Traditionally, HEPA fan filter units and far-UVC disinfection lights were most common for environments requiring critical air quality control such as cleanrooms, hospitals, pharmaceutical processes, and healthcare facilities.

The resurgence of global pandemics such as COVID-19 places abrupt demand on commercially deployable HEPA air filtration systems and UV disinfection technology. UV decontamination lights and HEPA filtration are known to be rapidly effective for capturing and eradicating a wide range of surface and airborne based contamination, including SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses.

This post outlines various product features, methodologies, and configuration options for mobile and portable HEPA filtration systems. Additionally, this post covers additional solutions for integrated and standalone UV torches, far UV lamps, UV wands, and UV integrated HEPA modules. Further, there are a number of value added considerations such as UV storage cabinets and PPE storage dispensers which improve outcomes for high-volume industries including hospitals, schools, manufacturing facilities, and police-fire-EMT services.

Considerations for Portable HEPA Filtration Systems and Integrated UV-C Light Decontamination

In response to the widespread need for accessible, relocatable, and user-friendly decontamination systems, manufacturers must also consider cost-effective, install-ready components. Every facility is unique, therefore HEPA filters and fan filter designs require many possible configuration options including mobile, portable, ceiling mounted, and standalone HEPA filters with UVC modules.

Far UVC Light for Decontamination and Killing Viruses

HEPA filtration systems with far UV-C lamps are well known for rapidly antimicrobial properties against airborne-mediated microbial diseases and hard-to-kill or microbial resistant bacteria. Far UVC light (207–222 nm) efficiently inactivates bacteria without harm to exposed mammalian skin. UVC lights and lamps are effective against extremely contagious airborne diseases like tuberculosis, and unlike HEPA filtration, are also effective for decontamination of water, hard surfaces, and non-porous objects.

HEPA Filtration for Bacteria, Pathogens, and Airborne Viruses

It is a common question as to whether or not HEPA filters are capable of capturing viruses and particles associated with airborne infections and disease. For example, a HEPA filter by definition captures 99.99% of particles 0.3 micron or larger. Meanwhile, many bacteria and viruses are much smaller than 0.3 micron. Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for causing the disease COVID-19, is a relatively large virus with virion diameters varying from 60 to 140 nm (0.06 - 0.14 micron).

How Do HEPA Filters Capture Extremely Small Viruses and Bacteria?

There are multiple conditions that allow HEPA filters to better capture nanoparticulates and microscopic viruses or bacteria. One being the brownian motion, which describes how the turbulent and swirling movements of buoyant particles increase the likeness that airborne contamination impacts the microporous membrane of HEPA filter media.

Another condition is that airborne viruses are typically propelled through the air via airborne droplets of a diameter between 10–100 µm. Even when isolated virions are smaller than the 0.3 µm pores of a HEPA filter, the HEPA filter is able to capture large infectious payloads most responsible for airborne virus transmission as well as exponentially reduce small droplets.

Here is a list of common human pathogens that HEPA filter and ULPA filters are known to capture and remove from circulation:

  • SARS-CoV-2: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Escherichia coli: Gastrointestinal infection
  • Bacillus anthracis: Anthrax
  • Aspergillus brasiliensis: Sinus infections
  • Francisella tularensis: Tularemia
  • Bordetella pertussis: Whooping cough
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae: Pneumonia
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae: Bronchitis
  • Chlamydia psittaci: Psittacosis
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae: Opportunistic infections
  • Haemophilus influenzae: Meningitis
  • Coxiella burnetii: Q fever
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Opportunistic infections
  • Actinomyces israelii: Actinomycosis
  • Legionella pneumophila: Legionaire's disease
  • Thermoactinomyces sacchari: Farmer's lung
  • Alcaligenes: Opportunistic infections
  • Streptococcus pyogenes: Scarlet fever
  • Mycobacterium Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis

HEPA Filters in Hospitals and Aggregate Care Facilities

Large-scale UV and HEPA filtration systems are traditionally expensive, need considerable planning, and require inescapable maintenance. Large-scale environments, retailers, offices, and commercial buildings rarely required specific air quality requirements or precautions.

In hospitals, high-performance air filtration systems were only necessary in critical care areas, such as isolation wards, intensive/prenatal care, burn recovery, and surgical rooms. UVC light decontamination has yet to be widely deployed beyond common disinfection or sterilization of hard non-porous surfaces, surgical tools, and medical devices.

