Back in April of 2021, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued a statement saying that airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus is significant and that changes to the operation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems can reduce airborne exposure. This was important because earlier in the pandemic, both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control believed the virus was transmitted through droplets and not airborne. Hand sanitizer was flying off the shelves and people were washing their hands until they cracked. Now that both organizations have acknowledged airborne transmission of COVID, the importance of ventilation and indoor air quality has come to the forefront for consumers. While the conversation around improving indoor air quality has been good, there are more and more products on the market and they are not all created equal. And they don’t all destroy viruses. Here’s what you should know before purchasing any air cleaning products.
Most air purifiers you’ll see use filters. And while they can be helpful in improving air quality, filters do have limitations. Keep in mind that depending on the size of the filter pore openings, small airborne particles and chemicals can still get through. Filters also need to be cleaned or replaced regularly – if your filter gets too dirty then air can’t flow through properly and it simply will no longer work. Finally, filters will not kill viruses. You’ll have to take care when handling and disposing of dirty filters as there can be live germs, viruses and toxins on them.
UVC is a type of ultraviolet radiation and you might see UVC wands or UVC lamp devices for purchase. Unlike filters, UVC light is actually capable of inactivating viruses. However, it only works under certain circumstances. In order for UVC to destroy airborne viruses, the light needs to be strong enough and the viruses need to be close enough to the light for a long enough time. Waving a wand around in your living room just isn’t going to cut it.
The other thing you need to know is that direct exposure to UVC can be very harmful, so be wary of products where the UVC light is not contained.
“Good up high, bad nearby”; this is how the Environmental Protection Agency describes ozone. It is helpful in the upper atmosphere, but here on earth, ozone is a toxic gas. Some air cleaners intentionally produce ozone because it can kill germs. However, it is not safe for humans to breathe so you can’t be in the building while ozone-generating machines are in use (and sometimes for days after). In addition, some air cleaning products like ion generators can unintentionally produce ozone so make sure you ask before you buy.
Reduce airborne exposure
To reduce exposure in your home, you can of course limit the number of people you have over. You can also increase ventilation by opening windows and running fans, but bear in mind that will only dilute the amount of pathogens in the air and not actually destroy them.
New Ti-DOX technology: still to be discovered by ASHRAE
Remember at the start of this article when ASHRAE said that changes to the operation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems can reduce airborne exposure? (And they should know – the ASHRAE COVID-19 Epidemic Task Force received an official acknowledgement from the EPA in December for their invaluable role in protecting public health.) Rather than a stand-alone air purifier that may have some of the issues we described above, we recommend adding a Ti-DOX HydroxylizAire device to your furnace to destroy airborne viruses as air flows through.
As air enters the HydroxylizAire chamber it is decontaminated of viruses, bacteria and chemicals without the use of filters, via the simulated actions of the most powerful combination of cleaning detergents also found in the upper atmosphere – UVC light and hydroxyl radicals. In addition, UVC generated heat and radiation dosage as well as lengthy and close proximity contact inside the patented chamber design makes the HydroxylizAire extremely effective 24/7 with little to no maintenance apart from replacing the UVC bulb about every 18 months.