HEPA Filters, UV Lamps and Humidifiers – Oh My!
With so much uncertainty regarding the rapid spread of COVID-19, many are eager to find ways to protect themselves and their families as much as possible. If you are looking at whole-home indoor air quality systems as a precautionary or preventative measure, it is important to be fully educated on everything that they can – and cannot – do.
How Different Systems Work
When it comes to indoor air quality systems, there are several main mechanisms that are used and a particular system may use one or all of them.
These systems include:
- Filtration: Often, a HEPA filter or activated carbon filter filtration systems act like a net by trapping particulate matter and keeping it from continuing to circulate in the air. They are excellent at stopping normal, everyday indoor pollution such as dust, dirt and pollen. However, anything smaller than the holes in the filter will pass through unimpeded.
- Electrostatic purifiers: These systems give nearby air particles a positive charge, then trap them in a negatively charged field. This process is much more effective for smaller particles, making it an excellent solution for issues with smoke and other odors.
- UV germicidal lamps: Rather than physically pulling things out of the air, UV lamps stop the spread of biological contaminants such as bacteria, mold - and yes - viruses. The ultraviolet light, completely harmless to humans and pets, is able to keep these single-celled contaminants from reproducing.
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers: Maintaining a consistent and comfortable level of humidity in the home can go a long way toward ensuring that things like mold and bacteria are not given a hospitable welcome.
Though relatively little is currently known about the COVID-19 virus, it seems unlikely that normal filtration or purification methods would be very helpful in limiting its spread. UV lamps, on the other hand, have some promise. Though neither the CDC nor the WHO have explicitly confirmed its efficacy, most research indicates that it should be a useful tool. That said, none of these can be considered a replacement for reasonable hygiene and sanitization practices.
A Breath of Fresh Air, Even Indoors
Okay, so if it is uncertain how effective these systems can be against the virus, what are we doing here? The fact is, even in the best of times, the air quality in the average home can be as much as five times worse than outside. Dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, smoke and cleaning solvents can all circulate endlessly through your home and into your lungs. With far more people staying home, having cleaner air can make a huge difference, particularly to those who have pre-existing respiratory issues such as allergies or asthma.
To find out if you may be a good candidate for indoor air quality solutions and learn more about your options, reach out to Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar at (408) 868-5500 today.