October 9, 2020 How Effective is HVAC Technology in Fighting COVID? The last few months have been a period of uncertainty. While many strides have been made in containing the COVID-19 virus, the situation still has many of us spending a lot of time at home, or carefully engaging in public spaces mask-clad and keeping our distance. One of the things that has allowed New Yorkers the opportunity to start safely spending a little more time in public spaces is HVAC technology, but the question remains, how effective is it in fighting COVID-19? In this article, we’ll take a look at how effective a few different pieces of HVAC filtration technology is at keeping people healthy and safe. UV Germicidal Lights According to a recent study by Columbia University, far-UVC light- the kind of UV found in conventional germicidal lights- may be effective at killing airborne instances of COVID-19. While this research is still ongoing, previous research has shown that UV germicidal lights effectively kill other strains of seasonal coronavirus. Because these strains are similar in makeup to COVID-19, researchers believe that far-UVC light has major potential in regards to the current coronavirus plaguing the world right now. Additionally, UV germicidal lights have been for decades to kill mold, bacteria, and other viruses. For example, these UV lights have been shown to kill tuberculosis, and can even safely kill airborne influenza viruses. The Verdict: While research into the efficacy of UV germicidal lights in killing the current strain of coronavirus is still ongoing, the early results are promising. On top of that, they have been shown to be effective against other coronavirus strains and influenza strains, and that’s not even mentioning their benefits when it comes to respiratory health for other bacteria and viruses. Our verdict is inconclusive but promising. HEPA Filters There’s a good chance that you’ve heard something in the news about HEPA filters in the last few months; in fact, in late June, HEPA filters were declared a requirement for the reopening of malls in New York State. So what’s so special about these HEPA filters? The science of it goes something like this: HEPA filters are a type of highly efficient air filter that is able to capture any particles of .01 microns or larger. As it so happens, the virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately .125 microns in size; in simple terms, HEPA filters are more than capable of capturing COVID-19 particles to prevent them from spreading. So much so, in fact, that a NASA study concluded that HEPA filters were nearly 100% effective at capturing particles between .01 and .3 microns. The Verdict: HEPA filters are effective at preventing the airborne spread of COVID-19, and are already in use at malls across New York state. However, they cannot prevent other types of spread such as person-to-person contact, which means they are not a total substitute for social distancing or wearing a mask. Ventilation A simpler HVAC tactic that is being used to fight COVID is ventilation. Basic ventilation that expels old, stale air in a space, and replaces it with fresh air seems like a common-sense way to reduce the possibility of virus spread, especially because COVID-19 comes from humans breathing out. But does it actually work? At the moment, it’s hard to say. According to experts, the more often that air can be replaced in a space, the safer it is. However, safer does not equal totally safe. The Verdict: Proper, consistent ventilation definitely makes an indoor space safer, but it doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Ventilation is a necessary part of limiting spread, but it is not the one and only solution. One thing that is clear when taking a look at how HVAC is being used to fight COVID-19 is that taking any and all measures to ensure the cleanliness of your air indoors is more important than ever, especially with summer in our rearview mirror and cold weather in the not-too-distant future. Apollo Heating is committed to keeping your home air as clean as possible, whether it’s through UV germicidal lights, home ventilation solutions, or other indoor air filtration options.