Air filtration devices, or AFDs, with HEPA filtration are increasingly important in restoration. Their value is particularly critical on jobs that involve high levels of particulates, including most restoration sites plus construction or remodeling environments.
Putting an AFD to work immediately also has another benefit: impressed customers. One restorer told us that he places a HEPA airscrubber as soon as possible when he first meets the customer. “There is a noticeable difference in the smell after running it for five minutes,” he noted. “My customer can see something I’ve done right away.”
AFDs should always be used when drying a structure with a known contaminant. Using AFDs is also recommended when wall cavities, flooring surfaces or sub-surfaces are known to carry a high degree of organic debris, soils, allergens or other undesirable particulates.
Proper air filtration is even more important when building occupants are at significant risk to exposure to particulates — the very young, the elderly and those who have respiratory problems or a compromised immune system. In these cases, the use of AFDs is absolutely crucial to protect the health and safety of occupants.
AFDs — also called negative air machines, air scrubbers, HEPA units or air filters — work by drawing the contaminated air through several stages of filters, arranged in order from coarsest to finest filtration. The “coarser” prefilters capture most of the larger particulate and help to increase the useful life of the finer (and more expensive) filter elements, plus maintain overall filtering efficiency over a longer period of time. For odor control, most AFDs have the option of replacing one of the stages with a filter filled with activated carbon. Here are the typical filter types:
- Pre-filters: Designed to catch large particles, replaced daily or at least with each job. Often available in two stages for varying particle size.
- Activated Carbon Filter: Optional. Designed to absorb organic vapors to help remove unwanted odors.
- Primary HEPA Filter: High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration media. Designed to capture 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
HEPA filtration is a critical part of maintaining a clean indoor environment during restoration. A proper HEPA filtration system is especially important in environments where dangerous contamination may be present.
To protect your technicians and your customers, and to ensure you are providing the cleanest environment possible, be sure to establish appropriate filtration on every project.
Brandon Burton is the technical education manager for the Restoration Sciences Academy (RSA), a part of Legend Brands. He teaches IICRC-approved classes in the categories of Applied Structural Drying (ASD) and Water Damage Restoration (WRT). Burton has served the restoration community for more than 15 years as an IICRC-approved instructor, ANSI/IICRC S500 chapter chair, RIA restoration council member, and many other industry roles. You can contact him at BrandonB@RSA-HQ.com.