Recently, the governor of New York spoke publicly that the HEPA air conditioner air filter prevents COVID-19. Also, he suggested using the HEPA air conditioner air filter in shopping malls and public places. After this announcement, homeowners across the US are asking HVAC professionals and companies to install the HEPA air conditioner air filter in their air conditioner. But there is a downside of using the HEPA air conditioner air filter. Before telling you the downsides, you’ll have to know what HEPA air conditioner air filter does.
How HEPA Air Conditioner Air Filter Functions
HEPA air conditioner air filters are very thick and dense, and it’s designed to capture microparticle including pollens and allergens. The average cross-section of the human hair is 50 microns, but a HEPA air conditioner air filter can block particles as small as 0.3 microns. By this, you can understand the capabilities of the HEPA air conditioner air filter. Besides, this HEPA air conditioner air filter can capture more than 99% of all particles. That means it can easily capture particles like pollens, bacteria, and dust. But unfortunately, it may not capture or block viruses because viruses are generally smaller than bacteria (1 to 10 microns).
Now, I’ll tell you about the real story behind the HEPA air conditioner air filter in preventing COVID-19.
HEPA Air Conditioner Air Filter: Truth or Myth
HEPA Air Filters may not Block COVID-19 Droplets
As I mentioned earlier, HEPA air conditioner air filter can block particles up to 0.3 microns. This may be enough for most particles, but according to many scientists, the average size of the COVID-19 droplets is 0.06 microns. This means COVID-19 droplets are way smaller than the maximum limit of the HEPA air conditioner air filters. So, if you want to install the HEPA air conditioner air filter just for COVID-19, it may not be a good idea. But HEPA air conditioner air filters are very much effective in blocking other particles.
Here are a few reasons why the HEPA air conditioner air filers may not be a good option to fight COVID-19.
1. Your HVAC System Maybe isn’t Ready
Generally, light commercial and residential HVAC systems are designed for thin air filters. But HEPA air conditioner air filters are 5 to 8 inches thick. As a result, you won’t be able to use the HEPA air conditioner air filter in your light commercial or residential HVAC system.
Again, if your air conditioner is old, and if you use a HEPA air conditioner air filter in it, your air conditioner may not run, and chances are, it’ll backfire on you. But if you really want to install the HEPA air conditioner air filter in your HVAC system or air conditioner, you’ll have to modify your HVAC system. Unfortunately, for modification, you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money on your HVAC system. Besides, sometimes, residential HVAC systems are hard to modify. But if you have a commercial HVAC system, it gets easier, but still, you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money on modification. If you think from the financial point of view, undoubtedly, HVAC modification isn’t the right way to go.
2. Your HVAC Performance may Decrease
As I mentioned earlier, the HEPA air filters are 5 to 8 inches thick. As a result, your air conditioner may not be able to pull the air through your air conditioner air filter. Because of the lack of air supply, air filter drops significantly, and it puts a lot of strain on your air conditioner. Besides, due to lack of air supply, your air conditioner won’t be able to produce enough cool air for your space, and it’ll have to run longer to reach the desired temperature. Eventually, your heating and cooling bills will go up, and the overall air conditioner’s efficiency will be reduced.
After reading all these, you may be wondering how to prevent COVID-19, and the answer to this question is very easy that is to wash your hands regularly and wear masks when you go out. As the vaccine isn’t available yet, masks and handwash are the only weapons to fight COVID-19. But if you really want to add an air conditioner filter for COVID-19, you can add the MERV-13 air filter in your HVAC system. Besides, UV technologies can be useful in this situation.
See the summary of this article in this infographic – 2 Reasons HEPA AC Air Filter Isn’t Enough For COVID-19 Yet [Infographic]
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