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Xringer 03-15-20 07:15 PM

With the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly throughout the world,
Just got an info letter from with the following info..

Keep your filters clean - Dust and other particles can accumulate in your unitís filters. With the water that air conditioners naturally produce, these can be a brewing home for dangerous bacteria. 5 minutes is all it takes to clean the filters and get rid of this health hazard. And doing this regularly will also save you 5%-10% on your energy usage.

If there is a chance you have some active COVID-19 in your dusty filter,
is it really a good idea to clean it?

I normally use a vacuum cleaner and then wash the filters in the sink..

Is that really going to be safe to handle? I don't think so..

MN Renovator 03-15-20 10:13 PM

This isn't even a factor. Why would you think that you have SARS-CoV-2019 in your home air filter? Perhaps if someone who you knew had it was in your house, sneezed directly in the air intake and that got lucky and make its way through the return vents all the way through air filter .... where it would likely either stop and protect you or it would pass through and be distributed. You mentioned bacteria, SARS-CoV-2019 is not bacteria, it is a virus. If there was really some kind of unwarranted concern over this specific virus in your air filter, which there shouldn't be, you could be put at ease if you put some isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle, soak the filter, and put it back in. The alcohol will dilute within the quantity of air in your home and you likely wouldn't smell it for long, but really this should be completely unnecessary.

With COVID-2019 concerns aside, a clogged filter isn't going to increase your energy usage because this isn't how HVAC blowers work. I've personally kept a basic 1" filter in my furnace from November through March, 4 months total through the highest furnace usage months. I waited until my furnace temp rise went up 5 degrees before swapping the filter and the energy usage of the furnace blower motor remained the same, 300 watts in both cases.

Fun fact: When you close the air supply to a blower, it actually uses less energy due to the reduced load and the blower wheel actually spins faster, but if you've got enough of a change in air flow to where you will see an energy change, your air flow will likely be beyond the point where you would likely trip a high limit switch in the furnace or freeze the evaporator coil if it's an air conditioning month and the cycles run long enough.

MN Renovator 03-15-20 10:24 PM

It's funny, I saw this COVID thread and before clicking on it, was picturing something that would be discussing the topics that we generally discuss on this forum.

The one that I think of is the "great toilet paper crisis of 2020". Where did this come from? Well, in the grand Australian fires during the recent Australian heat wave. The forests of Australia were burning. The fires burned many trees and also wiped out the countries primary paper mills. It happens to be that these paper mills supplied the majority of the Australian domestic toilet paper production. The Australian population noticed when the toilet paper brands they were most familiar with were no longer on the shelves. The US was actually exporting toilet paper to Australia, which increased Australian supply of toilet paper. When the Australians saw that the United States was encountering the COVID-2019 crisis, they thought that perhaps the US would suddenly want 2 weeks of toilet paper supply and that there might be a shortage. With this potential shortage, there was a singular incident at a store where toilet paper ran out. Someone posted a meme about people grabbing some of the last of the toilet paper and TV news decided to say that this store ran out. Shortly after, people decided to buy the toilet paper and more memes were produced. Somehow this ended up being picked up by the US population and at the beginning of March, a bunch of people decided "oh no, I better buy up toilet paper" and people ended up developing a herd mentality to go and get as many squares as they could. So from the Australian fires with a domestic situation, the US stores get all of their Karen's together to fight over the rolls.

Weird, isn't it?
If I didn't think that 99% of people were okay on toilet paper, I'd become a door to door bidet salesman.

Xringer 03-15-20 10:54 PM

"Why would you think that you have SARS-CoV-2019 in your home air filter?"
Because I've been sick for a week with a bad 'cold'? And I've not a cold in many years.

The Sensibo company sells a controller for Mini-split systems. I use Mini-Splits here.
The filters are on the air input of the indoor air handler.

"You mentioned bacteria" Nope, re-read the post again. Sensibo wrote that text in an email to me..

