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 Temecula and surrounding areas 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.
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.
Why good air quality is important
Good outdoor air quality is fundamental to our well-being. On average, a person inhales about 14,000 litres of air every day, and the presence of contaminants in this air can adversely affect people’s health (see figure 4). People with pre-existing respiratory and heart conditions, diabetes, the young, and older people are particularly vulnerable.
Overseas studies have shown poor air quality can also adversely affect the natural environment. Ecological damage may occur when air pollutants come into direct contact with vegetation or when animals inhale them. Pollutants can also settle out of the air onto land and water bodies. From the soil, they can wash into waterways, or be taken up by plants and animals. Poor air quality can also affect our climate: some pollutants have a warming effect while others contribute to cooling (European Environment Agency, 2013). There have been limited studies conducted in New Zealand to explore these impacts.
These effects of poor air quality on human health and the environment can, in turn, have negative economic impacts. We incur major costs, for example, for hospitalisation and medical treatment, premature deaths, and lost work days. Damage to soils, vegetation, and waterways may reduce the productivity of our agriculture and forestry industries. In urban areas, air pollution can be costly when, for example, transport is disrupted (due to large-scale events like volcanic eruptions), or corroded buildings need to be repaired.
The sources of some of these pollutants also have positive effects. For example, having a warm home (from burning wood or coal, or other heating sources) has health benefits, while transport provides people with mobility and the distribution of goods and services.
Call the Residential Ventilation Experts and have your home air conditioner inspected. (951) 609-9881
Advanced Heating and Air Conditioning
42103 Rio Nedo Ste 101, Temecula, CA 92590