Our Conservation Development Officer, Helena Jaeschke, shares her suggestions for increasing Covid safe airflow, without the dangers of opening windows.

Several museums have contacted us, concerned about the need to increase airflow to reduce the possibility of airborne transmission of Covid-19 particles and equally worried about the risk of pests and pollution coming in if they keep the windows and doors open.

It seems there is an affordable, portable, solution.  Air purifiers have been used in homes and laboratories to remove dust and other particles from the air, and those with a HEPA13 filter can filter out the virus particles.  Units are the size of a small bucket (or a very large Alexa/Siri unit).

You can read about the science behind the testing of the filters in this report released by NASA  and a report by the New York Times which showed that these units can filter nanoparticles as fine as 0.01 µm.

Units are available for around £100 online. Models such as the Levoit Core 300 with H13 True Hepa filter should provide clean air in a room up to 5m x 8m  (16’ x 26’), changing the air approximately every 25 minutes. Other makes and sizes of the purifiers are also available but make sure they use an H13 HEPA filter.

Buy replacement filters from a reputable source. You can add extra filters to remove pollutants and mould. The units do not have an ioniser, so there  is no risk of producing ozone which could damage parts of the collection.

Having a unit like this in the museum may help reduce the amount of dust deposited, saving on cleaning time and reducing mould growth and corrosion as well as protecting everyone’s health. Note: we haven’t tested this type of filter yet so haven’t seen their effect in practice, but it may be well worth trying.

Do get in touch if you have any questions, or have put one of these units to the test!