Air cleaners and air purifiers are primarily designed to remove particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander from the air; however, in cases where a virus is small enough to be carried by respiratory droplets, such as COVID-19, it is tempting to consider air filtration and cleaning systems as a tool to help fight the virus. While these systems offer many benefits to improving the quality and health of your indoor air, they are not a proven solution for preventing against coronavirus, especially as COVID-19 and similar illnesses spread primarily through direct contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces. When used appropriately, however, they may be helpful in specific situations, such as helping prevent the spread of the virus in the air when an infected person is quarantined in an enclosed space, though they are limited in their effectiveness.
How Viruses Spread
Most viruses spread through contact with an infected person. Viruses like COVID-19 are small enough that they can be carried by respiratory droplets, which are expelled whenever a person coughs, sneezes, yells, sings, or even talks. While many of these droplets will fall to the floor or nearby surfaces, some can be carried in the air for considerable distances, and they may contain enough virus particles to pose a threat of infection. It is also possible to contract a virus by touching a surface that a contagious person has recently touched, though viruses can only live on surfaces for a matter of hours or days.
Why the Efficacy of Air Cleaners for Virus Removal Is Limited
As a tool to fight the spread of viruses, air filtration systems or air cleaners have limited efficacy. While they may remove repository droplets that contain the virus from the air, they can only filter part of the air volume in any given location. Plus, surface contamination poses a significant threat of infection in any room.
Where Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers May Be Helpful
In some specific instances, air purifiers or air cleaners may help limit the spread of a virus like COVID-19. If a person is quarantined in an enclosed space like a bedroom, an air cleaner may help to remove aerosolized virus particles from the room air. This may help to limit the spread to other household members or caregivers who enter the room, though nearby surfaces will still be contaminated with virus particles. The air cleaner should be placed within a few feet of the patient, and when the filter or collector plates are cleaned, care must be taken to avoid infection, as the virus may survive on such surfaces for hours or days. The exterior of the machine should also be carefully sterilized to avoid spreading the illness to others.
Will UV Air Sterilization Help?
It is not currently known if UV air sterilization systems have any effect on COVID-19. Although UV light can kill many bacteria and viruses, the dwell time and intensity of the light are crucial factors in its performance on any particular organism. Because information on COVID-19 is incomplete, and aerosolized transmission is only a small part of the virus’s spread, the effectiveness of UV sterilization is likely to be extremely limited.
Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers in Akron, OH
While the effectiveness of air cleaners and air purifiers against COVID-19 and similar viruses is limited or largely unknown, the benefits of improved indoor air quality itself are well known. They can include reduced skin and eye irritation, reduced allergy and asthma symptoms, and better overall comfort, among others. At Blind & Sons, we sell, install, and service a wide range of air cleaners, air purifiers, and UV air sterilization systems. We also offer duct cleaning, HVAC maintenance, and other services that can improve the indoor air quality in your Ohio home significantly.
Give us a call today at (330) 753-7711 or contact us online to learn more about our indoor air quality products and services in Akron and Northeast Ohio.