Buying the BEST Air Filter for Covid- Keep YOUR Family Safe!
Over these past few years, Covid-19 has been a force of destruction, wreaking havoc in direct and indirect ways across the entire world. With it came the social distancing guidelines, which, at least in a physical sense, spread people apart and increased isolation. As well, there were numerous restrictions on many different businesses. Indoor dining, cruise ships, airlines, schools, religious institutions, Covid came for them all, showing absolutely no mercy.
Of course, the most devastating impact of Covid has been the numerous deaths from the virus, impacting the elderly in catastrophic and terrifying ways. Many have passed away from the invisible murderer, many were lost to Covid-19.
The question that has been on the minds of everyone, especially those who have someone close who is at risk for serious health complications if they contract Covid, has been: How do I ensure my loved ones remain safe? They can take the vaccines, they can keep their distances, and they can wear masks all day, but there is one source of infection which they may have forgotten about, but is ESSENTIAL to the health of their loved ones. Their air filters.
As the EPA puts it:
When used properly, air cleaners and HVAC filters can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a building or small space.
Brief Introduction to Air Filters and How they Can Mitigate Covid:
Air filters, in a quick summary, are filters that are installed onto your HVAC systems. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Every house, building, apartment, room, everywhere has HVAC systems, because they are how the air from the outside gets inside those spaces. However, air may not be the only visitor inside your home through the HVACs. Microparticles, which can be deadly if the breather has a preexisting health condition, also come along for the ride. Hairs, mold, pieces of wood or cloth, anything smaller than the eye that can float will make its way into your home. And that list includes viruses.
You can be the most careful person in the world. You can spray your disinfectant spray across every table, wipe down each toilet seat after use, wear a mask at all times within your home, stay ten feet apart from everyone, use gloves when washing dishes, all of it will do nothing to prevent the virus from penetrating your defenses and getting inside your home through the outside air. Because all of those protection methods mean nothing when Jake the infected neighbor is out on his porch, coughing away. The coughs emit the virus particles, which like homing missiles, spread into your HVAC systems, until BAM! They are stopped by that filter you installed, prevented from getting into your home. You and your family are safe because of the air filter.
Air filters keep out Covid and keep your home safe. They prevent the virus (among other contaminants) from coming inside and mucking up the air you breathe. By doing that, they keep you, and your loved ones, safe from the virus, safe from having to worry about every breath you take. Do you really want to think about the air you breathe inside your own home? Think about it for a second. If you are Covid-consious to the extreme, on top of all the preventative measures elaborated in the previous paragraph, now you also have to worry about the actual air?! It is too much to think about, too much to worry about. Air filters are a necessary solution for your peace of mind.
The EPA has this to say regarding Air Filter use in relation to other methods of mitigation and protection from Covid-19 infection:
By itself, air cleaning or filtration is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and other public health agencies, including social distancing and mask wearing, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors.
While it is true that air filters are not enough to prevent Covid on their own, clearly, they go a long way in ensuring the quality of your air is infection and covid-free. They play a significant role.
As well, there are many more harmful substances within the air that can adversely affect you or the health of your loved ones. Only micrometers in size, these particles, more colloquially known as coarse particles or fine particles, if inhaled, can cause serious damage to your well-being. The official government page of Alaska says this about the dangers of microparticle inhalation:
Numerous scientific studies have linked fine particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:
- increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing;
- decreased lung function;
- aggravated asthma;
- development of chronic bronchitis;
- irregular heartbeat;
- nonfatal heart attacks; and
- premature death in people with heart or lung disease
To learn the basics of how air filters work, how as a whole, air filters can purify your indoor spaces (and which ones to buy to that effect) check out this article. It goes into detail about all of that plus the differences between the different types of filters, pleated vs. fiberglass and non-pleated, etc. Every homeowner should know the basics of how to make the air in their house pure and clean. This is the place to start.
How Your Filters Prevent Infection:
Infection from Covid can come from a variety of places but to stop it from transmitting in your house, the quality of your air indoors must be improved. The EPA says regarding improving air indoors that,
The most effective ways to improve your indoor air are to reduce or remove the sources of pollutants and to ventilate with clean outdoor air. In addition, research shows that filtration can be an effective supplement to source control and ventilation.
