museum exhibits blog

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Museum Exhibits and Healthy Air

4 minute read

Museum exhibits house a collection of unique and priceless artifacts, whether it’s articles, artwork, tools, or other important pieces. Their goal is to preserve these artifacts indefinitely. Using a combination of humidity control, light control, and air filtration, museums help preserve these pieces for successive generations to enjoy.

Preserving Artwork and Artifacts in Museum Exhibits

Preserving these different media is a tricky job. You’re sort of learning as you go. The modern system of artwork conservation is rooted in World War II. Citizens and museum workers placed the artwork in makeshift underground mines and subway tunnels to protect them from bombings. They found out that the pieces were well maintained and concluded that cool, dry, and stable environments were the ideal environments for preservation.

In the decade following World War II, art museums used a combination of humidifiers, thermostats, and central air to balance human comfort with the best environment for the different artwork gallery museum exhibits. This was a temperature of around 70 degrees and relative humidity hovering between 45-55%. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers in their own studies has found this the ideal range to reduce dust, pests, and other corrosive materials that can damage artifacts such as mold and mildew.

Managing Corrosive Materials

Airborne pollutants react poorly with the different dyes, pigments, and other materials. A proper HVAC system is about the only line of defense these artifacts have.

Reactions are usually small and can be easily managed by conservationists. Any strong and quick reaction leaves the artwork permanently damaged or destroyed. Dust is one of the biggest irritants for conservationists. Proper humidification is integral to limiting dust. It’s a highly corrosive material that can wreak havoc on all mediums. Outside of dust, proper humidification keeps wood from rotting and splitting, and leather from stiffening.

Archivists placed more unstable materials such as minerals and metals in their own microclimates. Humidity, temperature, and air filtration are more closely monitored by conservationists in these separate areas.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream: A Case-Study

An Oslo, Norway art museum also quickly learned a lesson recently about proper humidification. They noticed deterioration on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch’s The Scream. A team of scientists decided to figure out what was causing this issue. Thieves stole the painting in 2004. Police recovered the painting in 2006. The museum’s gallery has rarely displayed the painting in public since the recovery.

The scientists determined that the cadmium sulfide pigments when exposed to a relative humidity of 95% they turned to cadmium sulfate. Scientists were able to conclude that high levels of moisture, not light, was the biggest culprit.  This knowledge will help preserve other pieces completed around the same timeframe. Since the study, The Scream has returned to the museum.

Constanza Miliani, the study’s author, said, “This kind of work shows that art and science are intrinsically linked and that science can help preserve pieces of art so that the world can continue admiring them for years to come.”

Helping Museums with Humidity Control

Aprilaire

In Kansas City, MO sits the Piano Technicians Guild building. This 14,000 square foot building includes a museum. This exhibit includes a collection of historical pianos and early tuning instruments. An Aprilaire dehumidifier was installed in 2007 to help preserve the museum’s collection of important music artifacts, including the grand piano that was on stage the night President Lincoln was assassinated in Ford Theatre. Preserving this and other pianos in the area will help the museum.

“Keeping the humidity level around your piano as constant as possible will help it stay in tune longer as well as slow such damage as soundboard cracks, loose tuning pins, and glue joint failures.”

Dristeem

Aprilaire’s sister company, DriSteem, manufacturer of commercial dehumidifiers has used their humidification expertise to help two museums preserve historical pieces. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY is an aviation museum that houses many early aviation artifacts. The building’s relative humidity fluctuated between 3-10 percent. A DriSteem Humidifier helped eliminate those concerns to preserve history for fans of early flight collections.

The company also did a case study for the National Museum of Music in Calgary, Canada. Due to the museum’s location, the area is fairly dry. These conditions could lead to major issues in preserving those artifacts. DriSteem’s recommendations will help Canada and the world enjoy important pieces of Canadian cultural history.

Housed in the Smithsonian’s National Archives is a book about humidity control. The author, Bernard Morton, worked for DriSteem and received a patent for his work on the steam humidification cabinet.

Conservationism and HVAC

As we push into the second decade of the 21st century, the scientific advancements in HVAC engineering have provided conservationists a better opportunity to provide the perfect micro-climate for each museum exhibit.

