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Will a HEPA filter catch Coronavirus?  We discuss this at length in this article.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing; maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

The Coronavirus Infection — And How It Spreads

The World Health Organization (WHO) Says: ” People catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.  The transmission of Covid-19 is thought to occur entirely through droplets from; coughing, sneezing, or possibly when an infected person exhales air.

Studies to date suggest the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with these respiratory droplets — versus through the air.   The droplets are too heavy to hang in the air — and fall onto floors or surfaces within 1/2 hour.  The droplets land on objects and surfaces near the infected person.

The droplets can reach up to six feet while airborne.  Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others during the Covid-19 outbreak.   If you’re less than six feet from an infected person — you could breathe in the droplets and COVID-19 virus.

It’s uncertain how long the Coronavirus survives on surfaces.   Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours, or up to several days.  This may vary by surface, and may also be affected by temperature or humidity.

If you think a surface may be infectedclean it with simple disinfectant to help protect from coronavirus.  Hydrogen-peroxide, bleach, or alcohol-based cleaners (at least 70% alcohol) are effective at disinfecting surfaces that may have come into contact with the Coronavirus. **

Source: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1

** Source: https://www.gpbnews.org/post/true-or-false-zinc-lozenges-keep-coronavirus-bay

Ways To Help Protect Yourself From Coronavirus Infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wash hand immediately upon arriving home after being out in public.
  • Sanitize surfaces.
  • Especially those surfaces you touch after being out in public (like doorknobs and light switches).
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
  • If someone is coughing or sneezing — remove yourself from the environment as quickly as possible.
  • Cover your cough with a bent elbow or tissue.

 

Will A HEPA Filter Catch Coronavirus?

  • Coronavirus particles size = 0.06 — 0.14 microns.
  • (true) HEPA H-11 filters & N-95 face masks are effective at removing particles: 0.3 microns and larger.   **
  • HEPA Medical-Grade H-13 are effective at removing particles as small as: 0.1 microns.
  • HEPA H-11 filters have also be found effective at removing particles less than 0.3 microns.  We give details below. **

** Source: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/can-air-purifiers-filter-out-the-coronavirus/

*** Source: http://www.kylesconverter.com/length/microns-to-nanometers

What Exactly Is A (true) HEPA (H-11) Air Filter? ***

Copy This Link Into Your Browser To See A HEPA Air Filter: https://www.filters4life.com/Premier-One-RHF562-HEPA-Filter-for-Model-500-p/rhf562.htm

  • HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter.  HEPA filters must remove at least 99.97% particulates within the air as it passes through the filter.
  • Based on Research at the University Of Minnesota — HEPA filters are effective at capturing nearly any particulate size within air.  ***  They can capture viruses, bacteria, pollen, allergens, and more.
  • Nanoparticles (smaller than 0.3 microns) have so little mass — that they get bounced around in random, zigzag patterns.
  • Though Nanoparticles are too small to be caught by a HEPA filter —  their zigzag movement-patterns causes most of them to become trapped.
  • Particles 0.3 microns or larger are too big to move in zigag patterns.
  • HEPA filters remove particles 0.3 microns or larger
  • Some filters are a “HEPA Like” filter.  These are not as effective as genuine HEPA filters.  We discuss only genuine (true) HEPA filters within this article.

** Source: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/can-air-purifiers-filter-out-the-coronavirus/

How Effective Is A (true) HEPA Filter

** Researchers At The University Of Minnesota Tested True Hepa Filters: ***

  • Coronavirus particles’ size = 0.06 — 0.14 microns.
  • In their test — U Of M researchers sent particles of silver from 3 to 20 nanometers into the filters.
  • Nanoparticles have at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers.
  • Their study showed that HEPA filters captured 99.99% of particles smaller than 5 nanometers.
  • Converted To MicronsHEPA filters captured 99.99% of particles smaller 0.10 microns.  *** 
  • Can a HEPA Filter Catch Coronavirus?  Based on this test — the outcome is undetermined.   

 

Based On The U of M Study: Can A HEPA Filter Catch Coronavirus?  True HEPA & Medical-Grade HEPA filters can capture larger Coronavirus particles.

