Breathe easy this season!
With the global concern surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, and in response to recent inquiries from our customers, I wish to share information regarding our efforts to take preventative measures to stop the potential spread of any illnesses across our distribution centers and offices to ensure that you, our employees, and the community we live in remain safe and healthy.
Our thoughts are with those of you who have been affected by the virus. The health and wellness of our associates and customers is our top priority, and we are monitoring this situation closely. We have developed action and response protocols to maintain a safe environment, and we are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health organizations.
Many of you have asked about our ability to continue to provide you with air filtration products to keep your employees and customers safe.
As always, I am grateful for your business. Please reach out if you have any questions about specific requirements or needs to upgrade your air filtration. Together we will make it through this unprecedented situation.
UV disinfection has been tested and proven effective against pathogens that are similar to the coronavirus, and even some that require an even greater dosage for inactivation than coronavirus.
AAF Flanders SuperFlow 24 is a V-bed HEPA filter (99.99% at 0.30 micrometer) specifically designed for high airflow applications requiring HEPA efficiency at an ultra low-pressure drop. The SuperFlow 24 can be incorporated into systems with air velocities of 600 fpm (3 m/s) and a pressure drop of 1″ w.g. (250 Pa)
The Alpha 2000 high capacity HEPA filter is available in a nominal 12″ depth configuration. It is designed for optimum performance and low operating costs in both new and replacement systems.
The Alpha 2000 saves space, energy, and material and labor costs, with 40% more media area than the standard capacity Alpha Cell filter.
AUSTIN AIR HEALTHMATE
The Austin Air HealthMate series removes a wide range of airborne particles, chemicals, gases and odors and will significantly improve the quality of air in your home.
When on STAGE 3 – 60 sq. ft. of True Medical Grade HEPA. Removes 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns and 95% of all particles larger than 0.1 microns.
MASK FILTER INSERTS
Disposable MERV 15 (95%) polypropylene filter inserts help protect wearers from sneeze and cough droplets. Suitable for washable fabric pocket face masks.
We carry a wide variety of products, including UV lights, replacement HEPA filters, new HEPA modules, portable and ductable HEPA filtration units, and other filtration products. To learn more please contact us directly.
Our disposable MERV 15 (95% efficient) polypropylene filter inserts help protect you from sneeze and cough droplets. These are best suitable for washable fabric pocket face masks; these filter inserts are not a substitute for N95. Fabric Masks are not included, and filter media is not washable. To learn more, visit our shop.
When searching for a filter that best captures airborne particles, we suggest a return filter that is rated MERV 13. Ideal for families, the MERV 13 can remove sneeze mist, tobacco smoke, bacteria, some virus droplets, pet dander and face power. The MERV 13 pleated air filters also provide relief from allergens, dust, pollen, cough mist, and candle soot.
It should be noted, if you are in search for something better then a MERV 13, we suggest a MERV 16 filter and High Efficiency Particulate Air unit or HEPA unit. These units will capture most individual virus particles. However, these specialized high-performance filters are designed for medical, high purity applications, and are usually not compatible with home and office HVAC Systems. Check your owner’s manual for advice about the highest MERV rating or percent efficiency that is suitable for your unit.
MERV ratings are determined in a standard laboratory test measuring how well air filters capture and hold airborne particles of a wide range of sizes. Dust, soot, pollen, smoke, and pet and human dander are a few of the types of particulate pollutants that may be found in indoor air. These particles can range in size from less than 1 micron (or millionth of a meter) to more than 10 microns. Simply put, MERV ratings are determined by what comes out compared to what went into the filter during standardized testing.
When looking for a filter best for your home, look for the efficiency percentage rating that is in the 0.1 to 0.3 range, a higher percentage will filter more.
This is uncommon and generally not recommended. A true medical grade HEPA would restrict the airflow far too much for a home air return. Instead, look for a return filter rated MERV 13 - this will capture microscopic sneeze and cough mist (in addition to everyday allergens and bacteria). If you want medical-grade air filtration in your home to protect vulnerable family members, you may want to consider an Austin Air HEPA air purifier.
We don't recommend this. The handling will damage the media and leave tiny holes and weak spots. But if you insist...
MERV 13 filters will provide some protection against airborne sneeze mist, and dust. Do not steam, iron, spray, or otherwise treat the filter media! This will remove the electrostatic charge, which is important for capturing small charged particles like viruses.