Although museum exhibits can appear stuffy due to the plethora of no touching signs and security guards monitoring you, that is not their intention. In fact, it’s for the sake of the different artifacts. Due to the volatility of pieces, conservationists are simply trying to help slow the rate of degradation.

Increasing scientific advancements will help museums better conserve important artifacts for successive generations. Healthy air will play an integral role in both the preservation of these collections and your family’s health.

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Much of the information for this article was provided by Gregory Dale Smith, a Senior Conservation Scientist at Newfields. Smith helps preserve many of the Indianapolis Art Museum Exhibits. Newfields comprises the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Fairbanks Park, The Garden, Lilly House, and the Elder Greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

best places to live with asthma

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Best And Worst Places To Live With Asthma

2 minute read

Best and Worst Places to Live With Asthma

The prevalence and severity of asthma vary widely across the United States. These factors often change based on the air quality, awareness, and medical care available in each state. If you live in an area with high rates of asthma, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and to be aware of the ways asthma may affect you or your children. Check out the latest data on asthma prevalence for adults and children, and the number of asthma-related hospitalizations by region to see the best places to live with asthma.

 Highest Asthma Percentage – Adults

  1. West Virginia; Maine 12.3%
  2. Vermont 12.0%
  3. Rhode Island 11.9%
  4. New Hampshire 11.8%
  5. Oregon; District of Columbia 11.6%

 Lowest Asthma Percentage – Adults

  1. Texas 7.4%
  2. Iowa; South Dakota 7.9%
  3. Nevada 8.0%
  4. North Dakota 8.2%
  5. Minnesota 8.3%

 Highest Asthma Percentage – Children

  1. District of Columbia 10.9%
  2. Hawaii 10.2%
  3. Pennsylvania; Connecticut 9.7%
  4. Vermont 8.8%
  5. Indiana 8.7%

 Lowest Asthma Percentage – Children

  1. Nebraska 5.0%
  2. Minnesota; Montana 5.3%
  3. Utah 5.5%
  4. Kentucky 5.8%
  5. Illinois 6.0%

Asthma Hospital Visits by Region

Rate of physician office visits with asthma as first-listed diagnosis (per 10,000)

  1. West 438.3
  2. Northeast 313.4
  3. South 290.4
  4. Midwest 172.0

Healthy Air Environment For Your Home

If you or your children are living with asthma, you can use the statistics above to make an informed decision about the best area for you to live. But no matter where you’re living, there are some steps you can take to ensure a healthy environment for your family.

Begin by looking out for unexpected asthma triggers that may be in your home, school, or workplace.

Then you can use these Healthy Air tips to turn your home into a sanctuary from the outdoor air that may exacerbate asthma symptoms and attacks. We hope you can use these tools to take control of your environment to make a safe, healthy home for you and your family.

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

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green space

AA Homepage Articles |

Dining Out: Cities Expand Green Space During COVID-19

4 minute read

During the lockdown, some of us have had to confront our demons. Well, at least our cooking ones. Some of us have used this time to up our cooking skills and make our friends jealous on Instagram. Others have eaten a rotation of ramen, delivery, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For those in the latter, I have good news for you. Cities across the country are reopening. As they start opening, restaurants and cities are finding creative ways – including expanding green space – to help you dine in while also dining out.

Cities Use Green Space to Expand Dining Space

Many cities are shutting down streets to increase the green space and expand dining spaces across the country. Restaurants, unfortunately, lend themselves to coronavirus transmission. Dining rooms can be filled to the brim with patrons looking for a relaxing experience. These close quarters is exactly what coronavirus feasts on. Aerosols from sneezing, talking, and coughing can spread beyond the social distancing limits when these aerosols are caught up in the air stream of a restaurant’s air conditioner.

COVID-19 Spread Through Aerosols

This type of situation is exactly what happened in a Wuhan restaurant. One infected diner spread the disease to people at different tables. A University of Oregon study did a 3-D model of this scenario. They then added ventilation to the scenario to show just how different the situation could have been if just a bit of fresh air was added to the equation. The droplets fell to surfaces much quicker and the infected air was diluted, reducing transmission.

Restaurants Use Multiple Methods to Combat COVID-19

The reason so many cities and restaurants are focusing on increasing outdoor dining are that the chance of viral transmission outdoors is more limited. Researchers are still studying COVID-19 so the data is still presenting itself but as the United States pushes through the first wave, researchers are finding evidence that being outdoors is an effective strategy against COVID-19.

