The truth about Air Quality (IAQ) and the Prevention of Covid-19
There is so much misinformation online regarding indoor air quality (IAQ). Especially for air conditioners and furnaces (HVAC systems) and the spread of viruses like Covid-19.
IAQ products claiming they will kill 99% of the viruses in your heating/cooling HVAC system… is it true?
Here is some really basic information to help clear the air (so to speak).
UV Lights (according to the disease control analysis):
- Kills 34% bio aerosols (includes micro-organisms, mold, bacteria, virus)
- Kills 31% VOC’s (chemical gases, solvents, odour causing contaminants)
- Kills 35% particulates (dust, dirt, pollen, spores, smoke, building materials)
UV lights could potentially kill 99% of viruses but you would need a UV light that shines inside your entire house – not just inside your ventilation system. UV light also causes damage to our DNA leading to sunburns, aging, skin cancer and more so cannot be used on people or pets.
But if you are extremely sensitive to molds or dust or have pets or a smoker in the home; the UV light added to your central air conditioner ventilation will make a noticeable difference in your comfort levels. A UV light might reduce the number of virus molecules blowing about but it won’t protect you from Covid-19.
Ionizers take time to kill bacteria & viruses.
- the e-coli pathogen takes 15 minutes of exposure to kill 99.68%
- TB pathogen takes 60 minutes of exposure to kill 69.01%
There is no study available yet as to how long it will take an ionizer to kill off Covid-19.
That being said ionizers are amazing at reducing (not eliminating) pathogens for people who have a compromised immune system.
There is a noticeable improvement in air quality in homes with ionizers – but they are pricey.
HEPA filters are often regarded as the best form of air filtration (these are standard use in hospitals) but they come in different levels of effectiveness.
Some direct vent HEPA filter installations actually put too much air drag on the motor of your furnace/AC potentially causing pre-mature deterioration of your expensive heating/cooling system.
Side vent HEPA Air Cleaners divert 1/3 to 1/2 of household air through a tightly sealed 3 stage filtration system with its own built in fans so they don’t damage your existing HVAC equipment.
Just keep in mind that a good quality HEPA filtration system is also very pricey.
They absolutely make a difference in your indoor air quality but it cannot remove the virus that is sitting on your clothes, furniture, counters, floors, blinds, and every single thing in your home. It can only eliminate some of the ones floating in the air (Covid-19 can remain in the air up to 3 hours after a sneeze or cough – but it can remain on surfaces especially smooth plastic, metal or glass for as long as 9 days).
Is there a solution that works?
An affordable and reliable filtration system with an added UV light is certainly worth looking into as it will still help improve the air quality in your home and reduce the number of bad molecules floating around.
Your home will feel cleaner (less dust), smell cleaner (less pollutants) and will help with those who suffer with allergies or have compromised immune systems.
But that being said – there is no cure for Covid-19.
- Wash hands frequently
- keep social distancing
- keep a clean home
They will go a long way towards reducing our risks. Sound familiar? Mom knew best after all.