Federal funding can help you install air purification systems in your school

Air purification is the improvement of indoor air quality by bringing in fresh air, filtering the air in a room at least 3 times every hour

When choosing a purifier, look for a device that also offers odor reducing technology.

Understanding acronyms

HEPA: The CDC endorses high-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) as the most efficient at capturing human generated virus particles. HEPA filters push air through fine mesh filters, removing dust and other particles without releasing any new potentially harmful materials into the air.

A true HEPA filter can remove at least 99.97% of particles in a lab setting. Be wary of HEPA-like or HEPA-type as they are not true HEPA and do not deliver these results. It’s also important to note that some viruses and VOCs are too small for even HEPA filters to trap, which is why multi-layered technologies- photocatalytic processes, UV lights and ions – are seen in the most effective air purification devices.

PCO: Photocatalytic oxidation photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology uses energy to turn moisture in the air into products that continuously clean your space.

BPI: Bipolar ionization creates a plasma of electrical charges, ionization removes allergens and other harmful pathogens from the breathing space, either by pushing them away or causing them to clump together and fall to the floor.

CADR: The clean-air delivery rate rating measures the speed that the purifier turns over the air in the room and removes dust, smoke and pollen. Look for a CADR of 300 or more.

Which one is right for us?

We’ve already established that a True HEPA filter is the first thing you want to look for, as well as a CADR of 300 or more.

One of the most common mistakes is choosing a purifier that’s not powerful enough for the space it’s cleaning. Make sure you install a device that’s designed for the size of the room or space you are trying to purify.

Recently the EPA took a stance advising that the use of ozone during the purification process should be limited to unoccupied spaces. Be sure to carefully read your owner’s manual regarding your device’s ozone emissions and operations.

Look for multiple technologies. Combining active air purification technologies such as PCO and BPI with a passive HEPA filter can further improve indoor air quality, speed up the purification process and destroy the smallest contaminants that the HEPA can’t capture.

Extend the life of your device

Once you’ve installed your air purification devices, maintenance is an important part of making sure they are operating to their highest ability.

Cleaning the external filters on a monthly basis keeps the internal mechanics clean and extends the overall life of the product.

If your device uses an active technology such as PCO or BPI, it likely has a UV light. You’ll also want to follow the manufacturer guidelines regarding replacing the UV light cell that controls the photocatalytic process annually or every two years to achieve maximum performance. You can usually return used cells to the manufacturer or dispose them in accordance with your local regulations.

One final note

Remember, the effectiveness of air purifiers in real-world situations will vary significantly from the controlled conditions in a laboratory. The air we breathe is constantly changing due to the conditions (including temperature and humidity) of the room we’re in, plus the materials and the people in the room.

Installing an air purification system is absolutely a great step to improve the space where your students and staff work, learn and play.

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