Controlling the airflow in your home

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The coronavirus pandemic has people paying attention to their air ventilation and filtration systems like never before.

Experts recommend using HEPA air filters or filters rated MERV 13 or higher in order to pull virus particles and smoke from the air in your home.

“I think the key thing that everybody’s learning through this process is the importance of ventilation,” said Jim Rosenthal, certified air filter specialist and the chairman and CEO of Tex-Air Filters.

Fans and ventilation systems can also help to encourage the air in your home to mix and therefore dilute the concentration of virus particles. But Rosenthal says when indoor air is being replaced, it is important to pay attention to where that new air is coming from.

“People need to realize that when you have a really efficient vent-a-hood that’s pushing a lot of air out of the space, that air needs to be replaced from somewhere,” he said.

The best source of clean air is typically the outdoors, so opening a window can be enough to provide a steady flow of clean and diluted air.

If you do not want air to circulate throughout the entire home, for example if you have people coming to do work on part of the home, sealing off the affected room with plastic and putting a fan in the window can be very effective.

“What that does is it creates negative pressure,” explained Rosenthal, so the air in the room either stays in the room or flows outside, instead of coming into the rest of the house. Hospitals use the same principle when quarantining patients. “That’s what an isolation room does, it takes all of the air out of the room.”

“If people have somebody that has COVID in their house, they should use the same type of recommendation,” he said. “Clear the room that they could be in, seal it off and have a fan going out. The chances of that airborne COVID virus going around the house is dramatically reduced.”