The way the filters work is that they prevent the micrometer-wide particles from entering your home by catching them as they come in through the HVAC. They stop them at the door and do not let them in. That, (if the filter is good enough, which we will get to later) will stop Covid. Filtering your air is the key to keeping Covid out of your house and away from your loved ones.
Which Filters to Buy to Stop Covid:
Some filters perform better than others, and unfortunately in a situation like this, that performance difference can be the determination of your filter’s efficacy against Covid. Some filters are just better equipped to do the job based on two factors: MERV levels and structure.
The MERV, standing for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is used by the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) to classify air filters by efficiency, particle size ranges, and ranges of applications. Filters are rated on a numeric scale, each level determining higher scores in each of those categories. The scale goes from MERV level one to level sixteen, and is a helpful guide to those homeowners looking for air filters but have no good way of determining the merits of one filter over another. This article goes into detail on all of the MERV levels (what each level means, their ideal uses, and comparative pricing) and is an invaluable one-stop reference guide to finding the best air filters for your situation.
Unfortunately, many of the lower MERV levels do not protect against Covid coming through, as they do not have the correct micrometer range to stop the virus from traveling through the HVAC systems.
Covid particles are around 0.135 micrometers wide, which, if you have not guessed, is extremely small. MERV level sixteen, the highest MERV level, only protects from particles up to .30 micrometers wide. Why are filters effective despite that?
This question was tangentially addressed by UVM Health in a question about the efficacy of N95 masks against Covid, as the same question was raised.
The COVID-19 virus is 0.125 microns and N95 masks only filter down to 0.3 microns so how can N95, surgical or cloth masks be effective?
While the size of the virus itself is very small, the virus particles do not travel through the air alone. The virus needs to hitch a ride on the tiny droplets of saliva and water that are exhaled when someone coughs or sneezes, or even on dust particles. Shouting or singing can also disperse these droplets widely. If you are infected with COVID-19, you likely contracted the virus from inhaling viral-infected particles.
The virus, the Covid itself, is connected to larger droplets which are the ones that get stopped by barriers. That also happens to be how the particles get into your home, through those filters.
A good analogy would be Covid as a passenger in a commute through the Holland Tunnel. (a tunnel that goes into Manhattan) The car is what gets Covid into New York City. However if the car is not working then the Covid passenger cannot get through. If the car smashes into a roadblock then it cannot go into New York.
The way this analogy plays out is simple. Covid travels using larger droplets as vehicles to infect people. The drops and larger particles travel through your HVAC systems from the outside, and get stopped by the filters because the filters can stop the larger particles from penetrating the indoor space, and infiltrating the people inside those spaces- meaning, you and your loved ones.
Like thousands of mini vampires, in a sense, Covid needs to be invited to actually enter your home. But as long as that door remains shut with a strong filter, preventing Covid from coming into the house, your home will be safe from infection.
Which Filter is Best for Covid Protection?
The choice of filter genuinely matters in this scenario. Certain filters allow Covid to pass through their systems freely- while others stop it in its tracks. The filters that stop Covid tend to be in the higher MERV level range, like around MERV 13, which Custom Filters Direct happens to carry as its highest MERV level.
In short, if you want to protect yourself or your loved ones from Covid entering your home, the filter to buy is the MERV 13 filter. And when you do- make sure you replace that filter often. At higher MERV levels, unfortunately, the particles can actually disrupt the air flow from the HVAC systems because the filters are catching everything. Many problems can arise from this quality. If left unreplaced, higher MERV levels can restrict air flow and alter air pressure, as well as, on a more serious note, burn out your fan motor, forcing expensive repair fees onto your HVAC systems.
Our contribution towards solving that replacement problem is to automate the system. The most common situation of disruptions regarding filters is of people forgetting or putting off replacing the filters in their homes. That is why we offer a recurring delivery system which delivers the filters directly to your home, ensuring that your HVAC systems remain healthy, your air clean, and your family safe from Covid. Protect yourself, protect those you love, and breathe clean air while doing it by going to Custom Filters Direct today!