NEW ORLEANS — When it comes to transmitting the coronavirus, we are learning that we’re more at risk inside places with air conditioning. And that is driving sales of air filtration systems to go up.
At NOLA Cryo, clients are asking owner Milena Perkins about air quality in her Metairie spa. So she is looking into purifiers to install in her HVAC system.
"Due to the COVID virus that’s going around, I want to have a clean and safe environment for my clients, and it helps with sanitation through the air," said Milena Perkins, the owner of NOLA Cryo in Metairie.
We talked to three HVAC companies that all told us, since the pandemic, sales are going up for air filtration systems. Taylor and Tyler AC and Heating is one of them.
"We have sold a ton of them since, basically since the corona has started. There’s been a lot more awareness and a lot more concern about what is the quality air in my home," said Eric Guillory, owner of Taylor & Tyler AC and Heating in Harvey.
What HVAC companies tell us they are installing is the REME HALO. It goes inside the system costing about $1,000 installed.
"It’s killing the mold spores, the bacteria, airborne contaminants, and viruses in that supply plenum," Guillory explained.
When it comes to killing the coronavirus, the REME HALO is not making that claim at this time.
So we turned to LSU Health's Dr. Jim Diaz for the current research.
Ultraviolet C can not be seen by the human eye, but it does kill pathogens, including bacteria pathogens, and we know it can kill tuberculosis, and it can kill SARS-CoV-2. And that was demonstrated in elegant experiments at Columbia University," said Dr. Jim Diaz, Program Director of Environmental and Occupational Health at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Diaz says what's needed is a specific type of ultraviolet light called UVC. That light has a wavelength of 222 to 255 nanometers. It can’t hurt your eyes, so must be installed in the system. UVC is being used to clean businesses and public transportation after people are gone.
"We use ultraviolet light frequently to kill tuberculosis bacterium in hospitals," said Dr. Diaz.
The HALO comes with and without UV light, but it doesn’t specify that it’s UVC. Some products we looked up on the internet do claim to have UVC light.
It’s a business gaining popularity in just the last few months.
And right now, Dr. Diaz says Columbia University is studying how long coronavirus has to be exposed to that UVC light to kill it.