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How upgraded air filtration works to lower risk of COVID-19 spread

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oakdale mall

(WBNG) -- Malls, including the Oakdale Mall, are upgrading their air filtration systems to comply with New York State's new regulations on high efficiency filters.

"You're putting a heavier, denser filter in the unit, it's going to filter out even more particles out of the air," said Sure Temp Heating & AC Owner Ed Miller.

The efficiency of air filters is ranked using the MERV Rating chart. A MERV rating of one is the lowest efficiency, with 20 being the highest. The upgraded air filters must have a MERV rating of 13. Experts say a standard air filter has a MERV rating around eight.

However, with a higher MERV rating, experts say that could also come with more maintenance.

"They're going to have to be changed more frequently because they load up faster," said Miller. "We typically change the filters four times a year, we're going to have to move to eight times a year."

Miller estimates the enhanced filters can cost about 20 percent more than the standard filter, and energy use could also see an increase depending on the HVAC system.

"As you put the higher efficiency filter, that more dense filter, it has to work harder so what it does is consume more electricity," said Miller.

Miller says the filters will not kill COVID-19, but the filters will trap more particles that could carry the virus.

The Oakdale Mall announced in a Facebook post that they plan to be fully compliant with New York's air filtration standards by July 20.

Katie Jones

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