Anyways, I also heard a report on a study regarding the amounts of COVID-19 virus that came to rest on surfaces in hospital Isolation rooms, containing an infected person. (Not yet peer reviewed).
Because of the large amount of COVID-19 that accumulated on the air-vent input (used to remove air from the room), they think coughs and maybe just exhaling air from infected lungs, could contaminate surfaces of ceiling mounted vents.

So, since my indoor units are constantly sucking air in (to warm it up), those filters might be able to collect COVID-19, if anyone with the virus coughs inside the house. (The virus is carried in water droplets).

menaus2 03-17-20 11:17 PM

I wouldn't touch the filter. Its there to, well, filter the air! Better to have a virus on the filter than in the air where it can spread. Viruses need a host to multiply, and are way smaller than bacteria. It looks like worst case Covid-19 can survive on surfaces for 9 days. So keep it there where it can eventually die. I wonder about disinfectant reducing the filtering ability...

Fun fact: Those 20"x20" best quality furnace filters duct taped to the back side of a box fan makes an effective $40 HEPA filter. At that price, they are relatively disposable.

Someone could write an academic paper on toilet paper when this thing eventually runs its course! I just hope people don't resort to using "flushable" wipes & putting them down the toilets en masse. Those things are my mortal enemy. They love to clog sewer pipes & plumbers have told me they will occasionally wreck 5+ figure pumps at municipal water treatment plants. With plumbers less available than usual, wiping with money might be a more economical option! :D

jeff5may 03-18-20 06:54 PM

I have been trying to find something useful about the actual strain that has been the cause of the current panic. The main idea is that nobody really knows absolutely surely anything thoroughly proven yet. It's too new, and China did a terrible job at detecting, identifying, and containing the outbreak. Preliminary research from credible public sources are suggesting that the Chinese government poisoned or cooked the data they collected. They're doing the best they can with what they have.

However, the corona class of viruses is not a particularly tenacious, hardy, or resistant family. All of the known strains are easy to kill and protect against. Pretty much all of the available disinfecting agents (at least 70% alcohol, bleach water, iodine, hand, laundry, or dish soap and water, 3% peroxide, etc.) destroy it within seconds on contact. Not something difficult to manage at all as far as eradication is concerned.

The current measures being enacted and announced are being implemented to reduce the sheer number of cases (of this novel strain) that the medics will need to deal with all at once. The virus emerged last year (2019), so it has had months to spread (relatively unhindered) from where it emerged. Since Eurasia and Australia are enacting measures and having good success, our government is joining the team before the numbers have a chance to add up.

If it was mine, I would shut down the unit, spray the air path with cleaner, and let it sit for a bit for the scum to die and drain out. Rinse with bleach or Mr. Clean water, let it drain again. Wipe down the outer surfaces and put the unit back to work. I definitely wouldn't change or scrub or touch the filter elements until PMS time. Let them do their job, preventive surface disinfection only.

Xringer 03-19-20 09:15 PM

I've cleaned the filters twice since the start of winter.
Right now, they still look pretty clean.

I'm about 99% sure they aren't holding any COVID19,
however I'm going to leave them alone until Spring maintenance around May.
No one but immediate family has been inside our home in the last 30 days.
My kid gave me her cold, and that seems to be all it was. It's gone now.
So far, no one in the family shows any sign of COVID19.

The Boston area is getting hit now, so we are about to go to Shelter-in-Place.
The kids are working from their home this week, and that might become a long term thing.

Good Luck you Guys!

elozio32 05-29-20 06:58 AM

High efficiency air filters can be installed in HVAC systems, filtering out biological pollutants and particulate matter carried by the airstream. So they can protect your from the coronavirus. I was happy to be in rehab clinic during the pandemic. - In fact, rehabilitation facilities may currently present the safest environment for the people as they take extra precautions to minimize the risks of their patients contracting coronavirus on the premises.

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