Overcoming Design and Construction Challenges

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, most hospitals didn't require large capacity quarantine wards. Isolation wards require unique negative pressure air handling systems with internally recirculated HEPA filtered air and/or external vented exhaust ducts.

It can be difficult for facility administrators to determine cost effective filtration solutions without having the foresight of experienced contamination control specialists. Retrofitting existing HVAC systems is often expensive and also creates intrusive noise and inbound contamination.

Advantages of Portable HEPA Filtration Systems

Portable HEPA filtration systems provide a wide range of air quality improvements and remove 99.99% of airborne particles 0.3 micron or larger. HEPA filtration is well suited for filtering micro/macro particulate, mold spores, allergens, and some pathogens. These systems also support wider-goals when maintaining clean corridors, reducing viral loads on nearby surfaces, and when maintaining air quality standards throughout a facility.

Below are some affordable, high-performance HEPA filtration alternatives that do not require modification of existing HVAC or air handling systems for installation.

Related: How Fan Filter Units Fight COVID-19

Portable HEPA Fan Filter Unit Configuration, Mounting, and Installation Options

Portable FFU

Terra provides both portable HEPA filtration systems and ceiling mounted HEPA filters that are directly powered, relatively easy to install, and suitable for flush mount drop ceilings, mobile mounts, or suspended cable installation.

Ceiling integrated fan filter units (FFU) are compatible with 2' x 2', 2' X 3', or 2' X 4' ceiling grids and are capable of evacuating and filtering up to 800 cubic feet of air each minute. Power is usually supplied by hard wiring into the existing junction boxes. Whisperflow fan filter units provide quiet, non-intrusive operation for hospitals or long-term care facilities.

ValuLine portable fan filter units are mobile, self-contained, hospital-grade HEPA purifiers mounted on a rolling stand. The small footprint, rolling stand, and plug-and-play operation allows easy transfer between rooms or departments. These mobile, self contained filtration systems allow the conversion of most spaces into a negative pressure isolation room.

Fan filter units with dust collectors accumulate dust particles that dislodge from the HEPA filter, preventing contaminants from re-entering the area. The collector pan integrates with bag-in/bag-out (BIBO) systems and is easily removed for cleaning or maintenance.

Read More: MN Department of Health Negative Pressure Isolation Ward Guide

Optional HEPA Fan Filter Features & Accessories

Room Side Replaceable (RSR) HEPA filtration eliminates the need for access to a roof or breaching of interstitial spaces above the installation area. Overhead access is not required when installing or replacing RSR fan filter units or its HEPA filter media.

Bag-in/Bag-out (BIBO) modules are optional accessories for applications involving toxic fumes or biohazards. BIBO modules seamlessly integrate with the filter media system for safe filter disposal and replacement. replacement from the inside of the room for contact-free removal of filters with potentially hazardous airborne contaminants.

Portable UV Torches & Handheld UV Light Wands

ClorDiSys Torch

The ClorDiSys Portable UV Disinfection Torch is designed for disinfecting components and small lab tools inside a lab or cleanroom but is well suited for almost any area requiring fast and comprehensive UV light decontamination such as research, healthcare, pharmaceutical and manufacturing facilities. An open center allows for 360-degree radiation via 8 UVC bulbs.

Handheld UV Lamps are also available for mobile, portable use when decontaminating objects which are sensitive to moisture or not suitable for laundering.

Optional UV LIghts for HEPA Fan Filter Systems

Optional UV germicidal lights are highly effective when facilities require systemic decontamination of an air filtration system.

Mobile Medical grade filtration system

Standalone HEPA filtration systems with integrated UV-C lights are also available for local filtration within hospitals or other clean areas and protect against surface growth of bacteria, mold and viruses, including COVID-19.

Residential HVAC Sanitizing modules are germicidal UV light modules compatible with Terra's fan filter systems and available when ordered with FFU. UVC disinfection modules are suitable for air handling in dry locations only and are not compatible with narrow, explosion proof, or Reverse flow FFUs.

Buy Now: Mobile Filtration and UVC Options Online

UL-Listed Air Filtering Advantages

Terra's UL-listed air filtering systems are manufactured to the highest standards to reduce the risk of damage, injuries, and electrical hazards such as electric shock and fires. UL is recognized around the world as the leader in product safety testing and certification. UL listing helps meet municipal and other permitting requirements that may be required before cleanroom can be approved for operation.

