On NYC Governor Cuomo’s Push for Air Filtration
In a time where we’re all doing our part to keep ourselves, our family, and our community safe, many are wondering what more we can do. Social distancing, the use of face masks, and proper handwashing are helping the state of New York to be one of the leaders in the fight against COVID-19. On July 7th, Governor Cuomo addressed New York with an update that contained some valuable information and insight into the role that air filtration and purification may play in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
What We Know
While it certainly feels like an eternity, we’re really still at the early stages of learning how COVID-19 functions and spreads. We’re learning more by the day, and efforts to combat and reduce the spread of the coronavirus are ongoing. During Gov. Cuomo’s recent address, he noted a few things worth considering. The virus appears to spread less through surface transmission, and more through airborne transmission. This means that attacking the virus in the air may be an effective means of slowing it down.
Gov. Cuomo also noted that the state of New York is looking into air filtration systems as a means of reducing the virus. He discussed the effectiveness of HEPA and MERV-13 air filters that can filter out the virus as it passes through circulating air that is treated by your HVAC system, stating “the most dense filters can actually filter out the virus.” Of course, compatibility with specific filters depends on your make and model of HVAC system. Still, as Gov. Cuomo stated, “If there’s a way to filter the air, and a way to get COVID out of the air, then we want to do that”.
Considering Air Filters and Purifiers as an Additional Line of Defense
While social distancing, proper handwashing, and isolating known cases are still considered the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus, whole-home air filters and purifiers are worth considering as an added line of defense for many homes and businesses. According to NAFA (National Air Filtration Association), “Filtration in building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can be a part of an overall risk mitigation approach but is not generally regarded as a solution by itself.” NAFA points out that there isn’t yet direct scientific evidence to support claims of effectiveness, but that “some reduced exposure can reasonably be inferred based on the ability of some filters to remove particles that contain a SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
The EPA has also made statements on the efficacy of air purifiers, “When used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a home or confined space. However, by itself, a portable air cleaner is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating an air cleaner can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family.”
So what can we reasonably conclude about air filters and purifiers and their effectiveness in protecting us against COVID-19? While we can’t claim with certainty that they are 100% effective, signs point to air filters providing at least an extra layer of protection from the virus, and filters dense enough likely prevent it from recirculating through your air supply. If these filters work as well as they do against similar airborne viruses such as SARS, they will almost certainly be utilized more and more in homes and businesses across the country.
Is Air Filtration and Purification Right For Me?
At We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air, we’re always looking for ways to help you achieve maximum comfort and safety in your home. We’re vigilantly monitoring the situation, and taking strict precautionary measures to protect both you and our employees. If you’re curious about having a whole-home air air filtration or purification system installed, we’re happy to be a trusted resource of indoor air quality information for you. We’re always here to answer any questions you may have to the best of our abilities.
You can learn more about indoor air quality by visiting the following resourceful sites:
California Air Resources Board
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).