But the smaller Coronavirus particles might pass through the filter.

 

*** Source:  https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/can-hepa-filters-capture-nanoparticles/

*** Source: http://www.kylesconverter.com/length/microns-to-nanometers

 

The Other Issue — Coronavirus Doesn’t Stay In The Air Very Long.

  • When Coronavirus becomes suspended in droplets smaller than five micrometers — it stays within the air for only about one-half hour.  *4
  • Then it settles on surfaces where it can linger for hours.  *4

*4 Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/health/coronavirus-surfaces-aerosols.html

 

Will A HEPA Filter Catch Coronavirus?  Only if the virus is still within the air, and quite close to the HEPA filter.  

The filter would catch the virus particles only if the filter was in the immediate area where the cough or sneeze occurred. 

Otherwise, the virus particles will settle on surfaces & floor long before a HEPA filter would have the opportunity to catch them.

There Are 2 Types Of Pollutants In The Air

Airborne Particles 

  • Particles / Particulates — They Can Be Removed With A HEPA air filter.
  • HEPA filters capture airborne particles — including dust,  pollen, and mold spores down to about 0.3 microns (a human hair is 60 — 120 microns in size.).
  • HEPA filters can’t remove gasses within the air.

Airborne Gasses

  • Gaseous pollutants: include (but not limited to) burning of fossil fuels, paints, varnishes, cleaning products, pressed-wood furniture, and new carpets.  That “new smell” is VOS’s off-gassing from the product.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): indoor VOCs are largely emitted by paint, furniture, household chemicals, and other similar sources.
  • Some VOC’s are carcinogenic (may cause cancer).

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Within The Air

According to the U.S. EPA: *5

  • Volatile Organic Compounds area (VOCs) gasses emitted from certain solids or liquids.  See the second *5 Source below for a list of VOS’s.
  • UV light alone can’t destroy VOC’s.
  • UV shining on a surface coated with Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) — creates a process called Photocatalytic Oxidation.
  • A Photocatalytic Air Cleaner uses UV shining onto a (thin-film) of titanium dioxide-based coated surface.  Photocatalytic Oxidation oxidizes (destroys) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  • Photocatalytic Oxidation can reduce or eliminate VOCs from indoor air. *5
  • See the warnings below about these devices. **

*5 Source: https://www.americanairandwater.com/uv-facts/air-pollution.htm

*5 Source: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality

 

The Two Most Common Ways To Remove Airborne Gasses

  • An Activated Carbon Filter.
  • A device with a UV light shining onto a surface coated with Titanium Dioxide (TiO2).  

NOTE: UV light alone has a limited ability to remove airborne gasses.

 

Examples Of (true) HEPA Air Filter Air Cleaners + Activated Charcoal Filter

SHOWN: Hathaspace Smart True HEPA Air Purifier — 5-in-1 Large Room Air Cleaner & Deodorizer 

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Order From Amazon.com

This is a very highly rated air filter (by Amazon customers).   At the time this was written, there were nearly 2,000 reviews — with overall rating of 4.6 (out of 5)

NOTE:  This filter Uses Activated Charcoal — Instead Of  UV Light & Titanium Oxide

The Amazon Web Page Shows:

  • Purify Air from home-air pollutants like; dust mites, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, pet hair, odors, smoke — and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

5-in-1 Air Filter:

  • Pre-Filter — captures large particles
  • Anti-Bacterial Filter — targets bacteria & germs.  The manufacturer makes no mention if this filter can be cleaned — and no mention if a replacement anti-bacterial filter is available.
  • True HEPA H-11 Filter that filters 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
  • Cellular Activated Carbon Filter — absorbs odors and gases. 
  • Ion Generator (can be separately controlled) Negatively-Charged Ions to target the most stubborn odors
  • Air Quality Sensor: Measures air-quality — and adjusts the fan speed as needed. 
  • Air Quality Display: — displays the air-quality level (green, yellow, red). 
  • Uses Hathaspace HSP-001 Certified Replacement Filters (1 Set: Carbon + HEPA) — also available from Amazon

 

  • Medical Grade HEPA Filter Also Available (on same Amazon page as HSP-0001).
  • True H-13 Medical-Grade HEPA is superior to standard HEPA filters.
  • H-13 Medical-Grade HEPA eliminates airborne particles down to 0.1 microns.