Other restaurant owners have turned to more unique options to combat COVID-19. A restaurant owner in the Wisconsin Dells area has turned to technology that uses a combined attack of UV light and anti-microbial spray. Another restaurant owner has turned to shower curtains to help stop the spread. To fully prevent the spread, different sanitation techniques, and a Healthy Air SystemTM – comprised of ventilation, humidity control, and air filtration –  present the best options. Currently, though, restaurants and shop owners are eager to get back to business and will happily try different options to make sure customers both feel and are safer.

The new normal of COVID-19 is presenting itself in these restaurants, dining out to dine in looks like it might be enough to squelch the hunger of so many of us who want the taste of a great meal outside of our homes. Or even a respite from the old PB&J routine.

Outdoor Air Quality Increased from Limited Travel

The bigger question though is how long these fixes might last and how many of them become permanent fixtures. The New York Times released an interactive article detailing the reduction in air pollution from people not traveling to work every day. Some companies are choosing to keep their employees at home indefinitely or until a vaccine is released.

These reductions in travel will have an impact on the environment. As some cities close streets for larger outdoor dining spaces, people may eschew driving for public transportation or walking. As cities, businesses, and residents all walk the tight rope of deciding how to safely reopen, there’s no doubt that our climate is reaping benefits. Plenty of videos have circulated online of animals walking down the streets of once-bustling town’s main streets. As climate change becomes an even greater focus, these small changes could result in more permanent fixtures as people adjust to the unusual circumstances presented by a worldwide pandemic.

Cholera Resulted in Expansion of Green Space

This would not be the first time that a pandemic has resulted in more green space in cities worldwide. During the cholera outbreak of the mid -19th century, New York City was a breeding ground for disease.

“Nineteenth-century cities were crowded, filthy places that provided the perfect breeding ground for diseases such as cholera. While garbage, animal manure, and human waste flowed freely into drinking water sources, it was the pungent cocktail of odors they produced that many medical professionals blamed for spreading disease.”

Public health officials concluded that change was needed resulting in wider streets, pigs being expunged to rural areas, and clean water ducted in through pipes and aqueducts. Parks were built for fresh air and clean spaces so residents could relax and perform recreational activities.

Cholera also transformed Paris into a facsimile of beauty. Napoleon III saw the benefit of London’s efforts to clean up their city after their cholera outbreak. He admired the beauty too and ordered Paris to do the same.  Many of these plans helped provide a respite from cholera. It also provided a picturesque landscape amidst a sprawling scene of factories and homes.

The New Normal

Everyone is going to have to adjust their normal until an effective vaccine is released.  During these warmer months, we will likely enjoy most of our favorite activities in outdoor spaces.

During the fall and winter, customers will have to eat, drink, and shop inside. The health of a businesses’ indoor air is an important step that many companies will eventually have to take. The warmer temperatures do offer us some time until, but healthy indoor air is a year-round solution. Currently, the new normal makes sense, but ventilation is the key to suppressing airborne diseases.

unexpected asthma triggers

AA Homepage Articles |

Unexpected Asthma Triggers – How To Stay Healthy During Allergy Season

2 minute read

Nearly 8% of all adults in the U.S. currently have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Of those approximately 20 million people, many are unaware of how to avoid asthma triggers. While most asthma sufferers can feel when they’re having an asthma attack– characterized by wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath–the CDC reports that many of them are unaware of how to avoid what’s causing the attack.

Common triggers include things like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution, and colds and flu. But even when minimizing contact with those common irritants, asthma sufferers may find that their symptoms persist at odd times and in unexpected places.

Awareness is crucial in preventing asthma attacks, so let’s look at some unexpected triggers to keep an eye on. For any questions on your asthma diagnosis and general health, be sure to consult your doctor.

5 Unexpected Asthma Triggers

1. Acid Reflux and GERD

Research has revealed that GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is more common in people with asthma than in the general population. This could be for a couple of reasons:

  • Acid reflux damages the esophagus, causing heartburn and general pain in the chest area. This can potentially lead to or exacerbate asthma attacks.
  • Conversely, asthma attacks can lead to GERD because the motion and force of severe coughing and wheezing may cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus.

