How Do Air Filters Affect the Coronavirus?

We always say that the most important thing for a homeowner to do to ensure the longevity of their HVAC units is to change out your air filters every month. It’s a simple task that should be a part of your monthly routine. These days air quality is so important. We’ve seen wildfires take hold on the West Coast, but it shouldn’t take a natural disaster to reconsider your indoor air quality standards.

In addition to that, we have the very serious outbreak of COVID-19. Whenever a disease impacts breathing, air quality is an important thing to monitor. We know things like smoking and asthma may have an impact on someone’s risk from COVID-19 and we know these are heavily tied to air quality. Still, it’s important to understand the full facts. Ultimately, our job is to serve our customers so they can have healthy air and a comfortable home. We want to share our knowledge so that you keep these things in mind while understanding what it is your air filters can actually do.


We want to be very clear before we get too far into this discussion that we are not scientists or doctors. We recommend you listen to public health authorities and experts. Be sure to socially distance and sanitize shared surfaces to slow the spread!

Can Air Filters Kill the Novel Coronavirus?

Let’s start with the question that’s the most pressing. The short answer is not well enough for you to put all of your faith into it. There are so many kinds of air filters and disinfectants that are used today. Even the most advanced and particular filters on the market do not have a proven track record of killing the virus. The science isn’t fully in and there’s still much to learn about this virus. However, we can use other microscopic particles as an example, and simply put, no air filter has a 100% success rate at ridding the air of a virus or particularly small bacteria.

They just aren’t designed to do that. Instead, your air filter cleans the air of bigger particles like smoke, bacteria, pollen, and dust. You don’t want to breathe any of that stuff in anyway, so don’t mistake your air filters’ inability to kill the coronavirus as a sign of its lack of importance in your home HVAC system.

What About UV Disinfectants?

UV, or ultraviolet, air filtration, and disinfection systems are becoming more and more popular in our field. While we’ve understood UV rays for a long time now, we are only recently employing them to clear air and surfaces.

Today, they are used in some hospitals as an alternative or supplement to sprayed disinfectant and many homeowners are starting to jump in as well. In theory, these are a much stronger answer to the coronavirus. UV light is known to damage viruses and other microscopic organisms. However, our answer to its effectiveness remains the same as above. The success rate isn’t enough for you to put all your faith into it.

Ultimately, your HVAC system isn’t designed to form a perfect defense against viruses. You’ll need to rely on following health protocols and change your behavior to lower your risks. However, it’s still important to keep your indoor air quality standards high by using and replacing air filters regularly.

Essig Plumbing & Heating is here as an essential business for the community during this time. Feel free to give us a call at (610) 557-3302 or fill out an online contact form to set up an appointment for any of your plumbing or HVAC needs.

Skip to content