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HEPA Filtration And Today’s Indoor Air Quality Needs

students wearing masks to protect against COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of community health and how individual actions can affect those around us. This is particularly important as businesses and educational institutions reopen. To do so safely and successfully, individuals must follow expert guidelines for reducing the risk of transmission, such as face coverings, personal hygiene, and social distancing. In addition to these personal preventative measures, leading organizations such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are emphasizing a need for increased indoor air quality. In settings like offices, the CDC recommends high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to help improve indoor air cleaning.

Filtration Performance Standards and Why Experts Recommend HEPA

The effectiveness of an air filter is measured and represented by its Dispersed Oil Particulate (DOP) rating. DOP tests introduce particulates to the filter and measure the output, with results given as a percentage. For example, a 95 percent DOP filter removes 95 percent of the particles introduced. Deemed the pinnacle of air filtration performance by medical professionals and industry experts, HEPA filters have even higher and more stringent requirements.

The Gold Standard: Why Experts Recommend HEPA Filters

As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a HEPA filter is a type of pleated mechanical air filter that meets the minimum required standard of 99.97 percent DOP efficiency at a size of 0.3 microns.

That performance standard means HEPA filters can theoretically remove at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. Furthermore, the EPA notes that the 0.3 micron diameter specification represents the worst case scenario, meaning HEPA filters trap larger or smaller particles with higher efficiency. In other words, these highly effective filters deliver 99.97 percent efficiency or better for all particle sizes.

Using HEPA Systems, Ventilation, and Interior Arrangement to Reduce Risk of Transmission

We all know about using social distancing practices, and it appears other strategies regarding physical space can be beneficial. In a recent study analyzing how the coronavirus spreads indoors, researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering found that combining ventilation and interior arrangement (i.e. people and objects such as desks, chairs, and tables where they gather) could help reduce transmission and avoid “hot spots” where virus aerosols congregate.

Using a classroom setting as an example, the study found that when a teacher – the one likely doing most of the talking – was placed directly under an air vent, the virus aerosols spread significantly less throughout the room. Illustrating how ventilation and arrangement can help reduce transmission in classrooms, these findings can also inform offices and other businesses about how to reorganize and properly utilize their own space and ventilation systems, including HEPA fans/filters.

How Experts Recommend Using HEPA Filters

Knowing how and where to use HEPA filtration with your space and current ventilation system plays a crucial role in their effectiveness. When creating a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan, the CDC recommends employers consider using portable HEPA filtration systems, especially in higher-traffic/risk areas, to boost air cleaning performance. Think about the “hot spots” that are used most often and by more people, such as meeting and break rooms, when deciding where a portable HEPA system will be most effective.

Rely on AQE’s Indoor Air Quality Solution Experts

COVID-19 has presented many challenges, and we must continue adapting as we look to safely make our way toward a “new normal.” Rely on the clean air solution specialists at AQE for all your indoor air quality questions and needs.

XJ-2 HEPA Air Cleaner

Our XJ-2 HEPA Air Cleaner is an amazingly quiet, hospital-grade air cleaner system with a versatile design that can be used in classrooms, offices, lounge areas and break rooms, and other indoor common spaces. During the UL Certification process, the XJ-2 was tested and certified for HEPA status as a whole unit. By meeting the UL standard this way, the XJ-2 guarantees true HEPA performance as penetrations into the air cleaner cabinet, leaks around doors, and integrity of the HEPA seal itself must be taken into consideration.

MiracleAir® PM-400 Portable HEPA Air Cleaner

AQE’s PM-400 Air Cleaner perfectly combines HEPA filtration, easy portability, and low maintenance. The HEPA-grade filter and sorbent media filter deliver high-level performance. Featuring a compact, easy-to-move design with included casters, the PM-400 can be safely moved between high traffic areas with speed and ease.

As we continue adapting to the challenges of COVID-19, trust the indoor air quality experts at AQE for all your air cleaning needs. Our design and engineering specialists use expertise and a consultative approach to provide unbeatable service and solutions.

Contact us to learn more.