We’ve all seen the warnings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the White House urging Americans to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Here in Richmond, it’s not uncommon to see people stocking up on water and bread ahead of a storm, so we’re used to prepping for potential calamity — but can your HVAC’s air filter kill coronavirus, too?
In this post, we’ll talk about the coronavirus outbreak, how air purifiers can help minimize the spread of infectious diseases, and whether your home HVAC system can guard against an upcoming pandemic. We’ll also share tips on how to improve indoor air quality, which is important year round, especially during cold and flu season.
What is Coronavirus?
Recently, we’ve seen people referring to coronavirus as a “cold” or “the flu” in an attempt to assuage some of the panic surrounding this outbreak. The reality is that, in some ways, this is almost true. According to WebMD, most of us have had one of the common coronaviruses, such as the kinds that cause sinus and throat infections, at least once in our lifetime.
The current outbreak stems from a novel coronavirus, which has been named COVID-19. While this one was discovered in December 2019, we have seen more serious forms of coronavirus in the past such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Scientists around the world are working together to determine treatment options and outcomes for COVID-19, but it’s still very early. We probably won’t know much for a while, but in the meantime, the CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, avoiding sick people, and staying home when you’re not feeling well.
How Air Purifiers Protect Your Health
Air purifiers work pretty much how you’d imagine — they draw air in and then send purified air out. Many people use them effectively to combat allergies and they do a great job removing odors from your home. Overall, they do a fantastic job of removing large particulates such as mold, pollen, and pet dander from the air, but they also face limitations.
A standard HEPA filter, for example, can catch 99% of the bad stuff floating around in your home. This is great news for improving indoor air quality in general and this can provide health benefits. However, viruses such as COVID-19 and others are much smaller than bacteria and other pollutants, making them that much harder to eliminate.
Can Home Air Purifiers Filter Out Coronavirus?
As coronavirus is believed to be an airborne illness, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released resources for addressing the 2020 outbreak. They cover guidelines for indoor air quality, residential buildings, healthcare facilities, and more. We know that some hospitals have already begun putting protocols in place to protect patients, but what about our homes?
Some air filter manufacturers are testing their consumer-grade products (particularly HEPA filters) against COVID-19, and the results have been promising. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that while HEPA filters may trap the virus, it won’t be destroyed. Instead, it will “remain alive inside the filter for as long as the virus survives.” In some cases, this can be for as long as nine days.
For those who want to be extra cautious, industrial air purifiers which can more thoroughly clean the air are available. While they might be more effective at preventing the spread of illnesses such as coronaviruses, they tend to come with a much heftier price tag. You’ll have to weigh all the factors to determine whether it’s worth the financial investment in the long run.
Air Purifiers in Richmond, Virginia
Whether you’re dealing with the regular cold and flu season, seasonal allergies, or renovations, focusing on improving indoor air quality is always a good idea. Certain factors, such as household size and whether you have pets, should be taken into consideration when reviewing the options. W.G. Speeks can provide the guidance you need to keep your family healthy and comfortable all year round.
Our NATE-certified technicians have been proudly serving homeowners in the Greater Richmond Region for more than 75 years. We understand that the coronavirus outbreak might be unsettling to some and we’re here to provide the answers you need to make informed decisions. Take advantage of our no-risk, free consultation and give W.G. Speeks a call today!