The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously caused major disruptions and challenges to almost every aspect of our society. Besides the millions of infections, overrun hospitals and ICU units, and an unfortunately high death toll, this novel coronavirus has also taken a severe toll on businesses and the economy in general. Recent reports find that across America, over 100,000 small to medium-sized businesses have closed their doors for good, while another 7.5 million businesses are at a severe risk of having to shut down operations.
As the economy reopens, a large percentage of customers (and employees) are adamant in demanding safe and hygienic business practices that minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Setting up hand washing stations, enforcing strict social distancing guidelines, and distributing alcohol gel to your customers can all be effective in mitigating the risk of COVID-19. However, the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is another strategy that is often overlooked and ignored.
The idea of using UV light to disinfect businesses might seem more technical and specialized than simply offering people a space to wash their hands. However, short-wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UVC) light has been proved to kill or inactivate microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses through destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. Today, ultra violet germicidal irradiation is used by several industries for the safe and effective purification of food, air, and water.
Furthermore, UVCI sanitation and purification can work within traditional HVAC systems, including air curtains. Below, we offer a quick overview on how UV-enhanced air curtains might be able to protect your employees and your customers from exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Can UV Light Kill the Coronavirus?
According to a recent scientific study titled “2020 COVID-19 Coronavirus Ultraviolet Susceptibility”:
“Ultraviolet light can be an effective measure for decontaminating surfaces that may be contaminated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by inducing photodimers in the genomes of microorganisms. Ultraviolet light has been demonstrated to be capable of destroying viruses, bacteria and fungi in hundreds of laboratory studies (Kowalski 2009). The SARS-CoV-2 virus has not yet been specifically tested for its ultraviolet susceptibility but many other tests on related coronaviruses, including the SARS coronavirus, have concluded that they are highly susceptible to ultraviolet inactivation. This report reviews these studies and provides an estimate of the ultraviolet susceptibility.”
Furthermore, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation as and effective technologies to minimize the spread of airborne microorganisms.
Of course, direct exposure to UV light is dangerous to humans, and can cause damage to our skin and retinas. Instead of hiring highly trained technicians wearing specialized suits to use UV lamps or lights to disinfect the interiors of businesses on a nightly basis, installing UV lights safely within the ductwork of HVAC systems is a safer and more cost-effective solution.
How Ultraviolet Irradiation Can Work with Air Doors or Air Curtains
One solution for using protecting your customers and employees from COVID-19 is to install specialized UV lights inside the duct system of your HVAC equipment. As the air circulates throughout your building, any strains of the coronavirus can be neutralized as your forced air systems circulate that air through the UV lights. The obvious benefit of this approach is that all of the air inside your building will eventually be exposed to the UV radiation, usually between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the size of your building and the strength of your HVAC equipment. On the downside, this can entail rather expensive renovations to your ductwork, especially if you plan on installing more than one UV light.
Another, more cost-effective solution is to simply install a UVC air curtain over the front door to your business. Air doors have been proven to be effective to stop insects, allergens, and other air-borne pathogens from entering your business. They also can increase the energy-efficiency of your building through providing a shield between the conditioned interior air of your business and the unconditioned outdoor air.
When a UVC light is added inside the air curtain, the elimination of strains of virus can also add an extra-layer of protection. For example, the Mars UVC Air Curtain that is sold by Air Door Distributors has been proven to eradicate virus strains such as tuberculosis, Listeria, Salmonella, MRSA, Serratia marcescens as well as SARS-COV (2003) (Similar to the current COVID-19 virus).
Essentially, a UV air curtain or air door offers two lines of defense against the coronavirus. The powerful flow of air over the entranceways to your business might inhibit the introduction of the viruses and pathogens through the air curtain’s output of air flow. Furthermore, the interior UV light can eradicate any strains of the coronavirus (and other dangerous bacteria and viruses) that might already be present in the air inside your business.
Important Specifications for UV Air Curtains
Ultraviolet radiation has wavelengths that range from 100 to 400 nanometers (nm). According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), “the optimal range is 200 to 280 nm, and the highest germicidal effect is achieved at 265 nm. Most UVGI air purification systems use a wavelength of 253.7 nm, which is close to the optimal value.” This is important to understand, because UV lights that emit wavelengths around or below 200 nm, can form ozone. High levels of ozone inside buildings can be considered a pollutant as ozone causes respiratory irritation and chest pain.
The Mars UVC Air Curtain uses Sanuvox UVC lights that emit a frequency of 254nm, which is ideal for eliminating viruses, bacteria, and other airborne pathogens without negatively affecting your indoor air quality. Another benefit is that the UVC lamp inside these air curtains might also be able to eliminate certain types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that also negatively affect your indoor air quality.
The Mars UVC Air curtains can be designed to work for a number of different businesses and applications, including for businesses that work in the food service industry, the healthcare industry, or for customized entrance doors to any type of business or office.
Protecting your employees and your customers from the coronavirus is a vital responsibility for every business owner. With a UVC air door or air curtain, your business can add one more vital line of defense for greater sanitation and safety. At Air Door Distributors, we can help you find right air door products for your business. Contact us today at (866) 402-1642 or fill out our online contact form.