In either case, if you have asthma, be aware of GERD and heartburn. Treating acid reflux can lead to increased general well-being and help lessen the severity of asthma attacks.

2. Food Additives

Common food additives and preservatives may irritate your immune system and airways. Sulfites are a preservative often added to things like wine, dried fruit, baked goods, and other processed foods. If you notice a certain type of food irritates your asthma, look at the ingredients list to see if anything raises a red flag. There are typically alternatives you can eat that don’t include additives.

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3. Food Allergies

Beyond the additives mentioned above, whole foods can irritate asthma if you have an unknown allergy or intolerance. Food allergies don’t always present as a closed airway or hives. Sometimes symptoms can be as simple as an upset stomach or fatigue. To see if any common foods are causing allergy symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about trying an elimination diet.

4. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

It’s tempting to mask household odors with air fresheners or scented candles. But be aware that these often introduce harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to your home. Added fragrances or the smoke from candles can cause allergy symptoms that lead to asthma attacks. Try to increase the ventilation to your living space for better odor control and to prevent contaminated air.

5. Aspirin

In the medical field, there’s a well-known correlation between asthma attacks and aspirin or other pain relievers known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). But if you’re unaware of your asthma or the severity of the symptoms, you may want to be mindful of how often you’re taking common pain relievers. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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reopening

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Reopening Safely: How Healthy Air Can Help Everyone Breathe Easy

4 minute read

COVID-19 has come under scrutiny by health experts. The virus transmits from coughs, sneezes, and talking through projected aerosols. These projected aerosols enter air streams. This becomes especially problematic in tightly enclosed spaces where the air is recirculated without proper filtration, ventilation, and humidification, or a Healthy Air System™. This makes reopening problematic for many businesses across the country.

An associate professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, Erin Bromage, Ph.D., found most transmission has occurred in tightly enclosed indoor spaces such as restaurants, funeral homes, churches, and nursing homes. Other scientists have found one of the first places of transmission was a restaurant in Wuhan, China.

CBS News recently released a report on restaurants and the way we can protect ourselves as we venture out of our homes and back into public dining spaces.

Protecting Yourself During the Reopening

While using facemasks can be used in certain places and can help reduce transmission, it is not the perfect solution. Masks cannot be worn while dining and it is not a good substitute for proper filtration, ventilation, and humidification. States and local officials, as well as business owners, continue to weigh the pros and cons of requiring masks.

Companies are looking at different ways to implement proper indoor air quality strategies as states are reopening across the country. Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors whether inside their own home, work, restaurants, bars, malls, grocery stores, hardware stores, and/or churches.

Air Filtration

Without a vaccine, there is no proper way to fully protect yourself against COVID-19. Proper air filtration, humidification, and ventilation can help reduce the amount of harmful airborne particulates circulated throughout the air stream. By installing the right healthy air products, your own forced air HVAC system can help. Air filtration with a MERV 16 filter can be installed as part of a home’s HVAC system and can capture up to 96% of airborne contaminants that pass through its filter. This can be especially crucial in situations where people are placed in situations where social distancing is not possible and the air is being recirculated among a large group of people. Scientists are still trying to calculate the amount of time these aerosols stay in the air.

Ventilation

Ventilation helps further dilute contaminants by bringing in fresh air from the outside. There are several ways of providing filtered air through either natural ventilation, supply ventilation, or mixed-mode ventilation. Air that passes naturally through windows, doors, or cracks in the foundation is natural ventilation. There is no filtration process with this air. It is the same air that is outside and serves to help dilute the stale air of indoor spaces. If you’re near a factory or a highway, the outside air is polluted. Some cities are experimenting with increasing the outdoor dining spaces of restaurants since it is clear that COVID-19 is far less transmittable in outside air than it is indoor air.

Supply ventilation uses a fan to bring in air from the outside. This air is properly filtered and humidified. The poor indoor air is also pushed out and replaced by the outside air.

Mixed-mode ventilation uses both natural and supply ventilation to treat stale indoor air. Ventilated air also forces droplets to land on surfaces more quickly and pushes air into the HVAC system’s return air ducts to reduce airborne virus transmission.

