3 Medical-Grade Air Purification Machines for Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities
Your HVAC system may be designed to clean the air, but if you want supplemental air purification, these can help.
If you've typed the phrase "air purifier" into Google lately, you've likely seen a wide range of machines touting terms like ionizer, electrostatic, air sanitizer, and activated carbon. While great for home or commercial office use, these machines are not what you're looking for as an infection control nurse seeking backup air purification in a healthcare setting.
What compelled you to search for air purification solutions in the first place? Although you know the HVAC system in your building is designed to provide clean air, you may feel that more is needed to achieve your goal of keeping the air pathogen-free in specific areas. Ensuring that high-risk patients are safe and the spread of germs is virtually eliminated weighs heavily on your mind. It’s your responsibility. In this post, we'll discuss medical-grade equipment that can trap and destroy airborne pathogens. But, first, let’s talk about what makes this caliber of equipment so effective.
Purify Air with HEPA Filters
As a new company in 2006, our first product was the HEPACART® Classic, a dust containment cart used to prevent dust, spores, mold, and pathogens from entering the air whenever a ceiling tile is removed for maintenance. To protect patients and meet the strict standards of healthcare facilities, we embedded a negative air machine and a medical-grade HEPA filter, which earned it the highest MERV rating — one that exceeds hospital regulations.
We chose to add HEPA filters to our mobile dust containment carts and other products because they effectively mitigate infectious disease transmission. In hospitals and healthcare facilities, HEPA filtration is a powerful weapon against the particulates and biological contaminants that can harm and kill. HEPA filters are key to maintaining pure air.
We knew that containing construction dust was an important priority for hospitals. We also knew there was more we could do to help, so we looked for other solutions that we could offer. Soon we expanded our product line to include air purifiers, air disinfection modules, and more. These days, we see more and more of our products used to combat the spread of COVID-19, influenza, tuberculosis, and more, protecting hospital staff, patients, and visitors.
Purify Air with Far-UVC
While HEPA filtration does a great job trapping airborne particles, it can’t destroy them. When not attached to dust particles or droplets, viruses and other pathogens are generally small enough to pass through, so something more than filtration is needed.
Several years ago, a new form of ultraviolet light was discovered and proven to be safer and more effective at destroying microscopic pathogens than traditional germicidal UV. We knew this light disinfection solution would be the perfect complement to HEPA filtration.
Called far-UVC, this light has a particular wavelength in the UV spectrum (222 nanometers) that is harmless to humans but destroys pathogens by rupturing their cell walls. Far-UVC light is an effective way to stop the spread of airborne human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.
This leads us nicely into the three machines we recommend for air purification in hospitals and other healthcare settings. They offer HEPA filtration and far-UVC light disinfection — the best solutions for trapping and destroying viruses and bacteria.
3 Air Purifiers Ideal for Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities
Here are three medical-grade air purification machines manufactured by our team at HEPACART and trusted by over 4,000 health facilities worldwide.
#1 - GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier with UV-FORCE®
You can purchase or rent a free-standing GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier with UV-FORCE® unit for an area in your healthcare facility where you fear infected people put others at risk. This compact air scrubber is mounted on casters and provides continuous air disinfection in patient rooms, waiting rooms, and anywhere else it is needed.
How large an area can it cover? In a room of 3,200 cubic feet, all of the room's air will pass through the GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier featuring UV-FORCE® six times per hour. (How big a room is that? With an 8-foot ceiling, a perfectly square 3,200-cubic-foot room would measure 20 by 20 feet.)
How the machine works is relatively simple, and can be understood by following the air's path through it. The air is drawn in through a MERV-7 prefilter, where large particles are collected. It then passes through a chamber containing a far-UVC lamp, during which pathogens causing influenza, coronavirus, measles, tuberculosis, and others are destroyed in less than a fifth of a second. Finally, the air exits through a HEPA filter to remove at least 99.97% of particles of the hardest-to-filter size, 0.3 micrometers.
What about maintenance? For any new equipment, you must budget not only for purchase but for maintenance. Fortunately, maintenance on the GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier is minimal, especially compared with old-tech germicidal UVC lamps containing mercury. It’s LED lamp has a 3,000-hour life and is not considered hazardous when discarded. Filter changes are recommended on a yearly schedule.
#2 - HEPAFORCE® AIR Negative Air Machine & Scrubber
Since they come with built-in medical-grade HEPA filters, HEPAFORCE® AIR Negative Air Machines & Scrubbers do a great job right out of the box.
What negative air machines do is create either positive or negative air pressure in a room while providing a secondary benefit, cleaning all the air that passes through them. To create positive pressure in a room to prevent hazardous dust or pathogens from entering, the machine is placed outside a room and ducting is directed inside. To create negative pressure that prevents air from leaving an isolated room, the opposite setup is used.
Our AIR Negative Air Machines & Scrubbers trap 99.99% of 0.3 micron-sized particles, also catching a number of pathogens in the process. As a result, the air exiting the negative air machines is remarkably clean.
However, in situations where infectious disease is the main concern, it is possible to go further to inactivate pathogens so small they can pass through a HEPA filter. By adding a module that disinfects using far-UVC light, you can achieve the same level of disinfection as the GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier described in #1.
#3 - HEPACART® Airborne Disinfection Module with UV-FORCE®
The HEPACART® Airborne Disinfection Module with UV-FORCE®, when added to the ductwork of a negative air machine, takes a giant step toward rendering the air exhausted outside the room 100% pathogen-free.
It uses far-UVC light as described above for the GermBuster Far-UVC Room Air Purifier with UV-FORCE®. Pathogens smaller than 0.3 microns, such as COVID-19, influenza, measles, tuberculosis, and other viruses smaller than <.3 microns, are exposed to a far-UVC lamp with a 222-nanometer wavelength that destroys cell walls.
Maintenance of our negative air machine coupled to a UV-FORCE Air Disinfection Module with UV-FORCE consists of replacing HEPA filters in the negative air machine on a schedule and replacing the lamp in the disinfection module when it fails.
If you already have negative air machines in place, adding this air disinfection module to each could be the most efficient way to improve air quality in your healthcare environment.
Whether you call them air filtration units, air cleaners, air scrubbers, air sterilizers, or air disinfectant machines, the equipment you need to clean the air is only part of the story. Besides choosing the best tools, you must learn to use them competently and establish and maintain safety protocols. We’ll revisit those topics in a future post, but for now, you have a great starting place: three air purifying machines that are certified, tested, and trusted.
If this post about hospital-grade air purification machines has piqued your interest, you can glean more information from the product pages linked above, browse our HEPACART 2020 Product Catalog, or download our newest price guide.