cloud with wind blowing air

Technology that cleans the air can take its toll on departmental budgets. The price depends on many factors, including the size of the facility, number of occupants and the features desired. As examples, however, a sanitizing system for a 30,000-square-foot building could be $20,000 or more, and a portable system that disinfects a 10-foot-by-10-foot room costs $9,000. There are also minor ongoing maintenance costs for monitoring and replacing filters.

“This is for environments that want to go above and beyond in terms of air quality,” Booth says. “Their aim isn’t to be compliant, but to create an environment people can thrive in.”

Less-expensive sanitizing systems are popular in doctor’s offices or dental laboratories, but also in schools and office environments. If a whole-building unit isn’t in the budget, some facilities are choosing room-specific devices for high-use areas like conference rooms, lunch rooms and restrooms.

For pricier air-disinfection systems, the prime market is healthcare. They are being used to prevent contamination in critical spaces, such as operating rooms and pharmacy compounding areas.

“When there are immunocompromised patients, this is an extra layer of protection against hospital-acquired infections,” Waites says. “Surface protection is temporary. This technology offers constant, 24/7 protection. You turn it on and it runs.”

It is important to note that an air-cleaning system does not replace traditional surface cleaning, but adding it to existing infection control programs can help reduce the spread of illness and allergens around a building.

“Everyone is surface disinfecting, but you can increase your insurance by doubling down and cleaning the air,” Waites says. “It can keep your employees working instead of being out sick.”

According to Booth, this is the often-missing third piece of a three-prong approach to cleaning.

“When we talk to facility cleaning managers, we’re typically talking about surface, hands and air,” Booth says. “Managers are completely bought into surface and hand hygiene, but are likely playing less attention to where air fits in. This is a proactive way to protect occupant health. It’s about having a great starting point, rather than just being there to react when bad things happen.” 

BECKY MOLLENKAMP is a freelance writer based in St. Louis, Missouri.

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How To Clean The Air