 

SHOWN:  1 Room (True Hepa Air Filter) Air Purifier 

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Order From Amazon.com

The Amazon Web Page Shows:

  • 3 IN 1 AIR PURIFIER FOR HOME True HEPA air filter reduces up to 99.97% of harmful germs, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens as small as .3 microns from the air
  • UV Light works with Titanium Dioxide — to help kill airborne viruses and volatile organic compounds.  UV light can be turned on and off separately.   
  • TRAPS ALLERGENS Pre-filter traps dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter
  • REDUCES ODORS Activated charcoal filter helps to reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes, and more
  • SETTINGS Choose between 3 speed settings and an optional UV C light
  • ROOM SIZE: 22-inch purifier filters air 4x per hour (at max speed) in rooms up to 167 sq. feet.

 

SHOWN:  1 Large Room (True Hepa Air Filter) Air Purifier 

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Order From Amazon.com

The Amazon Web Page Shows:

  • 4 IN1 AIR PURIFIER : True HEPA air filter reduces up to 99.97% of harmful dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens as small as .3 microns from the air ; Input Voltage: AC120 Volt ; 60 Hertz
  • UV Light works with Titanium Dioxide — to help kill airborne viruses and volatile organic compounds.
  • TRAPS ALLERGENS : Pre filter traps dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter
  • REDUCES ODORS : Activated charcoal filter helps reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes, and more
  • RECOMMENDED FILTERS : Replace with Guardian filter C (FLT5000) or a 4 pack of Guardian carbon filters (FLT28CB4)

 

** There Is Current Concern About Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) — And Increased Cancer Risk

There are many manufacturers making Photocatalytic Oxidation Technology (PCO) that utilizes a combination of ultraviolet (UV) light and metal surface coated with a minimum of Ti02 — to achieve a catalytic-reaction that breaks down airborne gases and kill pathogens in the air stream.

When these devices are located within an airstream treating air being supplied to an occupied space — the potential for inhalation of the TiO2 particles is possible for the following reasons:

  • UV light will eventually break down the binders (glue) holding the TiO2 onto the surface. *6
  • Some PCO manufacturers provide air filters coated with TiO2.   When the filter is changed — fibers can dislodge into the airstream and travel into occupied space.

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit for TiO2 = 15 mg/m3 (per square meter of air).  In 1988, NIOSH recommended that TiO2 be classified as a potential carcinogen and that exposures be controlled as low as feasible.  This recommendation was based on the observation of lung tumors (nonmalignant) in a chronic inhalation study in rats at 250 mg/m3 of fine TiO2.

Later, a 2-year inhalation study showed a statistically significant increase in lung cancer in rats exposed to ultrafine TiO2 at an average concentration of 10 mg/m3.  Two recent epidemiologic studies have not found a relationship between exposure to total or respirable TiO2 and lung cancer.  Although an elevation in lung cancer mortality was observed among male TiO2 workers in the latter study.  When data was compared to the general population — there was no indication of an exposure-response relationship in that study.   Disease mortality was not increased significantly in any of the epidemiologic studies.

*8 Source: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-160/pdfs/2011-160.pdf

According to a 2011 publication by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC): “Much further testing will be required on nano Ti02 particles.  Nanoparticles are of greater concern because, the smaller the particle, the deeper it can lodge into the lungs, where it will permanently reside — causing inflammation leading to possible tumors or cancer.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states:  “Until relevant toxicological and human-exposure data (that would enable reliable risk assessment) are obtained — TiO2 nanoparticles should be used with great care.” *7

*6 Source: https://globalplasmasolutions.com/library/test-data/Ti02-the-New-Asbestos-PCO-Technology-Caution.pdf

*7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3423755/

NOTE: Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C Makes No Observations Nor Recommendations Regarding Any Product Using Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)

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The article answered the question does a HEPA Filter Catch Coronavirus.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing; maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and Denton County, TX with no travel charges.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.