Germs are Everywhere
At home, at work, and while away you are continually in contact with harmful microorganisms, including viral and bacterial germs. These pathogens are airborne, found on surfaces you touch, and items you use every day. The places we work, restaurants and cafes, retail locations, hotels, and everywhere else people gather or visit frequently provide a vehicle for germs to live and be transferred from person to person. Most scientists and governments recommend washing the surfaces and items commonly touched multiple times per day what is often missed in the strategy to protect employees, customers, and family members are the need to eliminate these pathogens from the air. Organizations that apply these practices to sanitize commonly touched items or an entire room provide an important step in stopping the spread of germs, however, is this truly efficient?
We work with light scientists and clinical research labs to understand the impact germicidal UV-C and other technological solutions play in the battle to reduce the spread. However, the best way to reduce the number of times and item or surface must be cleaned is to clean the air in which the micro-organisms travel through air filtration and purification.
Stated simply, if the pathogens you wish to eliminate are in the air, they’ll continually settle back on to the just cleaned surfaces and items.
What is medical-grade air purification?
The term medical grade is applied to air purifiers when they meet or exceed the highest standards of air purification. The standard required by hospitals and clients to ensure the smallest of particles, allergens, air contaminants, viral pathogens, and harmful micro-organisms have been removed from the air has to not expose patients to further risk during surgery or hospital visits. While some hospitals and clinics invest in hospital-grade air purifiers for their entire facilities, others focus on critical areas like the ICU, emergency, and operating rooms. Medical grade air purifiers are also used in the recovery room for the elders, pediatrics, and patients with respiratory and pulmonary concerns.
Like most innovations, the cost of the technology required to comply with medical-grade standards has come down over the years and with the global concerns and challenges of Covid has significantly increased the demand for these types product helping to improves the economies of scale and further expand the availability of the devices into commercial, and residential markets.
What is HEPA filtration?
HHEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air the process for removing particles from the air. It's a filtering system that used a web of fibers to intercept and collect particles as they attempt to pass through. HEPA was defined in the 1940s, however, in 1956 the US DOE issued the MIL-STD-282 standard, further specifying different levels of filtration. The specifications continue to be defined by both the US and the EU. However, at its core HEPA filters must remove 99.97% or more of all particles which are 0.3 microns in diameter (99.95% European Standard).
HEPA is the standard by which particles are captured by a filter, there aren't listed by different types of filters, instead of different levels of filtrations. HEPA H10 to H12 is referred to as True HEPA, it denotes it meets the 99.97% filtration standard mentioned above, capturing all particle matter at a rate of 85-99.5% (also including to particles larger than .3 µm) Medical Grade HEPA H13 to H14 is a higher grade of filtrations, it must capture particles down to .1 microns and trap/remove particles at a rate of 99.95% and 99.995% respectively.
Why do we carry two types of air purifiers?
Air Purifiers can be very effective at sterilizing the air in a room, based on airflow, throughput, and the specific technologies used in the filtration process, however only a few eliminate most viruses. Many products in the market advertise the ability to sterilize the air in a room, however as people (or microorganisms) move from room to room they must run constantly and efficiently to keep pace and additionally incorporate tested/proven technology to not just capture particles but destroy the chemical makeup (at the DNA level) of a wide variety of harmful pathogens . A second challenge with many products on the market is the cost of operating them, often requiring replacement filters and safe disposal every 6 to 9 months.
There are several types of air purifiers in the market including HEPA, Plasma, and Ionic, we’ll discuss these technologies shortly as the solutions we offer leverage a combination of the three to maximize the purification process.
HEPA Filtered Solutions - Aeris
We teamed with Aeris, for their range of products which meet the commercial and medical-grade requirements, long lasting HEPA filter technology lasting up to 16 to months under normal usage, and their smart phone technology to enhance the manageability of a single unit or a network of devices across a facility or campus.
HEPA filtration systems are very popular, and efficient at trapping airborne particles. They function by passing particles through a complex maze of tiny fibers. These fibers attract and store the particles until the filter is replaced. HEPA filtrations system is effective filtering systems, however, many fall short when it comes to trapping the smallest of viruses and bacteria or removing smells and chemicals unless they also include a carbon layer to help eliminate orders.
The Aeris True HEPA filtration system, that comes in three different sizes and capabilities starting with the aair Lite model for spaces up to 350 square feet and performs with 99.95% effectiveness. The aair 3 in 1 Pro model for spaces up to 750 square also eliminates more than 99.95 of indoor air pollutants.
The Aeris Medical Pro is a medical-grade device and designed specifically for the health care industry and those businesses are most concerned about harmful micro-organisms like viruses and bacteria. The device covers an area of 500 square feet and utilizes an H13 medical-grade HEPA filter and Plasma sterilization technology capturing up to 99.995% of particles and destroying germs down to .1 microns. This is specifically what’s required to protect against harmful pathogens like the coronavirus.
Plasma Catalytic Purification - Kinyo Technology ESP
We’ve worked with Kinyo for 1 year, they have been producing air purifiers for over 20 years. An industry standard in Asia and many major cities in Europe were outdoor air quality has been a concern.
Kinyo patented technology, delivers medical-grade filtering and purification without the need to replace any filters.
The medica-grade APS 1000 model can cover large areas (980 square feet). All APS models leverage 3 different filtration systems to protect against particulates, biologicals and harmful gases.