Our offices are open to employees only. However, we are more than happy to assist you over the phone. Our phone number is (919) 785-9881. We are open Monday through Friday 7:00am - 4:30pm. We also offer curbside assistance, conveniently placing packages into your vehicle.
With Covid-19 continuing to spread, understanding the proper procedures for air filtration and disinfection remains important. The National Air Filtration and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning has provided helpful resources to guide your business and protect public health and safety.
HVAC Building Filtration and Maintenance
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units can take part in managing migration of airborne particles, as some filters are able to remove particles that contain SARS-CoV-2 virus. ASHRAE recommends using a filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 13 or better. Of course, the capabilities of the HVAC systems need to be taken into consideration. Generally, increasing filter efficiency leads to increased pressure drop, which can lead to reduced air flow through the HVAC system, more energy use for the fan to compensate for the increased resistance, or both. If a MERV 13 filter cannot be accommodated in the system, then use the highest MERV rating you can. Appropriate filters tested under the ISO 16890 Standard can also be used. The table below provides approximate relationships between ratings under the ASHRAE MERV and ISO 16890 test methods. The current recommendations would suggest using a filter with an ePM1 rating under ISO 16890.
More information about SARS-CoV-2 Virus Size and Ventilation
Research has shown that the particle size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is around 0.1 µm (micrometer). However, the virus does not travel through the air by itself. Since it is human generated, the virus is trapped in respiratory droplets and droplet nuclei (dried respiratory droplets) that are predominantly 1 µm in size and larger. ASHRAE currently recommends using a minimum MERV 13 filter, which is at least 85% efficient at capturing particles in 1 µm to 3 µm size range. A MERV 14 filter is at least 90% efficient at capturing those same particles. Thus, the recommended filters are significantly more efficient at capturing the particles of concern than a typical MERV 8 filter which is only around 20% efficient in the 1 µm to 3 µm size range. Filters with MERV ratings higher than 14 would capture an even higher percentage of the particles of concern. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are even better at filtering human-generated infectious aerosols. By definition, a HEPA filter must be at least 99.97% efficient at capturing particles 0.3 µm in size. Thus, HEPA filters are more than 99.97% efficient at capturing airborne viral particles associated with SARS-CoV-2.
Recommended procedures for disinfecting HVAC equipment
Neither ASHRAE nor CDC has posted guidance on the decontamination of HVAC systems (including air filtration systems) potentially exposed to SARS-CoV2. To date, there has not been compelling evidence to demonstrate that a viable virus is contaminating these systems. Should such systems actually become contaminated with viable viruses, the most likely scenario is believed to be that the virus would lose its viability naturally within hours to days, and thus, there is no guidance advocating proactive system shutdown for decontamination and/or filter exchange. If you choose to use chemical disinfectants, it is important to use them properly. There are no disinfectants approved specifically for use inside ventilation systems. If chemical disinfectants are used, they should only be applied with the HVAC system powered off. However, there are hundreds of EPA-registered disinfectants that are effective at killing human coronaviruses (see EPA List N). A good fact sheet on the use of disinfectants to control the COVID-19 virus from the National Pesticide Information Center can also be found here. It provides some tips for proper disinfectant usage, including surface types, understanding the label, and proper dwell or contact times. It is important to remember that most of these disinfectants, while effective at killing coronaviruses, do not continue killing long after they are applied, and would need to be reapplied. Also, disinfectants should not be applied to ventilation filters prior to continued use of the filters inside ventilation systems. The effects of the disinfectants on filter performance are unknown. Filters should only be treated with disinfectants when they are removed from service and discarded.
From The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. “Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary of Terms.” Filtration and Disinfection FAQ, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, 2020, www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/filtration-and-disinfection-faq.
Precautions When Changing Filters
In general, it is sensible to assume that filters have active microbiological material on them. Whether this represents an important infectious disease risk from viruses is not known, but the precautionary principle would suggest that care should be taken. This becomes particularly important in any building (including a home) where there are known or likely cases of any infectious disease including COVID-19. This also extends to portable air cleaner filters and vehicle cabin air filters. Filters should be changed with the system turned off, while wearing gloves, with respiratory protection if available, outdoors if possible, and disposed of in a sealed bag.
From “COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and Air Filtration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).” National Air Filtration Association, 23 Sept. 2020, www.nafahq.org/covid-19-corona-virus-and-air-filtration-frequently-asked-questions-faqs/