UV Sanitizing Cabinets with HEPA Filtration

UV Sterilization Cabinet

UV sanitizing storage cabinets dry and sanitize objects, especially those which would not be easily disinfected with chemicals or soap and water.

Read More: Two Leading Decontamination Methods: UV-C vs. HPV

UV Sanitation Cabinets and Storage for Schools, Universities, and Education

UV sanitation has advantages for decontaminating shared items for frequent reuse such as educational items including pencils, handouts, books, and recreational items. For example, books, porous objects, PPE such as safety glasses, hard hats, face masks/shields.

UV Sanitation Cabinet Storage for First Responders and EMTs

The cabinet features a variable-speed ceiling fan/filter module that removes submicron particles, including bacteria, aerosols and other biohazards. A UV lamp supports storage and disinfection of safety glasses, face shields, face masks, hard hats, helmets, flashlights, respirators, lab equipment, and more. Non-personal items such as handcuffs, radios, remote controls, thermometers, and communication headsets may also be appropriate for UVC contamination.

Compare UVC Light Cabinets for Item Storage & Decontamination

Advantages of Wall-Mounted Face Mask Dispensers for PPE Storage

Face Mask Dispenser

Bulk PPE Storage & Organization Challenges

Bulk PPE is sometimes difficult to keep organized, readily accessible, and clutter free. Clean, quick, and immediate access to face masks, shoe covers, and gowns grows more complicated at the brink of capacity. It's challenging for over capacity gowning stations and stock rooms to remain organized and clean, a crucial hurdle for preventing cross contamination, slow changeouts, and packaging confusion

How PPE Dispensers Improve PPE Access, Ease, and Organization

Terra provides convenient face mask storage dispensers for both disposable and reusable items. Wall-mounted PPE dispensers are easily installed directly in line of site at the appropriate place in the gowning process and provide clear identification at easy access points of various surgical, procedural, or isolation based environments.

Wall-Mounted Face Mask Dispensers

Each face mask dispenser is designed to hold individually packaged face masks or bulk boxes. The acrylic plexiglass is rugged and economical, while 304-grade stainless steel options support intensive cleaning and decontamination efforts in critical environments.

Shop In-Stock Facemask Dispensers Online (Ready for Immediate Shipment)

UV Shoe Sanitizer Solutions

HealthySole Shoe Sanitizer

Dirty floors and shoes harbor a range of debris, grime, organic material, and biofilms which increase the risk of introducing opportunistic spores, microbes, and pathogens into clean areas.

In July 2020, a CDC report indicated that when floors of an ICU ward housing COVID-19 patients were swabbed and tested for COVID-19, 50% of floor samples tested positive. When floor samples were collected from the pharmacy, of which no COVID-19 patients were housed, 100% of samples returned positive. These findings indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is well suited for footwear-based travel, and that medical staff might function as carriers. The CDC highly recommends that persons disinfect shoe soles before walking out of wards containing COVID-19 patients.

Where to Buy Portable UVC Lights for Shoe Disinfection

HealthySole UV Shoe Sanitizer is suitable for footwear, shoe cover and bootie UV-based decontamination. The system kills up to 99.99% of hospital-acquired infections, including COVID-19, in 8 seconds or less. The large digital display provides usage instructions and an 8-second countdown of the HealthySole Plus sanitization process

Schedule a demonstration unit at your facility.

Need Help with a Purchase Decision or Specifying a HEPA Filtration or UVC System for your Facility?

Terra’s products portfolio for air filtration systems includes not only HEPA filter and UVC lights for COVID-19, but includes diagnostic testing, patient sample preparation, vaccine storage, product disinfection and employee protection.

Terra Universal provides air filtration systems in both standalone, mobile, and ceiling integrated HEPA filtration units with many available features. Terra manufacturers all of its filtration systems in-house at our main campus in Fullerton, California. Our customers appreciate dedicated technical support from internal engineers and factory specialists.

Most products are stocked and available for immediate shipment. For project specific pricing and lead times, contact your Terra Universal product sales specialist for a same-day quote.

Additional COVID-19 equipment is available at Terra Universal’s website.