Proper Humidification

Thirdly, proper humidification is an important step in treating indoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends keeping your humidity between 30-60 percent. Anything lower than that results in dried out nasal passages, dry skin, scratchy throat, and a weakened immune system making it easier for airborne viruses to get into your body. Evidence suggests that viruses last longer on surfaces and are transmitted easier in overly dry air conditions. Anything above that 30-60% range results in the perfect breeding ground for airborne viruses, pests, and mold/mildew.

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How Reopening Businesses with a Healthy Air System Affects Employees

Another factor to consider for reopening business owners is that healthy air is not just to the benefit of the consumer, but also for the employees. Harvard’s Building Science Program has found that a healthy workplace fosters better workers and a better company. Productivity and creativity increases and blood pressure lowers. Better employee wellness is a major recruiting pitch to prospective employees. Extended breaks, snacks, and healthy indoor air are all important benefits and pitches for your employees.

Indoor Air Quality Is A Long-Term Investment

Outside of the purview of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality is still important. It does help to reduce airborne viruses such as the flu or common cold, mold and mildew, dust, and other allergens. Cooking and other interior spaces release Volatile Organic Compounds. These VOCs contain toxic gases.

A Healthy Air System reduces odors making it harder for guests to decipher if you live with a pet or last night’s dinner.

The air inside our homes continues to be much worse than the air outside our homes. The EPA estimates the air inside to be 5 to 10 times worse than the air outside.  To make matters worse, we are spending more time inside and our homes are being more tightly-built. This makes it harder for fresh air to get in the home without the use of a supply ventilation system. Polluted air can lead to major health problems such as cardiovascular issues, cancer, respiratory infections, and cognitive impairments.  Air pollution is one of the burgeoning health concerns.

Indoor Air Quality Adds Wellness to Your Life

Just as we seek wellness in all parts of our life from eating well, exercising, meditation, indoor air is an important part of this procedure. Just like in all of those other fields, data plays an important role in this field. Aprilaire’s IAQ systems allow you to monitor your home’s IAQ to adjust your temperature, relative humidity, and fresh air ventilation systems. Panasonic has released a system that can help monitor your home’s indoor air in real-time. Although the data may be helpful in determining a problem, it has little relevant value if you do not have a system set-up to tackle those problems.

To completely protect yourself, make sure you continue to sanitize high-traffic areas in your homes and businesses. Also continue to wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.

As states and more business are reopening, COVID-19 will continue to be scrutinized by governments, businesses, and the general population. It’s hard to determine what normal will look like and what happens if there is another jump in cases. It is possible restaurants and other public spaces may have to advertise the health of their indoor air. One thing is certain though, it’s that Healthy air is crucial for everyone to live a happy and healthy life.

social-distancing

Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Wellness |

How To Safely Stay Connected – The Importance of Community While Social Distancing

3 minute read

Social distancing measures have been an effective tool in slowing the spread of coronavirus, allowing most hospitals to properly manage the number of patients they’re treating.

While distancing focuses on physical proximity, it can also leave us feeling a bit distant mentally from our friends and family. Human interaction is an integral part of joy and well-being, so it’s normal if you’re feeling a loss of community while you do your best to respect social distancing.

Let’s take a quick refresher on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for social distancing, and then look at ways to still feel connected with your community during this time.

Social Distancing Guidelines

The CDC’s current guidelines on social distancing are as follows:

Staying Connected During Social Distancing

One of Aprilaire’s core values is being a good neighbor. To put it simply, we are committed to our community and doing the right thing.

So for us, the question has become, how can we help our families and communities when the socially responsible thing to do is avoid face-to-face interaction?

The most important thing to remember is that social distancing does not mean withdrawing from society. Rather, it presents us with an opportunity to get creative when it comes to meeting our need for social connection.

We can think about maintaining connection in two ways: socially and emotionally.

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Social Strategies for Maintaining Connection

These strategies involve creative ways we can safely communicate through external senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste.

  • Seeing loved ones in person, even if only through a window or from the car, can be a huge pick-me-up. Drive the grandkids to their grandparents’ and let them chalk their sidewalk or play a game of tic-tac-toe or hangman through the window using dry erase markers.
  • Spend quality time with the people you live with; play a board game, learn a new hobby together, tackle a home project, practice the latest TikTok dance.
  • Try making more video calls, or sending voice messages as opposed to texting. Hearing other people’s voices is also a powerful tool for feeling connected.
  • Use social media to really connect: share pictures, stories, give your family and friends something to smile about.
  • Start a virtual book or film club, or share new music. Find ways to culturally connect that don’t include COVID-19 updates.
  • Have a virtual family potluck where everyone tries to make the best version of Dad’s famous chili or Grandma’s special chocolate chip cookies. You won’t be able to taste everyone else’s food, but eating the same thing at the same time can create feelings of togetherness.

