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Choosing the right air purifier for schools

The coronavirus pandemic has catapulted the issue of air quality in our schools right into the limelight. With COVID-19 able to spread through the air we breathe, classrooms can be a perfect hot bed of infection simply due to the way they bring so many students together in an enclosed indoor space.

One solution for schools in the fight against COVID-19 is air purifiers, which remove impurities and physically clean the air within a room. In Ireland, there is €62m of new funding for schools for pandemic support, including air purification, which aims to equip schools in the fight against COVID-19.

However, for many, air cleaning is a totally new area where they have no experience. And unfortunately, it seems many are taking advantage of this leaving schools paying out for products which are unsuitable and potentially not even effective against COVID-19. The market is already starting to be flooded with sub-standard products, unsubstantiated claims and so many different options it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

With so many air purifiers on the market, it can be confusing to understand how these work, let alone what to look for. Allow phs air quality experts to guide you.

How does an air purifier work?

An air purifier works by cleaning the air within a room, physically removing impurities. Air is simply drawn into the air purifier, through a set of purpose-designed filters. The phs Fellowes AERAMAX PROFESSIONAL range of air purifiers uses a four-stage filtration system with true HEPA filters which remove 99.7% of airborne particulates, emitting cleaner and fresher air back into the room. Of course, not every air purifier is proven to be effective against COVID-19. And some use what they term ‘HEPA-type’ filters rather than true HEPA filters. Don’t take anything at face value – get the evidence.

Can you monitor how air purifiers work?

This is where choosing an air purifier with user-smart functions can really pay off in reassuring students, staff and parents that they are hard at work. With the AERAMAX PureView technology, you can see the HEPA filters in action; EnviroSmart laser sensors continually monitor air quality in the room, activating the filtration system when harmful particles are present. The digital display indicates the percentage of particles being cleaned or can display the PM2.5 particle count, an industry standard for air quality measurement. This feature makes the invisible, visible; demonstrating how effective the machine is operating and reassuring you how clean the air you are breathing is.

Are air purifiers effective in removing COVID-19?

Yes, air purifiers can be effective at removing COVID-19 from the air you breathe. However, not all are proven to do so and therefore you need to ask for evidence that an air purifier does remove COVID-19 particles.

For reassurance, phs’ range of purifiers were put through rigorous independent testing.

The results found that phs Fellowes AERAMAX PROFESSIONAL III & IV air purifiers have recently demonstrated, through independent laboratory testing, to be effective in eliminating aerosolised concentration of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by 99.9999% through a single air pass test of the purifier. 

In addition, AERAMAX PROFESSIONAL air purifiers reached 99.99% airborne reduction of a surrogate Human Coronavirus 229E in a 20m³ test chamber within 1 hour of operation in a separate test.

But they’re not just effective against COVID-19 or coronavirus; scientific research has proved that AERAMAX Pros are also effective against day-to-day viruses and infections including colds, flu, TB, measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox. In addition, they remove dust, mould and odours, reduce pollen concentration for hay fever sufferers in the summer months and eliminate VOCs such as those from cleaning products. And they even tackle the growing issue of indoor air pollution. 

How quickly do air purifiers work?

Surprisingly fast! AERAMAX Pro purifiers can change the air entirely within a room a minimum of three to five times per hour – depending on the room size. That’s around once every 12 minutes. In the fight against COVID-19, this is simply game changing.

Will air purifiers work in classrooms?

Not all air purifiers are suitable for classrooms. You need to look for commercial air purifiers which are completely different from those used in homes. They are designed to work in larger areas with high footfall. By working with a professional provider like phs, you can benefit from the expertise and experience of our air quality consultants who will visit your school at no cost, recommending exact product you need and the right location where it will be most effective. Our air experts are also on hand if any issues arise and provide regular servicing including filter changes so your air purifier will continue working hard every day.

What are the benefits of air purifiers?

AERAMAX Pro air purifiers can effectively remove SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), Human Coronavirus 229E, viruses, germs, pollutants and odours, creating a cleaner and healthier classroom environment. This means that your pupils and teaching staff will be inhaling fresher air with every breath they take with reduced exposure to airborne particles of COVID-19; essential in the fight against infection.

What’s more, our trials in children’s nurseries have had the most incredible feedback. They resulted in air which was as much as seven times cleaner while anecdotal evidence reported a drop in sickness, improved attendance and a fresher environment with a reduction in stuffiness and headaches and improvements to productivity and wellbeing.

Is there funding for air purifiers in schools?

In December 2021, the Minister for Education announced €45m of funding for Irish primary and special schools with one-off COVID-19 minor works funding of €17m for Irish post-primary schools. This funding is for minor works and small-scale ventilation improvements.

Why shop around for an air purifier?

As each classroom is different, Irish schools are being given the autonomy to choose the solution which best meets their needs using the new €62m funding. This means you have the advantage of being able to shop around and get the right solution for you.

If you’re looking to improve the air quality in your school, seek out an air purifier which has been scientifically proven to remove COVID-19 particulates with an airflow and effective area suitable for your needs and is significantly more competitively priced.

If you don’t know where to start or are simply bamboozled by what’s out there, engaging expert provider such as phs comes with the benefit of free consultation from an experienced air quality expert. This means your air quality solution will be tailored specifically to the individual needs of each classroom, effectively removing COVID-19 from the air and reducing the risk of infection.

The top three points to consider when purchasing an air purifier

  1. Powerful airflow: The better the airflow the quicker the air is cleaned. This should be the number one question you ask a supplier
  2. Commercial Grade Air Purifiers: You should insist on commercial air purifiers as domestic AP’s are not always going to be suitable. For example, they won’t have the area coverage, clean the air as quickly and are not built for a commercial environment
  3. Maintenance: Filters will need changing at least annually. Who will change them? phs Fellowes AERAMAX Pro AM3 & AM 4 have a 5-year warranty, which includes filter changes. Whereas most other AP’s on the market have a 1 or 2 year warranty.

Where to find more information about air purifiers and UV air purification systems for COVID-19 in schools?

For all of your air purifier, air cleaning and air quality needs, speak to one of phs’ air quality experts today for a free consultation with no obligation. Contact us today

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Comparing air purifiers for schools

Astley Shields

10th Mar 2022

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