Do Air Purifiers Kill Viruses?

It’s that time of year again when the air is filled with various viruses. According to the American Society for Microbiology, about 20% of all people are infected by at least one virus each year.  The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation indeed. 

However, there are ways to keep these viruses from spreading and causing illness. Studies show that wearing a mask properly and consistently practicing good social distancing can significantly reduce the spread of viruses through droplet transmission.

Another way is by using an air purifier that can help remove harmful particles from the air you breathe. Air purifiers are proven to remove particles from the air and keep the air in your home clean, but are they also removing viruses?

The short answer is yes. Infections such as flu and rhinovirus are typically sent by little aerosol fragments when an infected person breathes out, or coughs, or sneezes; these tiny droplets can stay in the air for a long period of time, up to an hour or even more. In the appropriate circumstances, an excellent air purifier can get rid of a lot of these fragments from the air. Let’s discuss in this post how you can use your air purifier effectively to minimize the risk of infections in this winter season. 

How do air purifiers work?

The majority of air purifiers fall into 2 fundamental categories: filters or sanitizers. Some combine both types in the same device.

Filters are developed to enhance the quality of indoor air by literally removing little particles of harmful substances that can be floating around – such as dust, plant pollen as well as pet fur. All of these particles can naturally occur in the air we breathe in, yet can cause some people’s allergies if they inhale them. One of the most common types of filters for home use nowadays is HEPA filter. 

Sanitizers are designed to eliminate microorganisms, viruses, mold or fungal spores that can additionally be drifting around. These points occur normally, too, but they can make you ill if you’re exposed to high concentration of them. One of the most common sorts of sanitizers now are UV light devices.

HEPA filters

HEPA means “high-efficiency particle arresting.” As the name recommends, these filters are truly good at pulling particles out of the air and keeping them to make sure that they can’t be recirculated.

HEPA filters can filter particles down to 0.3 microns (0.3 micrometres, or 300 nanometres).

RelativeSizeofParticles Infographic 1200px v8
Infographics credit: visualcapitalist.com

The majority of infections vary in size from a mere 20 nanometres (that’s 0.02 microns, or 0.00002 mm) to approximately 400nm (0.4 microns); some are bigger still.

Research studies show that such small particles can still be entrapped by a HEPA filter, and also as a matter of fact the filter has a likelihood of capturing most such little fragments that it experiences. Since particles of this dimension often tend to move in random directions (rather than in a straight line), there’s a likelihood they’ll still make contact with the filter fibres as they pass through it, and also end up being affixed to the filter surface area much like a larger fragment such as dirt.

An air purifier with a HEPA filter will not kill the infection. Even if entrapped, the virus may survive on the filter surface for a number of hours or even days.

UV light devices, on the other hand, don’t remove anything from the air. Instead, they’re designed to eliminate any type of infections, microorganisms or mold spores floating around by subjecting them to ultraviolet light.

Generally, medical usage of HEPA filtering systems likewise incorporates high-energy ultraviolet light units or panels with an anti-microbial finish to kill off the real-time bacteria and also viruses entrapped by the filter. Some of the best-rated HEPA devices have an efficiency score of 99.995%, which guarantees a really high degree of defense against airborne illness transmission.

Are any one of these air purifiers effective against COVID-19?

The size of the coronavirus particle goes to the reduced end of a HEPA filter’s array, so it could not be 100% reliable on a single pass. If a HEPA system is run over a period of time, it can take out a large portion of infections – somewhere in the high ninetieth percentile (99.94 to 99.97%). And also enough time exposure to the UV light in an air purifying device can disable some infections, including COVID-19.

Nevertheless, remember that even a high-end air purifier is not a panacea from coronavirus. It can only be the additional layer (in addition to face masks, social distancing, basic hygiene rules) between you the virus. Let’s assume that someone with COvid-19 sneezes near you and you both are not wearing masks, then your exposure risk will grow up immediately and your air purifier will not save you from inhaling coronavirus particles. On the other hand, when someone in your home is ill, and you take all precautions (masks, social distancing) plus you run an air purifier with UV light and HEPA filter, then your exposure risk will keep low. 

How to choose the right air purifier?

In order to pick an air purifier that properly filters viruses from the air, choose: 

1) a device that fits the size of the room you will be using it in. This is usually shown by the manufacturer in square feet, 

2) a device that has a high CADR rating.

3) uses HEPA filtration system, or especially suggests that it filters fragments in the 0.1-1 um size variety.

What is CADR Rating?

CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. A CADR ranking is a licensed dimension that states an air purifier’s efficiency. CADR rankings gauge the quantity of air in CFM (cubic feet per minute) with separate scores for pollen, smoke, and also dust. The objective of a CADR air purifier score is to offer you an objective criterion to assess the efficiency of an air filtration device.

The CADR score on each air purifier can be discovered on the seal which shows all three numbers for pollen, smoke, and dirt specifically. Obviously, the higher the number the a lot more air is filtered by the unit. Considering that smoke bits are the smallest in diameter (ranging from 0.09 to 1 micron), the number for smoke is constantly the very first one noted. The CADR numbers for dust whose bits vary from 0.5 to 3 microns, as well as pollen with particle dimensions ranging from 5-11 microns follow suit.

What are the other ways to keep your indoor air healthy?

Indoor air quality reduces in Winter since homeowners become more conscious of their indoor environment. It’s common for them to take steps like insulating homes, closing doors and windows tightly during colder months or installing storm shutters on outside walls that can help maintain warmth without letting cold drafts into the dwelling place. These steps are great to keep your home warm, but remember that air circulation may suffer. 

Poor indoor air quality is the leading cause of health problems. The buildup of bacteria, viruses, and mold spores can lead to headaches as well as fatigue; it’s also been shown that poor circulation has an effect on your mental state by making you feel dizzy or lightheaded too! 

These are the general rules to keep your indoor air quality good and healthy: 

Open up your windows

The supply of clean fresh air is key in improving indoor quality. Periodically open up your windows or turn on the ceiling fans to raise air circulation. 

Grow plants 

Indoor plants are a great way to keep your indoor air fresh and clean. Plant-based organic compounds in the form of volatile oils, egc carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapour can be released by houseplants which help reduce harmful pathogens that may exist within polluted environments. The process is also known as “phytoremediation” – an artificial version was implemented on board NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia during reentry where they used just one type: Araucaria heterophylla aka Norfolk Island Pine!

Keep your home clean

You can make your home a cleaner, healthier place with some simple steps. Vacuum and mop the carpets more often during winter when air circulation is poor- it’s easiest on you (and saves money). 

Take care of filters

Update to a much better, higher-quality air filter in the central air duct. Change the filter much more regularly. The common life expectancy of a 1″- thick residence air filter is 90 days. If you are running the fan continuously, you must consider changing it every 45 days.

Conclusion

Air purifiers are a great way to keep your home and office clean and free of harmful particles. HEPA filters can eliminate up to 99% of the particulates in the air, which means they also remove viruses! But don’t forget that there is no such thing as a magic bullet when it comes to safety. To protect yourself from airborne illnesses like influenza or colds follow these other simple steps: wear a mask (N95 rated if possible), wash your hands frequently, stay at least six feet away from others who could be sick, avoid touching surfaces you know will have germs on them and try not to touch your eyes or mouth too much either. 

We hope these tips were useful for your family! If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask us!

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