiers available for home use.
There is the standalone HEPA filter, which draws air through a micro-particle filter.
This filter is highly effective in reducing dust, pollen, pet dander, airborne droplets of moisture (the type that can contain the COVID virus), and some chemical residue, but it isn’t the best way of filtering for viruses.
The same style purifier that uses HEPA filters often has the capability of using activated charcoal in its various forms, whether granulated or powdered this is an excellent method of cleaning potential COVID viruses from your air.
Ionizing filters work by creating a negative charge that drops the activated particles to the surface of a piece of furniture, an appliance, or the floor. As you might imagine, this method is the least effective at removing potentially dangerous viruses from the air.
If the dust isn’t removed quickly, it can become airborne again once it loses its static charge.
The good news is that the COVID virus doesn’t last long in these conditions, and if it comes in contact with sunlight, it is killed immediately.
Sunny days and better health have never been more accurate.
An ozone filter will kill everything it touches, including you if too much ozone is produced.
These filters work well in industrial settings, but the potential for ozone concentration is too dangerous for home applications.
A final filtering agent uses UV light, that is ultraviolet light, the same light that floods the outdoors on sunny days.
A UV light filter works by drawing air into the UV chamber where the air and anything in it is exposed to high-intensity UV light.
This kills all organic microbes but doesn’t do much against pollen, odor, pet dander, dead skin cells, or any other organic or non-organic substance.
And the winner is…
The winner is a combination of various filter styles. The HEPA filter with a combination activated charcoal feature is the best standalone filter you can use to battle the COVID virus, and it is claimed to be 99.97 percent effective. That’s a pretty high percentage.
You can increase your odds by using a UV light filter with the HEPA filtering system. Literally bursting the offending microbes with UV light renders them harmless. The HEPA filter will clean up any additional residue floating in the air.
A second option is to have a HEPA filter with an activated charcoal layer work in conjunction with an ionizing filter. The HEPA does its magic with the microbes and other contaminants trapped in the fiber filter.
The activated charcoal catches what the HEPA cellulose filter misses. When both work trapping particles that have been exposed to intense UV light there isn’t much of a chance of survival for the invading virus.
How to keep your filter effective against COVID
Now that you know what to put in place in your home, you’ll need to know how to keep it working in top condition for you.
The ionizing or UV filters don’t need much maintenance. If the UV light bulb burns out you’ll need to replace it, and the ionizer works as long as there is electricity supplying it.
The HEPA system, with both the standard HEPA filter and the activated charcoal feature, requires monitoring. Some systems will text you a message once you’ve registered your phone with the device to remind you to change filters. Others have a warning light that lets you know when it’s time for a new filter, and still others, the most basic type, just depend on you to remember when to replace filters.
Replacing filters when they’re saturated with debris, is the only way to keep them working. A plugged filter is no filter at all.
Regular maintenance of a filter, no matter what the style is important. If your air purifier has a replaceable filter of any kind, you need to monitor it, check for viability, and replace it immediately when the time arrives.
A blocked, or plugged filter is no filter at all.
The Top 3 Air Purifiers for COVID
Quality air purifiers can cost thousands, but our top model for consumer use comes in at a reasonable price. This device is rated for large rooms up to 1,560 square feet, more than enough for most homes, or apartments.
It has a small 15x15x23 inch footprint and weighs just 25 pounds, but has many features consumers look for in an air purifier. A WIFI interface allows you to control and monitor the unit from your cell phone, it has an alarm system to let you know when to change the HEPA filter and many other features that allow you to set time intervals.
Best of all, it is nearly silent at low speed and has five different speed settings. It comes with a washable pre-filter for capturing larger dust particles.
Blue Air Classic 605
If you simply want a small room air purifier that gets the job done without a lot of extra electronic controls and interfaces, this simple device will do the job.
Available in Classic 205, 280i, 480i, 605, and 608i, it can purify the air in rooms from 279 to 698 square feet. The larger size units are ample for most apartments and will purify the air in many smaller homes.
It can interface with an Alexa with its WIFI interface. It offers odor removal as well as dust, dander, pollen and mold cleansing.
The unit has a sleep setting and a full power setting with a noise range of 33dB to 62dB.
IQAir HealthPro Plus
This is a power, medical-grade unit. It has a footprint of 16x15x28 inches and tips the scales at 35 pounds.
It is the top-rated consumer air purifier for hospitals, commercial sites, and business offices.
The Health Pro Plus features three cleaning operations, with a pre-filter designed to capture coarse particles, and activated car absorption filter for odors and gasses, and finally a HyperHEPA filter that rids the air of particles down to .003 microns.
The life span of the filters is impressive with the pre-filter rated for 2 years, the odor filter for up to 4 years, and the high-quality HEPA filter for 2 months.
If you have a home or office with a high volume of traffic, either from customers or maybe a group of active children or teenagers going in and out all day, this unit is the one for you.
Air purifiers are a great tool in the battle against COVID.
The air is the vector for this disease, and clean, purified air that reduces, or outright eliminates all viruses floating in the air is your best defense.
Often two types of filters used at the same time produce much better results than either one of them standing alone.