As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are wondering what they can do to protect themselves and their buildings from the virus. One of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to use air filtration systems with a high MERV rating. In this article, we'll discuss why you should use a MERV filter, what type of filter you should use, and other air cleaning technologies that can help protect you from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using air filters with at least a MERV 13 rating, or a higher HEPA rating when possible. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it's an effectiveness scale for air filters developed by ASHRAE in 1987. A filter with a MERV rating of 14 may be able to remove VOCs* from the air, while a different filter with the same rating may not be able to.
HEPA filters are the most efficient for residential or commercial use, followed by MERV 13-16 filters. However, HEPA filter media is too thin to implement in existing HVAC systems, so the only way to add one to an installation is through a standalone or portable HEPA air filtration system with its own dedicated fan designed to increase the resistance of this type of filter. These handy devices come with multiple filters to trap harmful particles and remove a large amount of COVID particles from indoor air. Portable air purifiers are also available with MERV 13+ ratings.
One way to measure the resistance and also the performance of these devices is to measure air flow. In addition to using air filtration systems, some people are also considering using ultraviolet (UV) lamps or ionizers, ozone generators, plasma and other air cleaning technologies. While these technologies may be effective in some cases, it's important to note that they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. Therefore, it's best to consult an expert before using any of these technologies in your building.
Ultimately, using an air filtration system with a high MERV rating is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your building from COVID-19. For even better results, consider combining filtration with an air purification method such as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). If you have any questions about air filtration or other air cleaning technologies, it's best to consult an expert for more information.