2021 brings us some hope against the pandemic with vaccine distribution and continued efforts to contain the virus. But prevention still largely falls on individual offices and organizations to ensure that both employees and customers stay safe.
The CDC recommends a multilayered approach to mitigation. This involves personal protective equipment per employee and hand sanitizer and cleaned areas for groups. But one unseen tool of mitigation is air filtration. It’s true that concentrations of bacteria and viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus, disperse at even the slightest wind when you’re outside—but inside they can easily spread between people without appropriate filtration.
It’s important for any office building to ensure their regularly traveled areas have sufficient HVAC filtration systems to lower the spread of any contaminant, whether it’s microscopic threats or just everyday pollen that may exacerbate asthma.
The Basics of Air Filtration
HVAC systems run a constant flow of air from one location to another (or cycle air within a central location) and that air passes through sophisticated filters that catch dirt, pollen, and water droplets that carry microorganisms. Stopping them at the filter prevents a substantial amount of these contaminants from entering a space in the first place.
Maintaining these systems and regularly changing the filters is important, but it can also be costly if it’s done unnecessarily. Having an expert available to consult on these sort of routines may help reduce overall cost while increasing efficiency and safety.
Advanced Filtration with UV
Another stopgap to keep microorganisms filtered out is combining the usual HVAC protection with an installed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) filter. As the EPA reports, many of these filters stop microscopic contaminants as small as .3 micrometers. These systems run ultraviolet light at one checkpoint of the filter, which helps kill any airborne microorganisms not caught by the physical filter.
Filters like this help in any situation, but they are an especially good option for places where it’s difficult to increase the total room ventilation, such as older or taller buildings where a rehaul of the HVAC systems could be costly.
Filtration Strategies To Fit Every Office
Not all offices are created equal, and so each needs a different approach. Some could do with an upgrade—and this could range from a complete overhaul of the HVAC system, upgrading it with UVGI, or simply making sure that each filter isn’t overused and fills its slot with no gaps. Other factors like regular traffic, external weather, and many more all complicate things even more. Here are some questions every manager should consider before tackling their filtration issues:
- How old is the building’s HVAC system?
- What filters are compatible with the HVAC system?
- How many open air windows does the building have?
- Where does the most foot traffic occur?
- What rooms are furthest from a source of external air?
- Which filter works best for which rooms and systems?
Understanding the answers to these questions allows anyone to approach the logistics of air filtration from a direction that helps find the lowest possible solution for the maximum gain in air quality and efficiency.
Even after the pandemic, the need to keep indoor ventilation efficient is vital to providing perpetual care with clean air. However, not all offices require the same sort of ventilation setup. It’s important for any manager or landlord to consider the needs of their building and the capacity of their HVAC systems.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by these details, that’s all right—there’s a lot to consider when ensuring the safety and health of your customers or employees. At Maintenance One, we provide comprehensive services and consultations that you can rely on when deciding what’s best for your business and organization.
Reach out to schedule a free consultation if you’d like some expert advice regarding your building’s filtration needs, or request a quote if you’d like us to take care of your facility with our team of trained professionals.