Recently WHO has announced that the COVID-19 is airborne. That means you can get infected through air. After this announcement, people have become concerned about the air quality they are breathing in. However, in this unprecedented time, your air conditioner air filter can play a big part in protecting you and your family from the COVID-19.
According to ASHRAE’s latest guidelines, you should use an air conditioner air filter that has MERV 13 rating or more, or a superior HEPA rated air conditioner air filter. But you may be thinking what is MERV or HEPA ratings are. In this article, I’ll tell you about these two ratings and their applications in your air conditioner.
Understand MERV & HEPA
MERV: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value
ASHAE developed the MERV rating or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value in 1987, and it scales between 1 to 16. Higher the value is, the more efficient your air filter is in blocking small particles. If your air conditioner has an air filter that has a MERV rating of 1 to 4 then your air filter can block particles that are 10 microns or more in size. It’s the minimum filtering rating for residential and light commercial buildings.
Again, if the MERV rating of your air conditioner air filter is between 5 to 8, it can block particles that are between 3 to 10 microns in size. This type of air filter is used in commercial buildings, industrial workplaces, and paint booths.
But when you use an air conditioner air filter with the MERV rating between 13 to 16, your air filter can block particles that are 0.30-1.00 micron in size. Besides, its average Arrestance will be greater than 95-99%. This air conditioner air filter can easily block smaller particles than other air conditioner air filters. That’s why this type of air conditioner air filter is used in sensitive places like hospitals, surgery rooms, and superior commercial buildings.
As COVID-19 is airborne, there is a high chance that you can block COVID-19 particles with a high rated air conditioner air filter. However, there are some more measures to take to prevent droplets from entering your space. I’ll discuss it later in this article.
HEPA: High-Efficiency Particulate Air
HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter is more advanced than MERV rated air filters. MERV air filters can catch 95% of the total particles that is 0.3-1.0 micron in size. On the other hand, HEPA filters can catch 99.97% of the total particles that are 0.3 microns in size. The filtration efficiency of the HEPA filter is even higher for particles larger than or smaller than 0.3 microns.
The HEPA filter can easily block nonliving pollutants like dust, debris, and airborne germs. If you’re worried about which air conditioner air filter to use to prevent COVID-19 droplets from entering your space, then the simple answer is- go for a HEPA air conditioner air filter.
But there’s a catch. Many air conditioners don’t support HEPA air filters. In that case, you may have to change your whole HVAC unit to use the HEPA air conditioner air filter. However, HEPA air conditioner air filters are also available as a portable air cleaner or vacuum cleaner.
If one of your family members is already infected by the COVID-19 and needs to stay in isolation, it’s recommended that you should use a HEPA air conditioner air filter. If you don’t have a modern air conditioner, ASHRAE recommends you to use HEPA and UV air cleaner to stop COVID-19 droplets from entering your space.
Is Air Conditioner Air Filter Enough to Prevent COVID-19 Droplets from Entering My Space?
As COVID-19 is new to us more research and studies are needed before we can reach a verdict about the capabilities of an air conditioner filter in preventing coronavirus from entering through our HVAC system. But for now, you can use a high rated HERP or MERV air conditioner air filter for your safety from the virus and germs in general. Apart from that, you should always follow the guidelines given by the WHO and CDC. Also, when somebody in your house shows any symptoms, keep him/her in isolation because if you don’t then there’s a high chance that other members of your family will be infected.
For more information about air conditioner air filter, contact with your nearby HVAC professionals.
See the summary of this content here in an infographic – MERV & HEPA Rating For Air Filters [Infographic]
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