Emotional Strategies for Maintaining Connection

These strategies will be more internal but just as vital for connecting with your community by creating a sense of purpose and shared meaning.

  • Acknowledge that the choices you make as an individual affect others in your community, and therefore affect neighboring communities, cities, states, and so on.
  • Recognize you are protecting others by protecting those closest to you.
  • Identify friends and loved ones in your life who you are protecting through social distancing. Take it a step further and encourage your neighbors to join you in writing those names on your sidewalk or posting stakes in your lawn to remember why we are making sacrifices.
  • Activate the collective resilience of your community virtually to share accurate information, share needs, help each other, and strategize together about homeschooling, working from home, socializing through screens or from a distance as a community.
  • Find ways to volunteer if you are able. Many teachers, administrators, and students are transitioning to virtual learning. Local senior centers and home care facilities may have a hard time staffing all their positions with demand for skilled caretakers in hospitals. Call or email to find out if and how you can help virtually.
  • Inspire, motivate, and celebrate others for following social distancing strategies.

Psychotherapist, Esther Perel, writes, “We must acknowledge that we are entering a time of prolonged acute stress and uncertainty and that it is a shared reality—with our families, communities, colleagues, and all of humanity. We must be physically apart, but we are emotionally and psychologically in this together.”

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Clean Air |

MERV 16 Air Filters and Airborne Viruses: Keep Your Home Safe

2 minute read

The air we breathe is important to overall health. That’s more apparent now than ever before, and at Aprilaire we’re focused on getting you and your family the information you need to stay healthy during this time.

Healthy Air In The Home With MERV 16 Filters

The air inside your home can be 5x more polluted than the air outside. This is important to consider if you’re in a part of the United States using stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

There are a number of ways to improve your indoor air quality, including: better air circulation, regular dusting and cleaning, and properly storing sources of VOCs.

The next area to consider is air filtration. While there are a variety of options for purifying your air, today we’ll look at the effectiveness of MERV 16 filters, which can capture both virus-sized particles and airborne allergy and asthma triggers.

What Exactly is MERV and how does the rating system work?

MERV, otherwise known as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a measurement scale that rates the effectiveness of filters at trapping airborne particles. The scale ranges from 1-16, with 16 being the most effective.

Here’s an in-depth description of the process used to determine MERV, from the National Air Filtration Association:

“An air filter’s performance is determined by measuring the particle counts upstream and downstream of the air-cleaning device being tested.

A laboratory aerosol generator, which operates much like a paint sprayer, is used to create a challenge aerosol of known particle size in the air stream. This will generate particles covering the 12 required particle size ranges for the test. The challenge aerosol is injected into the test duct and particle counts are taken for each of the size data points.

The filter’s performance, on each of the twelve particle sizes, during the six test cycles (a total of 72 value or calculated value) is determined. For each value or calculated value, the filtration efficiency is stated as a ratio of the downstream-to-upstream particle count. The lowest values over the six test cycles are then used to determine the Composite Minimum Efficiency Curve. Using the lowest measured efficiency avoids the misinterpretation of averaging and provides a “worst case” experience over the entire test.”

Air Filters and Viruses

The size of contaminants and particles are usually described in microns, a metric unit of measure where one micron is one-millionth of a meter:

  • 1 micron = 10-6 m = 1 μm

The particular strain of coronavirus that’s causing COVID-19 (known as SARS-CoV-2) measures between .05 and .2 μm in diameter. (One study found it to be between .07 and .09 μm.)

The diagram below demonstrates that MERV 16 filters trap up to 96% of virus-sized particles*, to help prevent the proliferation of airborne viruses in the home.

1Solid lines represent MERV test data; dashed lines represent calculations for ultra-fine particles

To find out more about these filters and to see how they can be used in your home, check out Aprilaire’s Healthy Home Tips and reach out to speak with an Healthy Air Pro.

*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system.