The heart of the system is the patented Electro- Static Plasma (ESP) Module
How does it work?
Plasma catalytic purification technology is an electrostatic particulate removal process that leverages ozone (o3) to catalyze chemical compounds or convert to non-hazardous compounds or elements through oxygen ions. The oxygen ions create oxidization which reacts with to destroys odor molecules and toxic organic matter. The process can also convert compounds into CO2, H2O and small bacterial molecules avirulent.
Furthermore, microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and mold cell membranes are damaged by the oxidation of oxygen ions, thus losing their ability to reproduce.
Air purifiers based on Plasma technologies, create plasma to destroy the cells of micro-organism, literally destroying them or eliminating their ability to reproduce, these type filtration systems are often combined with other filters to provide an added level of protection to the removal of particles.
The Kinyo commercial medical-grade APS product line leverages they're patented ESP (Electro-Static Plasma Network) to highly charge particle, trap and destroy them, at a particle capture rate of 99.98% and micro-organism down to .1 microns. Unlike, HEPA filters, the ESP never needs replacing, the devices, notify the owner when it must be cleaned, which requires removal and rinsing with warm soapy water.
The unit also includes and Ionic filtration cycle, exposing these particles to germicidal UV light and ozone to further eliminate pathogens and finally a chemical catalytic converter to removes VOC and other harmful gases.
Ionic Filters (A Kinyo Subsystem)
Ionic air purifiers were popular in the early 2000s and feature filter-less air cleaning and are typically less expensive. These devices use electrostatic precipitators that utilize positive and negative charged plates to charge, attract, and store particles until the plates can be washed and reused. While these devices offer some level of air purification, they are also known to create secondary pollution in the form of ozone as a byproduct. Ionic filters are better suited for capturing particles like pollen, dust, and mold spores rather than bacterial or viral pathogens. This technology is also present as a subsystem to the Kinyo APS solutions and acts as a secondary filter to further trap and destroy pathogens.
Many of these technologies are becoming part of our everyday lives as the world continues to find ways to manage the many challenges of Covid pandemic.
Whether we find them in the corner of the room in our homes or part of a SMART centralized network of air quality nodes at a building, restaurant, gym, clinic, or the places we work, each node triggering millions of daily notifications that devices are managing the rise of indoor pollen, air pollution, or the next flu virus.
Determining the right air purifier for your requirement.
TToday many major American airlines like Delta, United, American, JetBlue, and Southwest, highlight their use of air filtration systems to help ease traveler's concerns. Most deploying medical-grade HEPA based filtering system mixed with fresh air drawn in from the outside. The debate continues around how effective these devices are at protecting against the coronavirus that spreads with a cough or sneezes while sitting shoulder to shoulder with other travelers. What everyone agrees to is the frequency in which you replace the air in a space is one of the essential factors in cleansing the indoor air you work and live in.
We represent both the Aeris and Kinyo filtrations systems, and an important question our customers ask is, "How much air purifier do I need for my space?". The industry does a great job of making the answer to this question obscure to compel consumers to buy on emotions. With messaging focused on high pollution days, pollen counts, harmful mold, and deadly viruses. It's also a language filled with acronyms and formulas like HEPA, ULPA, ESP (standards), CFM, CADR, ACH (air cleaning rates), PM2.5, PPM (particle size) and the list goes on.
Air purification systems at the core can be relatively simple devices, they draw air in with a fan, pass it through a filter, and release the air back into the room cleaner. The better the filter, the cleaner the air, the better the fan, the larger the area that can be cleaned. Even our air purifiers' specifications are rich with acronyms but allow me to provide the basic building blocks when planning to purchase any air purifier.
- Select a product that filters out 99.97% or greater particles to .3 microns or HEPA filters or fine particles measured as PM2.5. This is a good start, however, if you are concerned about smells and chemicals, look at systems with additional technology.
- Measure the cubic footage of your space. Calculate the square feet by multiplying the length and width of your room first, then multiplying that number by the ceiling height. Most filtration systems use 9 feet as the standard height of a room.
- Note that manufacturers will reference CADR (clean air delivery rate), measured in m3/hr (cubic meters per hour or CFM (cubic feet per minute). Identify a high-quality model that can effectively filter the air for the size space you have.
- Finally, make sure space you wish to filter, clean or sanitize, doesn't require increased air changes per hour, referred to as the ACH (air change rate). Most manufacturers calculate the device's CADR based on four air changes per hour. An airplane must filter the air 20 or 30 times per hour. If your business has people seated close together like a restaurant, or high turnover like a clinic, or uses chemicals or pollutants like a salon, look for products with a higher ACH.
If this still seems complicated for your use case, here is a simple cheat, take the square footage of the space you wish to filter and match it to the manufacturer’s CADR (you want a CADR number that about the same as your square footage), you’ll be within 10% of the actual rate.
Example 400 sq. ft. with 4 air changes per hour has an ideal CADR of 408.
If the manufacturer provides only a CFM rate multiply your square footage times .6.
Example 400 sq. ft. times .6 equals 240 CFM.
We are here to help!
If your planning to filter the air for a larger space, building, or entire campus, contact us and we'll have a specialist work with you to design the ideal network of devices based on square footage, ceiling height, traffic flow, and other parameters to create a safer, healthier, environment.