How To Make Indoor Air Safer
|Photo Illustration By: Five Thirty Eight / Getty Images|
Article cited from: https://tinyurl.com/y3eyys4t
Experts have been telling us that the coronavirus can be spread by sticking to large respiratory droplets that inevitably travel by coughs, sneezes, and talking, but we are now seeing growing evidence that small particles in the air can also carry and spread the virus too. We know how to protect ourselves by social distancing, vigorous hand washing, and wearing masks, but how can we stop the lightweight particles that float through the air? It is possible that air filters could be key assets in stopping this pandemic.
To be infected by COVID-19, one must inhale a large enough concentration of the virus, although we are still unsure of what this dose is. Experts are now seeing evidence that you can become infected through aerosol transmission too. There is a much lower chance of contracting the virus in wide-open spaces since particles are more easily dispersed and therefore diluted in the air. Indoors, however, makes it much easier for a denser concentration to accumulate and become a threat to health. This is why it has been recommended that businesses turn to alternative platforms such as outdoor dining and modified services.
Essential services like schools and places that operate during cold winters may not be able to turn to simple solutions like merely opening a window to improve circulation. The good news is that there are other possible solutions to solve this indoor air purification crisis.
“You can achieve an air change by one of two ways,” said David Krause, a certified industrial hygienist and the owner of HealthCare Consulting and Contracting. The first is “through the gross changeout of air, bringing in outside air and exhausting air from the room. Or you can achieve it by using high-efficiency filters that effectively remove virus-containing particles from the air.”
It isn’t practical for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to simply circulate recycled air around rooms and buildings where the virus could easily transmitted to every space. The air must be replaced instead of recirculated.
Filters are very effective with trapping harmful particles and removing them from the air that we breathe. It is recommended that existing air filters are replaced with a finer filter that would capture more particles and be more efficient. However, changing air filters might not be enough to stop the pandemic. The CDC recommends that buildings reach at least 6 air changes per hour, whereas the average commercial building only reaches about 1-2 changes per hour.
If we envision kids going back to school and employees going back to offices, it will probably be necessary to have singular HEPA filter air cleaners to rely on in every room. These filtration systems can sometimes be expensive but are a huge part of the solution.