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Noland Mechanical: Committed to HVAC Excellence

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HEPA technology has been around since the 1940s and utilized in healthcare for many decades, but the term entered the public vernacular during the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the United States in early 2020.

“The way it works is pretty straightforward,” explains Keith Clarke, senior estimator and project manager at HVAC-specializing construction company Noland Mechanical. “A HEPA filter is a thick filter that catches potentially harmful particles, like mold, pollen, bacteria, dust mites and more.” The “and more” includes virus aerosols that have been the primary way people have been getting sick with COVID-19 and its variants for the past two years. As a result, HEPA filters were recommended by Dr. Fauci and the CDC as part of a multilayered approach to preventing transmission of the virus.

HEPA filters are made of a very fine mesh, and are held to a high standard: they trap 99.97% of dust particles to keep airflow clean and safe wherever they’re installed. But they’re not a guaranteed catch-all solution for every system, according to Clarke. 

Because HEPA filters are so thick, they create an obstruction of airflow within the HVAC system. This obstruction prevents the system from running as efficiently as it could. People tend to purchase and upgrade HVAC systems with the goal of lowering their energy bills– a really efficient system will absolutely result in decreased bills– but with incorrect installation of a HEPA filter, the efficiency could be massively impacted, causing bills to skyrocket.

HEPA, which stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”, filters were initially developed to prevent workers in nuclear facilities from breathing in particles of radiation. When they were first developed, the technology was classified information that was part of the Manhattan Project (the effort to create a functional atomic bomb during World War II). They were declassified after the war and eventually became commonplace in many industries.

They’re used today in residential homes but also healthcare and pharmaceutical production; anywhere that needs to be kept completely sterile.

The need for HEPA filters has increased in an effort to prevent people from becoming infected with the extremely contagious COVID-19 virus, but in general the construction industry has struggled. HEPA filters and packaging are just one of many products that have been overwhelmed by demand and crippled by the inefficiency of the global supply chain.

Thankfully, supply was slowed but not completely stopped, allowing filters to be installed in healthcare environments and other public spaces where people spend time indoors together. Rigorous testing completed by various groups discovered that HEPA filters are extremely effective at catching airborne particulates responsible for getting people sick.

Keith Clarke reiterates the importance of HVAC technology during these uncertain times: “Noland Mechanical is aware that HVAC services are essential and can even save lives. So we make every effort to ensure that we can fulfill our customers’ needs, even if it means purchasing supplies in mass quantities and stockpiling them to be sure we won’t run out and end up being unable to complete jobs.”

In many ways, the future of the United States and the world at large is uncertain, but as technology continues to develop, companies like Noland Mechanical are making the extra effort to keep up with emerging technologies. Even in the face of economic difficulty or scarcity of supplies, there are always ways to make it work. 

Keith Clarke may not know exactly what’s going to happen next in his industry, but he does know one thing: Noland Mechanical will remain committed to completing projects that allow customers to stay safe, healthy, and comfortable. 

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